Out with the OLD? Debunk these myths about engaging seasoned independent professionals! [Fridays: Mindfulness by Miles]
Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more.
A Note from Miles Everson:
Hello and welcome to “Mindfulness by Miles!”
It’s almost the weekend. We hope you’re having a great day so far.
Today, we’ll be sharing an interesting topic about independent professionals, particularly, the “seasoned” ones. We believe it’s important to tackle this issue to avoid or break any stigma associated with this type of workers.
Ready to know more about today’s topic?
Continue reading the article below.
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute
Mindfulness by Miles
Happier. Healthier. Wealthier.
According to MBO Partners’ 2022 State of Independence in America report, nowadays, a growing number of Americans are opting for the flexibility, autonomy, control, and balance that working independently provides.
In fact, there are over 65 million independent workers in the U.S. in 2022—up from 51 million in 2021. This shows as the global system continues to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic issues, the U.S. labor market is changing in a way that individuals maintain an optimistic view on their own prospects, health, and purpose.
Photo from Jobble
The Independent Worker Demographics
MBO Partners’ data shows millennials and Gen Zs make up nearly half of the total population of independent workers in 2022. As this type of workforce grows and expands, these younger generations are becoming more interested in self-employment and entrepreneurship.
… but did you know the independent workforce doesn’t merely consist of relatively young people?
We mentioned nearly half of the population are millennials and Gen Zs. Any guess on what comprises over half of this workforce’s demographics?
The “seasoned” ones (Baby Boomers and Gen Xs).
As these older generations age out of the traditional workforce—and in some cases, retire altogether—many continue their careers as independents.
Think about it this way: They’re not retiring from “work” per se. They’re retiring from the in-office setup, from schedules they can’t control, and from being tied to just 1 location.
In other words, these seasoned professionals are demonstrating the value of their experience and perspectives to firms that engage them as independent workers.
“Solopreneurship” Has No Age
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a “solopreneur” (solo + entrepreneur) is one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise without the help of a partner.
To put it more simply, a solopreneur works independently and doesn’t hire employees or other team members.
Today, many of the seasoned professionals are solopreneurs. Income is a factor for this career choice, but too often, the reasons are beyond financial wealth. Many of these individuals enjoy the schedule flexibility that allows quality time with family, the opportunity to travel, or pursue new hobbies.
Other times, the decision to become independent is rooted in a passion for work and desire to contribute valuable expertise and knowledge to clients.
Despite all these reasons, there is still some reluctance in the U.S. labor market to hire seasoned independents.
Myths about workers over a certain age create unconscious bias against these people, when in reality, they can still be of immense value to their clients.
Here are some misconceptions about seasoned independents that can get in the way of businesses realizing their values and contributions:
- Most of them are 55 years of age or older.
55 years old has been the default age used by researchers to draw conclusions about “older workers.” However, according to MBO Partners’ CEO Miles Everson, anyone over 40 is actually fair game for the “older worker” label.
Depending on the type of business, a seasoned professional can include those as young as 35 years old.
Myth: Since these people are “older,” firms think they’re high-maintenance workers and need to be extra cared for in terms of health, well-being, etc.
Fact: “Solopreneurship” has no age, remember? Anyone, regardless of their age, can become an independent worker because it’s not their ages that they bring to the table, but their years of experience, knowledge, expertise, and more.
- They’re out of touch with the way work is done nowadays.
This mindset is well-embedded in fast-changing industries like marketing, creatives, and technology.
Myth: Once seasoned professionals learn to work in a particular way, they’ll never change.
Fact: Contrary to popular belief, seasoned professionals are often experts in change management. Having learned various coping mechanisms from constant changes over their careers, these individuals have reached a higher level of comfort working in transitioning environments.
Many of them are even lifelong learners and are eager to stay updated with new developments in their field. They keep track of the pulse of the market, including business news and trends.
- They’re outdated on technology.
This misconception covers the types of technology used across all business areas or industries.
Myth: Seasoned independent professionals are outdated on the latest technological advancements and are therefore incapable of working as effectively and efficiently as younger workers.
Fact: While older workers may not be among the early adopters of technology, they tend to be fast learners once uptake is certain. They adapt as needed, whether to a new type of smartphone, digital collaboration tools, or workflows and processes with online components.
Additionally, a survey commissioned by Dropbox shows older workers adopt new technology at the same pace as their younger counterparts, AND with less anxiety.
- They’re inflexible.
Ah, the “grumpy old person” myth!
Myth: Seasoned independents can be in a cut-to-the-chase zone when focused on work, therefore being quite direct in their communication. They also often ask “why,” seeking reasons behind a particular strategy, decision, or change.
Fact: This type of behavior is not deliberately contentious. It’s just that for seasoned independents who are confident in their skills, experience, and perspective, they are often clearer on what they need to understand to get the job done better.
- It costs businesses more to hire them.
This is where businesses are often more cautious.
Myth: Lots of experience means lots of money, right?
Fact: To answer the question above: Not necessarily. Seasoned workers who have had successful careers will “semi-retire,” meaning they’ll take on independent roles that tap skills they particularly enjoy.
For instance: A previously full-time IT manager becomes an independent software developer, or a previously full-time marketing director becomes a freelance copywriter.
These professionals don’t really command the same pay rate as in their previous positions. As a result, their clients get cost-effective contractors who produce great results.
Everson says if some or all of these myths are present in a company, that firm will miss out on almost half of the benefits of the independent workforce.
For him, only those enterprises that step out and welcome seasoned independents in its talent pool will realize BIG gains from the expertise and knowledge of these veterans.
We hope you find today’s topic helpful and insightful!
Break the stigma associated with older workers. Through this, you’ll be able to tap into these professionals’ potentials and develop a more inclusive work environment for talents of all ages.
Advance happy weekend!
(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Fridays: Mindfulness by Miles”
High-performance businesses are run by people who think and act differently.
In other words, these are people who are high-performing individuals.
Companies and individuals of this kind have found ways to escape the grind of commoditization and competition by focusing on the RIGHT goals.
High-performing businesses and individuals are also “return driven” businesses and “career driven” individuals. They conscientiously develop unique capabilities and resources that allow them to deliver offerings in ways no other firm or individual can.
Every Friday, we’ll publish tips and insights from MBO Partners and The I Institute’s “The Business Builder Daily” newsletter.
These will help you gain knowledge on the things that Miles Everson, the CEO of MBO Partners, often talks about regarding the future of the workforce.
We’ll also highlight other mindfulness advice on how you can be a high-performing individual both in your career and personal life.
Hope you’ve found this week’s insight interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Friday’s “Mindfulness by Miles!”
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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