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Last year, a study from McKinsey Global Institute reported that in the United States alone, nearly three in 10 American workers are employed in independent positions. Most independent work is generally of the freelance variety (also called the “gig economy”), such as Lyft or Uber drivers, hosting out rooms in your home through Airbnb, selling items through online marketplaces like Etsy, or contract assignments in accounting or writing roles.
As the gig economy continues to shake up the startup world and prove that it has more than enough staying power, it may actually be a good idea for millennials, especially recent college grads, to pursue this path first and explore the lessons it has to offer before becoming small business owners.
Here’s a look at how even driving a rideshare can truly put you on the road to entrepreneurship.
Exposure to different types of businesses and industries
The biggest killer for the entrepreneurial mindset is inertia and any sort of work that could potentially keep you a little too comfortable for too long. Who could get stuck in one place when pursuing positions offered by the gig economy? From setting up your own Etsy store to starting up an online consultancy, the sheer variety available offers entrepreneurial millennials the ability to tap into their skill sets while getting outside of their comfort zone. Who knows, maybe one of the industries in which your contract work lies could be the exact one you’d like to pursue as an entrepreneur!
Keep learning as you go
More than just enjoying physical flexibility in these positions (where the hours you work are largely up to you to decide), millennials in the gig economy get to enjoy mental flexibility, as well. Wherever they go, they’ll encounter tons of new people and be exposed to new ideas that will keep them perpetually in a state of learning and always hungry for more. Oh, and let’s not forget that you’ll be making some money in the process, which makes it a win-win across the board.
Discover more about yourself and your true priorities
What do you want to be when you grow up, anyway? Millennials that opt to head into the gig economy before becoming entrepreneurs may ultimately realize that having a freelance job does more than allow you to finesse your skills, make some money and try new industries on for size. It can also allow you to discover what your true goals for the future are and the steps you can take on a daily basis to get there.
Think about all of the actions you take throughout the course of each day. Now, think about where you want to be in the long run. Are the things you’re doing today providing the stepping stones necessary to fulfill your dreams? If they are, great, but if not, use this time to reexamine your own journey and how you can use your strengths to get exactly where you need to be.