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What is the Greatest Risk of All?

The Greatest Risk of All…

“Don’t do that!” “That’s too dangerous!” “Are you crazy?”

How many times did we hear those words growing up? Our parents, teachers, and mentors meant well. After all, they were just trying to keep us safe, weren’t they?

But, what happened was almost the opposite of what was intended. We became risk-averse. Afraid to take a chance for fear of being overtaken by some unseen disaster. We plod along in our safe little world. We go to work, do our job, come home, eat dinner, help the kids with their homework, and go to bed. Tomorrow we get up and do it all over again.

Our hope is the kids will grow up, go to college, leave home, and have families of their own. We will finish out our working careers and retire to enjoy life.

Now we are facing the greatest risk of all. What is it?

Not taking a risk.

Let me explain.

As a society, we rarely recognize a movement until it is well underway or almost past us. Somewhere around the year 2000, we entered the 4th Industrial Revolution. The “Knowledge Economy” is gone. It is being replaced by the “Entrepreneurial Economy”

In this new economy, two major trends are disrupting the job market in the U.S.

Trend #1 – The rise of technology and robots

The popular myth peddled today is that American jobs are being lost to foreign countries through globalization. According to CNN Money, the truth is 87% of job losses from 2000 to 2010 were due to technology.

This trend will not only continue, it will accelerate. According to Futurist, Thomas Frey, about 2 billion jobs will be lost because of technology by the year 2030. That’s Billion with a capital “B”. That number represents half the jobs on the planet.

What Does This Have to do With Risk?

It simply means we are all going to have to take some risks. Here’s why.

All those people currently working in a disappearing job will go one of two ways:

1. They will be pushed to the side, forced to take jobs far below their skill level for much lower wages.

2. They will decide to educate themselves, increase their skill levels and become freelancers.

Those choosing path number 2 will be forced to take risks.

Trend #2 – Freelancing

Will there be new jobs to replace the ones being lost? Absolutely! But, those new jobs won’t look like anything we’ve seen in the past.

The new jobs will require skills a robot doesn’t have. Human judgment skills such as critical thinking, complex problem solving, creativity, and people management, to name a few.

Further, these jobs won’t be performed by full time employees. They will be filled by Freelancers. Forbes Magazine estimates by the year 2020 50% of the U S labor force will be Freelancers.

This Doesn’t Sound Good.

Ah, but it is. Provided you start now and take a few risks. Here’s the funny thing about risks. If you have a good plan, risks don’t look as scary.

Let’s assume Thomas Frey is correct. If so, there is a 50% chance the job you’re currently in will disappear by 2030. You know this is coming. What are you going to do?

You have two basic choices:

1. Stay in the industry you’re in now.

2. Find a new career.

Either way, Freelancing is your best bet.

How Can I Become a Freelancer?

Decide today you are going to be a Freelance (fill in the blank).

Whether you stay in your present industry or decide on a new career, the process is the same. But, just deciding isn’t enough. If you’re going to be a Freelancer, you can’t be average, you have to aim to be the best. Your challenge is to become a leader in your field. The person who gets called when there’s a problem to be solved.

Pick your field and start reading books, taking online courses, etc. Keep going. Freelancers dedicate themselves to lifelong learning. No matter what you choose you’ll never know it all. There’s always new stuff out there to learn. The current estimate is the entire body of human knowledge doubles every 13 months, and that time frame is getting shorter every day. Plus, learning new stuff is a lot of fun.

Here’s what happens:

1. You become self-sufficient

2. You get to pick your clients

3. You can choose your own hours

4. You decide what to charge for your services

5. You get to do what you love (and have fun in the process)

6. You get to work on challenging projects

7. You get to work with other leaders in your field

When Should I Start?  Today. Right now.

The loss of traditional jobs is happening now, and is accelerating rapidly. Remember there is a 50% chance the job you have today will disappear in the next few years. Start today so you’ll be ready when the inevitable shows up on your doorstep.

Oh, and those risks we talked about? Taking action now will make them seem small indeed.

For more information on taking Risks, read Anne’s great book “Riskformation”.Click here.

Submitted by:

Stephen Fetters

Freelancer, writer, blogger, thinker.

You can follow Stephen here.