Book Review: The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life
From time-to-time, as we receive career-related and job-hunting books from publishers, the staff of Quintessential Careers will review them to help you make better decisions about the best books to use in your career and job search.
The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life, by Kimberly Palmer. $21.95. Hardback. 256 pages. Publisher: AMACOM. Pub. Date: January 2014.
Reviewed by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Take more control over your career, your finances, your future.
About three decades ago, a mostly unnoticed paradigm shift occurred in the employer-employee compact in which employers began abandoning the view of employees as valuable assets with a shared loyalty and mission to one in which employees were disposable assets… a time in which many large corporations began downsizing and rightsizing — and the days of working for one employers your entire career came to an end.
In more recent times, the paradigm has shifted even more, with some experts saying the future is one in which a handful of full-time employees manage massive numbers of (independent) contract workers.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that workers of all ages, but especially younger workers who witnessed parents being dismissed from their employers, express an interest in running their own business — whether full-time or part-time — as a way to bolster their financial and career positions. Also not surprising, the parents (part of the Baby Boom generation) also express a high interest in entrepreneurship.
Riding this trend is an empowering new book, The Economy of You, by Kimberly Palmer, an editor at US News & World Report, an author, and herself, an entrepreneur on the side. The notion that we can take more control of our lives through developing one or more “side-gigs” while continuing to work a full-time job is the main premise of her book.
As Palmer writes in the book: “We can’t pretend that our employers have our best interests in mind or even that they will continue being our employers for much longer.” Thus, workers are fighting back by pursuing money-earning ventures outside their full-time employment.
The book offers much to like and covers everything from the history of moonlighting and side-gigs to detailed how-to’s in determining, establishing, and marketing your side-gig. Also provided are time-management tips for successfully managing full-time employment and a side-gig (and a personal life).
But the three elements I love most in this book are:
- Stories and detailed anecdotes from people who started side-gigs in a plethora of industries — and for different reasons (and with various results/outcomes) from microbusinesses on Etsy.com to life coaches to bakers to architects — and many more.
- Detailed exercises and worksheets to help you get started in establishing your side-gig.
- Describing the top 50 side-gigs, which provides readers with an excellent starting point to generate ideas for your own businesses.
More specifically, readers will find the benefits of a hybrid income — one that provides more financial independence and security and the joys of working for yourself and controlling your own destiny… while still enjoying the financial, social, and emotional benefits of full-time employment (If you decide to stay employed full-time).
Do you have what it takes to develop and manage a successful side-gig? Palmer lists nine commons traits she discovered among the people she researched:
- They know exactly what motivates them.
- They choose entrepreneurial pursuits that align with long-standing passions.
- They reduce personal expenses so they can invest in their start-ups.
- They rely heavily on online communities for help and support.
- They actively develop and promote their brands through social media.
- They master time-management strategies to successfully maintain full-time jobs while running their side-gig.
- They are resilient in the face of inevitable setbacks.
- They give back by supporting other small shops and start-ups by outsourcing tasks once their business takes off.
- They derive a deep sense of financial security and fulfillment from their businesses, far beyond money.
Final Thoughts on The Economy of You
Just about everyone — no matter how experienced you are — will find some great gems in this book.
Take me for example. Even as someone with 30 years of marketing experience and 17+ years running my own business, I found myself jotting down some notes to myself and brainstorming a few new ideas as I read the book.
Whether you want to grow and manage a side-gig, develop multiple side-gigs as part of a portfolio career, or create a full-time entrepreneurial business, you’ll find this book a very useful read.
For additional information on side-gigs, micro-businesses, and more:
- See our article, Characteristics of People Moonlighting With Side-Gigs
- Unsure whether you’re ready to moonlight with a side-gig? Take our assessment: Do You Have What it Takes to Moonlight With a Side-Gig?
Check out all our book reviews in Quintessential Reading: Career and Job Book Reviews.