Today at the gym I briefly scanned a news magazine and came across some very different articles. The first was about people who have started to call themselves the Digital Bohemian – freelancers and project workers in the digital media world. The article was fairly enthusiastic. I don’t have any personal experience what life as a Digital Bohemian is like. However, if you read this article you would like to become one as soon as possible: They deliberately chose not to have a permanent employment and are perfectly happy with the freedom their freelance and project work gives them. The article gave the impression as if the Digital Bohemian would spend most of their time in cafes sipping their latte macchiato while posting something on their blogs via their wireless LAN notebook. And the best thing – they make money with that.
Don’t take me wrong. I don’t doubt that this is possible. Nevertheless – the next article had something like a similar message.
Let’s take a moment to think about what would happen when more people took this idea seriously. It reminds me to the good old days when the New Economy-dot.com-bubble was still growing. Suddenly there was talk in the media about all those freelance marketplaces where you could make your living with all the freedom of self-employment (remember ants.com?) And there was even more talk about those dot.com-millionaires who had quit their job for a more or less weird business idea. How many people had left their jobs because they thought everybody can make it? And how many of them are back to permanent employment by now?
Again, I don’t oppose all this. I think this is an interesting time with great new developments coming up. There are completely new opportunities for those of us who are smart enough to do the right things at the right time (and have a bit of luck). However, I am afraid that these great opportunities and the appealing style of life will also attract many of those people who don’t see the hard work behind that. To market oneself and one’s services is not as easy as one may think. It is definitely more than writing a blog at day and playing poker at night. So I think we should be prepared to see quite a proportion of the new Digital Bohemians end in failure, just as many of their predecessors in the New Economy freelancer era did.