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D.K. Reed Report: Freedom in app? The rise of the entrepreneur in the digital economy

Jobs in the gig and tech industries have forced the global workforce to pivot and create methods to generate supplementary income. Welcome to the digital economy.

Months ago, the chatter of major companies purging their workforce is now reality. DoorDash, Amazon, Carvana, and PepsiCo announced massive layoffs. In particular, much of the employee downsizing is in the tech sector. The hard truth about times like these pushes the individual to be less dependent on the establishment for answers.  As a result, another wave has emerged in the rise of the entrepreneur.

Yet, the new school entrepreneur looks different from Generation X, and definitely the Baby Boomers. With all the generations, the dream of the entrepreneur is to not be beholden to a job and a desire to be free. Now that the post-industrial revolution is over and the old school entrepreneur is gone, newfangled enterprisers must navigate entrepreneurship in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a gig economy. With that, the entrepreneur is working for self, but now through the platforms of major tech corporations.

So what is the fourth industrial revolution? It is the period in humankind marking a social and economic transformation where technologies are prevalent. So much so, the digital landscape fuses itself with the material world and biospheres.

For the past five to ten years, millennials have been monetizing their ideas like never before.  Everyone is selling something—although most of what people are selling is questionable—they are selling nevertheless. To be fair, they’d rather do it their way instead of working for someone else selling a product that is also questionable. Much like my parents and grandparents who had side hustles like selling plates of food, fixing cars or tailoring clothes, these millennials are molding businesses out of the clay that is available.

Indeed, that is impressive, as it will be the order of the day. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, everyone should have some type of home-based business. Why? The tax code rewards business owners. A business entity minimizes taxes in the form of passive income and other perks.

These types of businesses are easier to start than most might think.  Whether it’s a Youtube channel, dropshipping products, e-books, affiliate marketing, building websites, real estate, Airbnb, Turo, or selling homemade necklaces on Etsy, with a Google search, it can happen.

While working from home, or as many businesses tout, living via a laptop or the press of a button in any part of the world, the idea of “freedom” is reshaped because of the tethering to technology. 

Whereas the old school entrepreneur was often bound by brick-and-mortar or home offices, the new school entrepreneur is inevitably tied to plugin apps where you are indefinitely plugged in.

Because of the digital economy, large tech conglomerates monitor entrepreneurs and cap their income. Because you’re getting paid through digital currencies like cryptocurrency, you’re getting tracked.  Plus your money is being capped because every transaction has a tracking number to it, which will be taxed. While you have the look of an entrepreneur, now you’re more bound than an old school venturer and even an employee in some ways. As opposed to the previous cash economy, all peer-to-peer transactions are stored in a cloud after being tagged. 

While it is necessary to have a gig or some form of second or passive income, the bartering of freedom comes with it.

The D.K. Reed report analyzes and provides insight on markets, labor and the economy.

Duane Reed researches currency and market investments; and dibble dabbles in news and travel.

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