EDITOR'S BLOG: Self-employment will become the norm

While I might not fully agree with Simon Dolan's guest post 'University is a waste of time, start a business instead', if I were 18 I'd be thinking seriously hard about the value of saddling myself with a minimum £30,000 debt to secure a degree solely on the basis everyone else has one.

And if I were 21 and poised to 'graduate' to a job market with 2.5million unemployed, I'd be looking around me thinking, hmm, slave labour internship, dole queue, McDonalds or bar job and deciding there probably wasn't a better alternative than to see what I could earn for myself.

Today's graduates face the same employment prospects as immigrants have traditionally in this country and are reacting the same way: they're hustling a living for themselves.

Those that are hustling now will reap the rewards in the long term. Young and old, working for yourself will become the norm.

Jobs for life are extinct. Full-time contracted jobs will continue to decline regardless of economic growth. Companies will increasingly outsource and contract out work to each other and individuals: and the employment market will respond.

It'll become the norm - especially for the skilled and educated - to be self-employed and either contract out your skills or work for a number of companies at once.

In the same way you might once have started at a company as an apprentice, trainee or graduate on a low salary and developed skills and increased earnings over time, you'll have to start out offering your services at a lower cost and gain experience and the reputation to charge and earn more.

Even if you're a full-time employee, you'll need to think like you're self-employed. Employment should serve as your entrepreneurial apprenticeship. I'd speculate that before long all graduates - if not just all workers - will at some point work for themselves.

Everybody, in employment or not, should be acutely aware of what skills and services they have to sell - be taking steps to market those services and building a potential customer base around them.

Whether you are or aspire to be, literally, a butcher, baker or candlestick maker, you need to be thinking that come the point you need to do this for yourself, who will buy your services?

The key is to create an online identity and track record showcasing who you are, what you do, what you're knowledgeable about, what you've done in the past, why people found it valuable, what others have said about you. The more collaborative you are, the more others find you helpful, the greater amplification your saleable assets will receive.

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, a simple blog or free website are your tools - your initiative is your headstart. Get it right and you'll never struggle to work: for yourself or anyone else.

The future will see roughly the same number of Bransons and billionaires but self-employment holds boundless opportunities for normal working Britain. Those that realise it first will prosper before it eventually becomes the norm.

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