New Job Opportunities in the Great Recession

In the last post, we discussed how traditional jobs were going away, or moving towards a flexible work force.  Today we’ll discuss the one segment of the employment spectrum that’s destined to benefit from these trends — the ranks of the self-employed.

Changing Self-Employment Options

Too often, when people think of the self-employed, they think of the latest media-glorified entrepreneur who took sensational risks, to become wildly wealthy and successful.  And while people like Steve Jobs do exist, they are by far the exception among the self-employed.

According to the article The Two Faces of Entrepreneurship, there are two types of entrepreneurs:  the Innovative Entrepreneur, and the Replicative Entrepreneur.  The former is the one most people associate with people like Steve Jobs.  They innovate in ways not seen before, and create huge new markets that never existed before.

The latter is the far more common type of entrepreneur.  While they still set off on their own, and take the risks associated with building an employee-based business, they do so in established markets, with established concepts.

Unfortunately, both of these types of entrepreneurs have been negatively affected by the Great Recession.

For the Innovative Entrepreneur, a lack of venture funding has drastically impacted their ability to get the funds required to commercialize new products, establish new markets, or innovate on a large scale.  For the Replicative Entrepreneur, the traditional brick and mortar businesses have seen their sales decline, forcing many of these firms out of business.

The good news is, the fastest growing segment of the self-employed are not traditional entrepreneurs at all.  They are the ones who work for themselves without employees, and go by terms like freelancers, independent contractors, solopreneurs, homepreneurs, and non-employer businesses.  These are the jobs that are available now, and growing very rapidly.

Three Types of Self-Employment

Self Employment Type Estimated Market Size Trends
Innovative Startup < 1 % Down
Owner/Operator Firms
with Employees
9% Down
Self Employed with
no Employees
90% Up

Clearly, the opportunities of today are for the Self Employed with no Employees.  And these jobs can pay very well.  According to research by Network Solutions, “About 35% have revenues of more than $125,000, and 8% more than $500,000.  What’s more, median household income is substantially higher than it is for the population as a whole: roughly $75,000 for homepreneurs vs. $50,233 for households in general.”

In the coming weeks, we’ll be looking at this and the various options for self-employment in much greater detail.  As always, comments welcome.  Until next time … is a blog by Jay Fenello, principal and founder of, an Atlanta-based
Business Brokerage and Placement firm that helps people buy and sell small businesses and franchises.

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