Social Economy

Want More? Develop a “Micro-Career”

Article written by  Dr. Marla Gottschalk on Linkedin


I don’t believe in setting limits on career fulfillment. However, we seem to do a pretty good job of self-imposing such constraints. Over time, we tend to define ourselves quite narrowly — when in fact we are all multifaceted individuals. During the “exclusion” process, we permanently sideline other career interests that have not transacted into solid opportunities. This can eventually lead to a bit of career regret. Have you ever found yourself ruminating on that part of your career “self” that you’ve left behind? I am beginning to believe this is a common experience.

Our relationship with work and career is quite layered — and for many, there are alternative career interests that have been “checked at the door”. These interests wait in the wings, so to speak, undeveloped and underutilized. In many cases, embracing a second (or third) “micro-career” can offer not only personal satisfaction and balance, but financial benefits as well. In this day and age, you can explore an untapped career passion without necessarily leaving your current role behind. Many of us possess a skill set that is not accessed in our current roles. (I know that I am far happier for adding blogging to my world of work.)

So, I’ll pose this question to you: Would you be happier if you could develop an additional “micro-career”?

On-line & On-Demand

Interestingly, the development of on-demand marketplaces for talent and expertise have proven to be a path to address this common career dilemma. Powered by the flexibility of the internet (and the developing trend of the collaborative economy), you can effectively transact a second career strength into a promising micro-career. Sites such as O-Desk and Elance afford the opportunity to do just that, with the ability to post detailed profiles, surf posted jobs, monitor project progress and track time.

As described by David Costello, CEO of ServiceScape, a forum to book assignments in editing, translation and the graphic arts, “our clients find the talent they need and negotiate all aspects of the project including time constraints and cost. Our providers can promote or remove their profile when they are able to work. For example, teachers can post their profile in the summer months, and remove their profile for potential projects in the fall.”

Schedule Permitting

Direct-selling businesses also provide unique opportunities to develop an alternative career interest — and can actively indulge an entrepreneurial mindset. (Tupperware brilliantly pioneered this type of role in the 1950’s.) Newer ventures such as Pampered Chef and Silpada Designs have capitalized on the energy of those who desire an entrepreneurial challenge — but may find themselves unable to work within a traditional work schedule. Individuals have the opportunity to develop their own career trajectory, based upon available levels of time and motivation. Many of these individuals have other roles, but augment their career “portfolio” with another path.

Co-Presidents of Silpada Designs, Kelsey Perry and Ryane Delka, truly understand the potential power of a micro-career. Perry says, “Any individual can fashion a career where they can set their own hours, their agenda and their goal income level. Whether it’s a teacher who is looking for extra income, a stay-at-home parent wanting to maintain a connection with professional life, or a CEO who wants more from work life, Silpada is designed for everyone.” As further explained by Delka, “We consistently hear from our representatives that ‘I found myself in Silpada.’ To us, this means we are providing a path for individuals to turn themselves into the people they’re supposed to be. We get chills every time we hear this.”

Explore Intrapreneurship

If constraints such as time limit your options — it is possible to explore a micro-career within your current organization. An increasing number of traditional organizations are harnessing the ideas of their employees, and identifying new, exciting revenue streams. While leaders may be responsible for setting overall direction, many realize that those closest to products and services are in a unique position to observe developing opportunities.

Recent research tells us that managers are more than willing to support employees who wish to explore these opportunities internally. (There is real value in disruption.) So, while you may have a keen eye for cutting-edge products and services — you may not have to strike out entirely on your own. What organization doesn’t need an entrepreneur? That individual may be you.

Hand-Made Opportunities

A modern “cottage industry” can also come into play when exploring an additional role — and taking it to the masses is one savvy method to consider. Creative individuals worldwide have discovered the power of Etsy, and have elevated the term of “craft” to an entirely new level. The e-commerce site, provides a showcase for the work of the individual craftspeople — and has quickly brought the “cool” back to “crafty”. The potential financial rewards are there as well. Recently, the high-end chain Nordstrom revealed it was partnering with the site through their new program Etsy wholesale. Along with other retailers (such as West Elm), they will sell items from select Etsy vendors within their stores — bringing a wider range of unique products to their customers.

Ultimately, we must have a conversation with ourselves concerning the state of own career paths — addressing facets that have been missing or neglected. Hopefully, this will lead to a measure of exploration and an acceptance that careers can be multidimensional. In the larger world, mechanisms that capitalizes on under-utilized talent and services, will prove to be a key opportunity for those wishing to add a micro-career to the mix.

As discussed here, the advent of the social era will change how we approach work and career. As a result, many of the barriers we have lived with career-wise, may simply fall away.

Would you be happier if you could launch an alternative micro-career? Have you done this successfully? Tell us your story.


La Fête du Crowdfunding

We had an amazing time last Saturday at La Fête du Crowdfunding in Paris!


But first of all, let’s see what crowdfunding is:

Crowdfunding is a way of raising finance by asking a large number of people each for a small amount of money. Until recently, financing a business, project or venture involved asking a few people for large sums of money. Crowdfunding switches this idea around, using the internet to talk to thousands – if not millions – of potential funders. Typically, those seeking funds will set up a profile of their project on a website such as those run by our members. They can then use social media, alongside traditional networks of friends, family and work aquaintances, to raise money. There are three different types of crowdfunding: donation, debt and equity.

That day, we met some European and French platforms, as well as projects that have already used them in order to finance their ideas. Everyone was very happy to share their stories and they all had financed various activities: blankets for sick people, scientific games for kids, food delis, book shops, and so on.

What was also interesting to find out was that these days there are platforms for almost anything: from funding a music band, to your education, or creating a small business producing ethical goods.

Because they are so numerous, it is important for you to know that they want to “gain” you as a member in their community – one successful project will bring another one and so on. So normally they are very helpful when you get in contact with them and will tell you if your idea is suitable for crowdfunding, if your marketing pitch will appeal to crowdfounders, etc. Most of them are also very young and willing to help anyone who has a fresh idea. 

More on how you should manage your crowdfunding project here: 

Good luck and have no fear, all ideas can find financing through crowdfunding!

Do you know what you eat?

Here’s a recent ad for a product which is meant to help companies track better the products they sell.

What does the commercial above inspire to you? Isn’t it scary to know how many people are involved in the creation of one yoghurt?

Today, there are more and more products bad for our health. From OGM’s to additives and food coloring agents, our attention is required even when we buy raw meat, fish, or apples.

To tackle that, companies buy software that is meant to better track a products origin. But as we saw in Europe recently (the Spanish cucumber e-coli crisis and the horse meat), they are not there yet.

At the same time, NGOs like Greenpeace try to make lists of good or bad products for our health, but unfortunately they are relying only on company’s responses.

Here are the guides published by Greenpeace in France and Canada:

Here is also a German case study for the pork industry:

And here’s an article on Frosta, one of the few companies that is trying to be “transparent” with their customers.

 So please, search for the BIO label (AB certified in Europe), or other international certifications that assure you that you are doing a good thing for the planet and for other people.


photo source:

 P.S. While the most important focus is on food products, the other fields should not be forgotten, as there were many scandals linked to plastic toys, furniture or fabrics which are not good for our health.

The Common Greater Good


So, what does “common greater good” mean for us?

Common = community, it means people coming together in order to create change.

Greater = the more we are, more impact our actions have

Good = positive, optimistic, peaceful, etc.

In other words,

Common greater good = Positive change with high impact

That’s what we can do by coming together and trying to act in order for everyone to have access more or less to the same benefits on the planet.