The Forbes article Why Everyone Needs a Business Plan covers what we feel is a very, very important topic - that most Americans, at some point, will be self-employed.
Key quote on shifting career paths leading to more self-employment and/or contingent work:
Thanks to corporations’ desire for agility, more people are going to find themselves getting replaced by new technologies and workers with more flexible relationships to the company, such as outside contractors. That doesn’t mean these displaced corporate workers may never work again in a traditional job, but it suggests there will be periods where they have to figure out how to generate an income on their own.
The reason we see this topic as so very important is we are constantly interviewing people who've lost their jobs, are struggling to find new jobs, but have done no preparation or thinking about how they can earn a living on their own.
In the majority of cases these are hardworking people who are unemployed through no fault of their own. They're the victims of automation, cost reductions, layoffs, downsizing, outsourcing or other corporate actions.
But because they never thought they'd need to be self-employed, they aren't ready for it. And our research shows the most successful independent workers (self-employed, freelancers, etc.) are those that have chosen and are prepared for independent work.
Also, as the article points out, our research shows that by 2020 about half of all Americans will have spent time as an independent worker. So the odds are about 50-50 you will spend at least some time as an independent worker - even if you don't want to.
Because of this, we completely agree with author's advice:
Even if you’re not planning to leave your job any time soon, its important to stay on the lookout for opportunities you could pursue if you were to become self-employed.
Spend some time thinking about what you would do if you were to become self-employed. Consider it a life raft - you may never need it, but if you do it could save your financial life.