The recent tech industry layoffs are driving a wave of what some are calling “solopreneurs” doing gig work or independent contracting.
Think DoorDash or Uber Eats, but instead of delivering Thai food, people are delivering key cloud advisory services or even completed cloud-based systems ready for deployment.
This is driven by the anticipation that a slowing economy is likely to drive down tech sales. But also, a cloud skills shortage is occurring simultaneously. We’re not preparing enough cloud professionals to keep up with demand, but, at the same time, tech companies are laying them off. Go figure.
This has been evolving for years as workers understand the value of the gig economy and may be looking for more independence and less employment reliance on the larger technology players. Many technology professionals are exploring more entrepreneurial options instead of opting for standard full-time jobs and cushy benefits with companies that can’t guarantee a job for life—and never could.
Indeed, 63% of tech workers report they have started their own company post-layoff, according to a recent survey of 1,000 professionals laid off in recent years. Most of these new ventures (83%) exist in the technology industry, especially cloud computing.
The people doing these cloud-based gig jobs are cloud pros with years of experience and people who are only recently certified. Most are finding that just as cloud computing best supports a remote and distributed workforce, the cloud can be leveraged for cloud technology mercenary work as well. This, coupled with a shortage of cloud skills, means that those with even the most rudimentary skills find that they have a full dance card.
Also reported in the survey, those who venture out on their own see an average increase of $13,000 in yearly income, and 58% feel better about their new job security. These new gig players either focus on being a single human asset for sale in the marketplace or are starting their own ventures, including hiring employees and investing their own money, at least $20,000, to make it a growing business concern.
I suspect that many of these entrepreneurs will reach a valuation of many millions of dollars (depending on the type of cloud tech business) after a couple of years and average growth. I’ve seen this personally a great many times. Beats most 401(k)s.
Also interesting, according to the survey, 93% report they are now competing with the company that let them go. Think of a “spite store” from Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
This will have an overall positive effect on the technology industry and cloud computing specifically, given that these types of businesses drive more innovation.
They are not hindered by large corporate governance and company politics. Creativity and innovation are directly rewarded with sales and higher business value. This will also increase the number of wealthy people in the technology industry since this model will better disburse wealth among more technology industry contributors.
Also, larger companies find it easier to employ gig workers versus committing to hiring an employee. They are easier to use and then let go if no longer needed. HR departments don’t have to manage the relationship, and much of the legal risk is removed.
Is this a good choice for you? Many people choose the gig model after a layoff and really have found it to be a better option than just looking for another job. Some may return to the corporate ranks when the right job comes along.
However, many cloud pros will stay on the entrepreneurial path, even though they never really planned to be on that path. They find satisfaction and value in going solo. Good for them.