When I was growing up, your direction was pretty much set for you: You go to school, to college, then either straight into a 9 to 5 job or on to further education (which usually brings you out into a 9 to 5 anyway). And like the vast majority, you got it, that is exactly what I did!
From a young age, you're taught conflicting things – you can do/be anything you want, follow your dreams, achieve anything. What you often aren’t taught is the practical ways in which you can achieve it.
Those who were able to step away from the norm were idolised – they were the entrepreneurs, the ‘visionaries’, the inventors, driven by their will to succeed, make money and drive change. To the everyday person, it’s envied but unattainable – 'it's not for me'. It’s a pipe dream. Yet we all have those hobbies, crafts, interests we are passionate about, things we’d love to do more of, but we have consigned them to our spare time or leave the talents to waste away.
Skip forward to today, it’s an entirely different story. We see this well-forged path breaking at the seams. Across the UK there’s a movement of people beginning to rise up, reject the traditional path and take that leap to start something new – to start something for themselves.
The passion economy
Over 5 million of us across the UK are now self-employed, by far the UK’s biggest employer. More people than ever are turning their passion into an opportunity, whether that’s selling something they’ve made in their spare time, or taking the leap and setting up a business of their own.
Lucy, Goods of May
This group isn’t just entrepreneurs – it’s made up of all shapes and sizes, all ages and backgrounds, driven by various motivations. This movement stands together in a common belief: that the current system is broken – there is a better way to earn a living, and what better way than to do more of the things you love. The passion economy is here, and it’s here to stay.
It’s no surprise that the passion economy is booming as historical barriers have been falling all over the place. Imagine you are a craft enthusiast – prior to the boom of online specialised marketplaces, your outlets to sell your wares were pretty limited. Now, it's never been easier. You don’t even need a website, premises, even employees. You no longer need to abandon the short term security of your 9 to 5 to start your business, you can just side-hustle it in your spare time. You are in control.
Another fear has been financial confidence – let’s face it, money and finance has historically been complicated. Full of jargon and needless complexity – it’s been a real turn off for people. And when it comes to business finances, well there’s a reason people would rather pay an accountant than even begin to learn it.
In reality, it doesn’t need to cause fear and anxiety. It can be simple, especially for the passion economy. Their needs are simple: what this movement is craving is a simple, free banking solution that enables them to pay and get paid, control and segregate their finances and set up correctly for tax. It’s what we are passionate about at Mettle.
With the barriers to entry lower than ever, it’s giving people the chance to reassess their priorities in their lives. What was previously a scary prospect now is more achievable than ever and those hard decisions as to whether to move away from ‘business as usual’ now become a real option. So what is it about being part of the passion economy that makes it so attractive?
At Mettle, we recently ran a survey with YouGov looking at the motivations behind this movement. Freedom and flexibility was by far the biggest motivation for people, and it’s no surprise really. There are lots of things the 9 to 5 grind takes from you: a lie in, time with the family. It consigns you to a life of routine. People are starting to see exactly the benefits this movement can have on their lives and are taking back control. They can work around what they want to do, as opposed to working what they want to do around their job.
Helen, London School of Furniture Making
The second biggest motivation was a desire to change their work/life balance. It can be for many reasons: it can be from burnout, fatigue, or it could be as simple as the monotony of the routine. Speaking from personal experience, I have felt all three at some point in my career, it's not pretty.
With the pressure to still be earning a living or wage, it has, up until now, been quite a daunting task to shake it off. Regaining control of your life by setting up a side hustle doing something you love so you only have to work 2-3 days a week (or even at all) – you can see why so many people are jumping onboard.
Embracing the unusual
What I find incredibly sad about this movement up until now is the fact it has been largely overlooked and unnoticed. It’s been a silent revolution that has gripped the nation, largely by word of mouth – someone knowing someone (who knows someone). This movement needs representation and a champion.
Tom, Ministry of Masks
Many traditional players in the finance space still haven’t cottoned on – there is still that common belief that people who go it alone are entrepreneurs, hell bent on growing their business. The products are built around growth, not around the needs of the masses.
It’s time for a bit of fresh energy to be put into banking – it's time for this movement to be supported, and championed – not the big business, but the self-starter. It’s not done through charging horses, or flying sheds. It’s done through showing the nation who the real people in this movement are – the forever growing millions of real people across the UK who are rejecting the same old, same old.
Because business as usual is dead. Embrace the unusual. So come on, Britain. Let’s start something!