Hey there! Welcome back to Focus on You! A podcast dedicated to the individual with something to say but not quite sure how to say it. I’m Dachia.
I am a soon to be work from home, full time dog mom.
I mentioned last week that I have a growing opinion concerning the work from home industry and I was going to talk about it today.
So, here it is.
Some years ago… many years, in fact, I heard the term “cottage industry.” And when I say some years… I think it was about 30.
My parents had started a magazine publishing business in the living room. We called it a magazine, because that was the goal, but it was currently a hefty newsletter with ads.
It was published for people who were selling their homes on their own. A place to advertise it for sale. For FIZBOs… For Sale By Owners. They place an ad for their home for sale and my dad wrote articles about how to make your home appealing and take care of the sale on your own, and my mom offered a service of photographing the home, and then the newsletter/magazine was placed at grocery stores at checkout counters etc.
I should probably put this in context. This was about 1980 something. There was no internet… at least not like it is… we had a computer. I think. Actually, I’m not sure we did.
But my point is that magazines were physical and there were often racks of freebie newspapers and fliers outside the door or just inside the door of lots of places like grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants and gas stations.
So, even back then, people were do it yourselfers and trying to save or make as much money as they could by selling or buying a property without the help of a realtor. But that’s a whole other episode.
At that time, there was a quiet movement to become work from home. To have a home business.
First.. just a little history. Before the start of the Industrial Revolution, which began in the 1700s, the production of goods was done on a very small scale. Historians refer to this method of production as the ‘cottage industry’. That’s from Historycrunch.com
For a long long time, people made stuff at their homes. They wove or made pots.. I don’t know what they did, but as demand would build for a product, it would expand into a bigger place and need more people to make it happen. And there were lots of people who were struggling with whatever they were trying to do and the people who needed bodies to help them run their machines etc, were all too happy to convince them that whatever they were doing was not gong to work but they could work in the factory and make cogs and there was no gamble. It was easier.
And they were right. It was easier to just go work for someone else. Let them take care of the sales and marketing and making sure the lights stayed on.
Now, here is where my theory has a a brush with Maslow.
I think that people have an innate need to be all that they can be. That’s why it is such a great slogan for the Army. I don’t say that with any sarcasm. It is.
Back in the day, centuries ago, we had to rely on ourselves and our families to make something work. We had to come up with an idea and develop it and find a way to market it.
Even if we had a farm and supplied our own food and lived by candlelight and made our own clothes, we still had to pay taxes… which meant that we had to sell something of ours to get the money. Maybe a cow or a few chicken. Or maybe something throughout the year like eggs and milk.
So, even if we were completely self-sufficient, we needed to make a little money for taxes.
Don’t get me started on taxes. I’m a Libertarian.
So, back in the day, we took care of ourselves. Our effort had a direct impact on our livelihood and lives. We had a lot to do. We were busy but in a good way. Our brains were active.
When we started to leave our personal projects and start working on someone elses personal projects, we started to be less than we can be.
The slippery slope. Not only did we start being less than we could be… we slowly began to forget how much we were and could be again.
On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the bottom two tiers are physical needs.
Bottom tier is physiological, meaning air and water and food, shelter, clothing and sex… of course only for reproduction…
The next tier up is safety needs, which includes personal security, health, property… and now has come to include employment.
It is my contention that that second level has only COME to include employment. I think in a more healthy and natural state, it would have been more like ‘occupation’… as in something to do. A project. Something to work on that is bigger than ourselves.
And again, companies need workers. They need people to flip switches and watch the line.
That’s what THEY need. It’s not what we need.
While many people are becoming very stressed about the automation of businesses because they feel unemployment will go up, I feel differently.
I think this is a great time to reclaim our lives.
It’s my belief that we are at a point in our history, our evolution… our cultural evolution, that many of us are trapped in those first two… bottom tiers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We are working for someone else, and so therefore our efforts are not a direct correlation to our lives anymore.
It’s a circle. We work, get a paycheck, go home… maybe do something of interest, but likely not, and then go to work.
And then, we buy some stuff… but as we are working for someone else and are not completely involved in whatever it is… we never see beyond those first two tiers.
And we are therefore, by definition, not being all we can be.
I’m glad to see automation in factories. It means we are going to have to start thinking again and living at 100%.
Bringing this back to cottage industry, I think we are moving into another era. We will still have large companies making stuff at scale… but we, individuals, will be employed in fewer and fewer numbers by them.
We will become more self-sufficient. We will come up with an idea and create and brand and market and maybe fail and then come up with another idea. We will collaborate with a few other people.
We’ve been slowly indoctrinated to believe that our ideas are not as good as the companies we see all around us. Coke, Microsoft, Amazon, Perkins.
And… that we are here to keep those businesses going.
But our ideas are as good. Often better. And needed.
There is no reason to think that your idea is not as good and marketable as anything else out there.
AND… it has the added benefit of encouraging us.. motivating us/… inspiring us… maybe demanding… that we live at 100%. That we become all that we can be.
I’m embracing this age of technology and automation because it will cause us to be more as individuals. I think this is a new age of the cottage industry. More of us will be creating and thinking and developing… and more than a few of us are going to come up with something that will affect so many people in amazing ways.
The cell phone, desktop computer… drop shipping for convenience. All these life changing devices or services and countless others were the idea of one person or small group of people who got together and gave it 100%.
That’s what we are designed for. To live at 100%. To live the full range of the hierarchy of needs. And it’s my opinion that creating something, perhaps a side hustle, something where we can express ourselves and have a direct impact on our lives and livelihood, is where we must be going. To be more self-sufficient.
I believe that is the key, the path to our happiness.
I’m gonna go into that more next week. I think it is worthy of an episode of its own.
Till then, have a great day, a great week, it’s al up to you and I hope that if you are employed by someone else, that you are giving some thought as to how you can be all you can be and live life at 100%.
Bye for now.