Let’s call this the “anti-list” list, shall we? These are the alternate facts, the trends you may have heard about in passing – but, probably not.
Some of these are trends and some of them are growing into movements that are here to stay. We’ve been tracking their sophistication through the last few years. Some were inevitable, like freelancing is growing like crazy. Some were totally left field – digital nomads are using this new found source of income.
Want in? You could use some of these to up your business 200% in the next three months! Tap into a new revenue channel or simply take on a new experience and test your mettle and your biz.
These 9 trends are happening NOW. So what’re you waiting for?
1. Freelance Is Having More Than Just A Moment
Side hustle, freelancing, extra income and the alternative to the 9-to-5. That’s what freelancing used to be seen as.
We used to say “an increasing number of people in the workforce are freelancers”. Now, we say: “there are 55 million people in the United States who are freelancers”. And this doesn’t even account for the global numbers, where work often gets outsourced to “freelancers” and has been long before this reality.
The percentage of the workforce expected to be freelancers by 2020? 50%.
With stats like these, it’s safe to say that freelancing is having more than a “moment”. In fact, it’s closer to a watershed moment.
2. The Cloud And SaaS Are There To Help
The biggest evidence of freelance is having more than a moment? Firstly, the Internet has broken down barriers to entry for people looking to start their own businesses. But what’s more important, is the way SaaS – software-as-a-service – has grown. The cloud market was worth $204 billion in 2016 and is set to grow to 22% by 2020.
While legacy companies are seeking to strengthen their hold, new, independent and lean SaaS companies are springing up to fill the void for smaller, more independent teams and solopreneurs looking for all-in-one solutions.
It’s not just an influx of work or more companies turning to freelancers to solve problems. It’s the fact that so many new freelancers can choose to operate independently with very little start-up cost due to all-in-one project management SaaS.
Using software like MoneyPenny, for example, freelancers can run their entire business world and operations from one simple interface. A single dashboard for clients and business owners?
- choose to bill clients automatically so they can create attractive retainer packages.
- brand their invoices to present themselves as professionals (at a fraction of the cost).
- flip the switch of time tracking “ON”, so that clients can always know what they’re working on and when, thus fostering greater trust and transparency.
- make more money by using information stored about past project hours and timelines to make a proper estimate and proposal for future projects.
3. Cinemagraph Is That Awkward Cousin of Video Marketing That’s Blowing Up
Remember Marcel Duchamp, that wylie artiste of modernism? “Ceci n’est pas une fontaine”, said his bold and playful take on the everyday urinal. Well, when you look at cinemagraphs, it’s hard not to feel the same way: “Ceci n’est pas un…photo?”
There’s something about a cinemagraph that makes you look twice. Maybe even makes you a little uncomfortable when you spot “it”.
Cinemagraph from Flixel and Giulio Sciorio
Did you blink and miss it? Did you spot it?
Cinemagraphs are a unique way to make photos interesting and have them come alive again. There are a few apps out there that make it easy for DIY and starter photographers as well as more well-seasoned camera junkies who simply want to dabble in a new art form to start to experiment with movement in still pictures.
That’s essentially what cinemagraphs are: they are still photos that have one object or motion in them, usually very subtle, and is sort of a hybrid between a photo and a video. Technically speaking, the image is a video clip and is saved as a GIF.
Brands like Mercedes, Budweiser, Apple and even IKEA are turning to the breath of fresh air that cinemagraphs look and feel like to a brand consumer that has likely seen it all before — until now.
Want to get started? Check out Flixel’s tutorial on DIY cinemagraphs here.
4. Shopify & Ebay Are Joining Forces
When you head to Shopify’s Ecommerce University, you’ll soon be able to see a new guide: “all about Ebay”.
Okay, nobody really knows what it’s going to be named quite yet. But the announcement that Shopify and Ebay were going to be partnering together took many sellers using both platforms by surprise — and delight.
Credit: Shopify Resources
The idea is to be able to expand the reach of both platforms as well as allow users greater flexibility and ease in listing and selling across channels. An integration would simplify selling for existing sellers and attract those who simply couldn’t make a decision, convincing them that they no longer have to choose.
While Shopify offers sellers a tool to sell online that users can either integrate into their existing websites or use a Shopify template to create listings, Ebay offers a huge centralized marketplace.
So if you’ve got a nearby thrift store, why not grab a couple of items, do some research, set up a Shopify account.
5. Remote Traveling Groups Are Gaining Traction
Digital nomads look different today. 20 years ago, they used to be a raggedy bunch, in need of a good meal, often photographers, filmmakers and writers.
Today, they’re remote employees of health and fin-tech companies who have convinced the senior executives in their companies that this is not only viable but necessary.
Or they’re teachers who are taking time-off to travel and write.
Or, they’re bright young people in the mid-20s to late 30s, who using a combination of tech knowledge and great ideas, are taking the time to connect with other professionals and work on their start-up projects remotely.
Each of the remote traveling groups such as Remote Year have a different mission, travel structure and fee structure. Some leave every two weeks, some stay for the whole month.
One thing to remember though is that travelling can have a big impact on the environment so you may want to consider ways to reduce the environmental impact when overlanding.
6. Online Courses Are Making A Comeback
Over the last few years, sites like Skillshare and Udemy have really been making headway with their user acquisition. There are now more than 8000 courses and 800,000 learners on Udemy alone.
Meanwhile, even as these platforms grow, many individuals who were early adopters, placing their courses and selling their expertise through these online “schools”, are now choosing to move their base elsewhere.
In fact, self-hosted courses or using options such as Teachable or OptimizePress Membership are becoming more popular ways of offering in-depth courses, rather than bite-sized morsels of a topic.
And, as you might expect, these courses are priced at a point that would reflect the depth of knowledge and expertise. For digital nomads, that means more work up front, rather than a couple of videos and a PDF or two that Udemy or Skillshare may require.
But it also means they can rely on selling fewer “units” of the course, at a greater price point and still hit their income targets.
7. Self-Publishing Is Going Strong
That’s right. An author. A writer. An artist. Something your parents told you would never make any money and no one would ever pay you for.
Well, they’re wrong. And so is anyone who thinks that there’s no money in self-publishing. The truth is, without those pesky middle-men eating away at your book profits, there’s only money to be made.
As long as you’re smart about marketing it and willing to put in the work to build and audience and get the word out.
8. Nomads Are Making Money In This Weird Way (Flipping Camper Vans)
They call it “#vanlife”. And an increasing number of millennials, old-school rubber tramps and nomads are doing it. They are looking for a project to work on that will make them enough money to head back out on the road again.
There is definitely a growing market for individuals looking to buy camper vans. Especially those, that are fully extensible, customizable and outfitted for prolonged life on the road. It’s not so much traveling to a destination as it is simply about getting out there.
As an increasing number of young folks sell or give away their worldly possessions for life in a “Tiny Home”, digital nomads who want to take their tiny home on wheels are asking if they can do it all in a van instead?
It’s easy to see why digital nomads would make a living out of this. It signals a lifestyle choice, they can speak the language of buyers who are almost identical to them, they can anticipate what their buyers will need and it’s an easy sell.
9. Virtual Assistants Have Virtual Assistants
They say that the fastest way to make money is to transition from services to peddling your expertise and “teaching”. More likely than not, digital nomads are supplementing their country-hopping ways by setting their businesses up as virtual assistance.
Credit: Freelance To Freedom Project
The virtual assistant space is blowing up. Now they have the technology and skills to handle multiple aspects of a business. For example, they can take care of website publishing because their clients usually use a CMS like WordPress for their website’s content.
Or they can handle social media channels because their clients will set them up as an administrator on platforms such as Hootsuite or Edgar.
The best part, however, is that more seasoned VAs (i.e. those who have entered the space earlier) can now teach new VAs to set up their businesses in half the time, showing them the pitfalls to avoid and the questions to answer that will take them to a being booked out a year in advance.
10. More Businesses Are Spearheading Conferences
Ever heard of ConvertKit’s Craft + Commerce Conference in Boise, Idaho? Or what about the DYFConf by Brennan Dunn, hosted in Stockholm? And what of the “seanwes conference”?
An increasing number of smart businesses set up conferences to bring experts together with individuals who believe in the brand.
Essentially, they’re killing two birds with one stone. They’re growing their brand’s expertise and providing genuine value for their attendees who get a chance to connect offline.
And, for digital nomads, as fun as the road can get, it can also be a little isolating. So what better way to experience business and pleasure with a bit of education thrown in? These conferences are a hub of learning and networking so it’s no surprise that there’s a growing demand for them.