Yesterday, our founder Sara released an article about something called the “Quiet Revolution.”
This isn’t a new thing that we made up. Instead, it describes many current trends and movements, all united by a common value:
Quality > Quantity
This value may seem simplistic and unrevolutionary. But in the context of the last 70 years of constant rising consumption rates and the simultaneous growth of multinational corporations who sell mass-produced, low quality products, the lower consumption rates and rise in desire for small, independent, high-quality products in the last few years is revolutionary.
The seeds of this revolution are scattered in many different sectors, and can be seen reflected in many value-shifts in our society, listed below. If you contributed to any of these trends through your behavior and purchasing habits, you are a Quiet Revolutionary.
Quality = I want to own & feel connected to the product of my labors (even if that profit is less)
- The rise in self-publishing
- Increased rates of self-employment, freelancing
- Back-to-the-farm movement
Quality = Time doing what I love, with the people I love (“I want enough, not more.”). I.e. Quality time is more valuable than lots of stuff.
- The minimalist movement
- Tiny house movement
- Bike riding, car sharing, and public transportation over car ownership
- Value shift in ideal work environment amongst Millennials
- Increasing rates of working from home
Quality = Creative human labor (which is more valuable than machine labor)
- Popularity of Etsy
- Organic, local farm movement
- Craftsmanship and the Maker Movement
- Value shift in perception of small businesses amongst Millennials
Quality = Carefully curated, personal collections direct-from-creator
- The rising popularity of thrift stores
- The success of Kickstarter and sites like The Grommet where consumers have direct relationship with creator/inventor
- Independent bookstore movement
- Popularity in curated collections from fashion thought leaders
Quality = Healthy bodies and healthy environments
- The fitness movement, including yoga
- Local food movement
- Environmental and sustainability movements
- Rise in clean energy vehicles and housing
Quality = Forming new, meaningful connections in my community and in the world
- The Sharing Economy
- The rise in social media
- Meetup and other online sites that facilitate in-person interactions
- Social entrepreneurship and rise in # of international NGO’s
- The Open Source movement, GitHub
Each of these trends and movements seem isolated and independent -- but only if you look at them on a surface level, and don’t see the central value that drives each of them.
OK but...What does this have to do with freelancing?
You may be wondering why Freelancers Union cares about all this.
Whenever you read news articles or books about these separate movements and trends, you may start to see a common trend. It hasn’t been talked about much, but it’s there if you look.
Freelancers and solopreneurs are in the avant garde of most of these movements.
The Sharing Economy? Powered by freelancers. Etsy? Powered by freelancers. Local farmers? Self-employed. Self-published authors? You guessed it. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are movements and trends we don’t know about!
Why freelancers? We have talked to a lot of freelancers over the years, and the reason they went solo in the first place was almost always about quality: time with family, doing what they love, a desire for independence. Many are very successful, many get along making less. Even workers forced into freelancing through a recession and low employment rates have found that freelancing provides a better quality of life.
Freelancers already have made the step to create quality in their own lives. And as Maslow and our own Pyramid tell us, now they can create quality in their communities and in the world.
Freelancers are leading the Quiet Revolution. The revolution is already at least 230,000 upstarts strong. Let’s keep putting quality to work.
Are you a Quiet Revolutionary? What other movements demonstrate quality > quantity? We want to hear from you -- put it in comments or tweet @freelancersu #QuietRevolution.