Contribution: Why 2021 Will Be The Year For Self-Starters by Kayleigh Alexandra [@getmicrostarted]


Get A Head Start On 2021 Now!


When we look back upon 2020 in years to come, we might well view it as one of the worst years in a generation. We’re not yet halfway through it as I write this, yet we’ve already seen worrying international tensions, a pandemic that has taken many lives and cost more jobs, and American cities erupting in protests against long-standing police brutality. What else could happen?

Now, this doesn’t mean we should focus on the negatives for the year: we don’t yet know what the remaining months will bring, and it’s possible that the second half of 2020 will somehow — almost miraculously — do something to balance the scales in some regard. Even if it doesn’t, it doesn’t accomplish much to dwell on the downsides.

At the same time, we can’t expect the events of 2020 to simply wash away with the arrival of a new year. We need to accept that the lockdown measures implemented to flatten the COVID-19 curve (along with the general anxiety stemming from all that’s wrong with the world) will have lasting repercussions.

Due to some of those repercussions, I’m convinced that 2021 is going to be a banner year for self-starters. In this post, I’m going to explain why I believe this. Let’s get started.

People are tired of being used by corporations

Due to COVID-19, many people got fired or furloughed, and not because they did anything wrong. If you’ve retained your job during this time, put yourself in the shoes of someone who lost theirs: imagine consistently getting results, being an excellent employee, and giving your best effort to support your employer, only to see them cast you aside in a time of crisis.

Some companies have tried their best to support their employees, yes, but not all. Some have essentially abandoned their workforces in a rush to protect their profitability. So while it might be practical for someone fired by such an employer to immediately start looking for another job with a set salary and convenient terms, you can surely understand why they might not want to once again trust the management of a corporation.

Look at an employer like the WWE: still on course to make record profits, it released numerous employees as a cost-cutting measure. Suddenly self-employment seems like a great alternative: scary, perhaps, but offering freedom and self-determination. Eager to never again be discarded, I think we’ll see these people gathering up the courage to venture out on their own.

We now know that business can be done from anywhere

There was widespread panic when the lockdown measures were rolled out, and not just because people were worried about getting ill: it was also because so many companies weren’t prepared to operate remotely, and many simply didn’t think it could be done effectively. The time since then has made it abundantly clear that remote working can work fine for most companies.

This is because of two things in particular: rock-solid internet infrastructure, and the availability of low-cost SaaS tools. The times of wavering dial-up connections are long past us. Consider the sheer ubiquity of fibre broadband deals: did you ever envision a time in which you could get a decent internet connection through the Post Office? (Not something I expected.)

Meanwhile, free office suites like Google Docs allow businesses to collaborate on documents from anywhere the employees can take their laptops (or even smartphones): and even if various SaaS companies hadn’t offered assistance during the pandemic, their rates would still have been perfectly affordable for most companies.

Lockdown has granted time to consider our futures

Being forced to stay at home whenever possible has had mixed consequences for most of us. They’ve skewed negative, admittedly, involving a lot of loneliness, boredom, listlessness, and uncertainty about how we’re going to survive in such trying conditions — but even those problems have had the potential to spark invaluable epiphanies.

Knowing that we can’t just distract ourselves with regular social activities has forced many of us to think about matters we often avoid thinking about due to their complexity. Matters like where our lives are going and what we really want to achieve. When we really think about our lives, looking at them from a broader perspective, we can see how stagnant they can get.

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Plenty of people have looked at their 2020 lives and realised that they aren’t pursuing their dreams: that they could and perhaps should aspire to greater things. Many of those people are going to take action in the new year, hoping that they can reshape their destinies.

When times get scary, entrepreneurs take risks

Lastly, we need to consider what drives people to take risks like going into self-employment. You might think that they’re more likely to try risky things when they’re settled with healthy savings, but that isn’t the case: being settled tends to make us complacent and reluctant to change. When things go wrong, though, there are no longer any comfortable options — and when that’s the case, we might as well go for what we want.

These times are certainly scary. Entire industries are out of operation and might take years to get back to their former levels of activity. Since regular jobs don’t offer incredible stability, it’s as good a time as any to bet on your potential as a self-starter. If it works out, then you’ll have established a business that succeeds because of you and returns all its value to you.

If it doesn’t work out, which is always a strong possibility, then you can always seek a return to the regular working world (which may have recovered somewhat by that time). Your attempt to strike out on your own may even work to your advantage at that point, of course, by showing that you have the initiative to go beyond what’s expected of you.

For all the reasons I’ve identified here, I truly believe that 2021 is going to be an excellent year for self-starters. Plenty will fail, of course, but I’m sure we’ll see many successes that would never have been possible without the awful events of 2020 to prompt people to change their lives.

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