How some individuals are consciously curating careers, on their own terms, and paving the way in achieving career fulfilment.

Thanks mostly to technology, but also in part to the cross-generational workforce (Boomers, Gen X, Y and Z), new societal norms and other factors, the modern working environment is in a constant and rapid state of evolution. Whilst some may be feeling a little left behind, others are leveraging this new terrain and curating careers that are driven by a desire to take ownership of a newfound sense of purpose, fulfilment and professional flexibility.

But what does this new terrain look like in reality? What are the upsides and downsides of this new way of working? And how can you tap into this modern career marketplace to enhance your overall well-being?

In case you hadn’t noticed, in recent years there’s been a shift in the makeup of the workforce with a trend towards self-employment (CIPD) and the gig economy – a way of working popularised, amongst others, by Emma Gannon in her book The Multi Hyphen Method: work less, create more, and design a career that works for you.

For many, this way of working is anxiety inducing and shrouded in mystery, however, if we take a closer look at some of the reasons behind these shifts, then we start to notice some interesting insights that calm the nerves and ramp up the excitement.

Shifts in the workforce

In my experience, this shift towards self-employment i.e. freelancing, being a small business owner or an entrepreneur, is driven by a desire to regain control over one’s life. A conscious awakening to the fact that this type of career can provide an outlet for creativity, space for entrepreneurial energy to thrive, a chance to make an impact, to cultivate your purpose and for work-life integration.

Where in the past, self-employment was reserved mostly for men aged 50+ in specific industries such as agriculture and construction (CIPD), we are now seeing younger generations staking their claim. And these individuals are driving the growth of social enterprises, wellbeing businesses, tech start-ups, food & drink innovations, fitness related and product based companies, plus many others.

Benefits of being self-employed

In addition to the professional fulfilment that this growing workforce enjoys, there are a host of holistic and lifestyle benefits that also come with the self-employment territory. As humans, the different pillars of our lives – career, relationships, spirituality, physical and mental health etc. – do not exist in isolation, they are all interdependent and linked. So when you are able to carve out a career that offers remote working, flexible hours, ownership, responsibility and contribution, the positive effects felt in your career inevitably spill out into the other areas of your life, increasing your overall well-being and energy.

This way of working isn’t, however, for everyone and it is by no means a silver bullet for fulfilment and well-being. Every single person has their own unique character and personality and some just simply might not suit this type of professional lifestyle. You may crave security and stability in a way that you can only get from having a regular paycheque from an employer. Or you may love the collaborative team environment of an office that you would miss working on your own (although, arguably, collaboration in the self-employed world is equally as achievable). For those who do make this leap, there are also ongoing and real challenges; financial pressures, difficulties in ‘switching off’ and the competitive landscape, to name but a few.

As we all know however, the best things in life don’t come easy – it takes hard work and persistence to make this lifestyle work but the pay-off can be huge.


There is a half-way option, a happy middle ground for many; the side hustle. Defined as any type of employment or project undertaken on top of a full-time role, in a freelance or volunteer capacity. The side hustle gives people a chance to turn their passion into profit and with a reported 32% rise in side hustlers in the past decade (Forbes) which is contributing £14.4 Billion to the UK economy each year (GoDaddy) this is a legitimate and achievable way of making steps towards positive change in your career. Side hustles aren’t just about profit and creating multiple income streams, for many it is a way to generate variety in their life, to incubate curiosities that can grow into passions and find a newfound sense of meaning.

Side hustles can also be the gateway into full-blown self-employed life and offer the chance for a more measured, risk-averse approach, with real-time feedback, where you can truly tap into the possibility of transitioning your career fully.

The continuum of options

The modern career landscape is an exciting place to be, full of opportunity and it doesn’t need to come with significant risk or personal investment. As you’ve seen in this article, there is a continuum for these alternative ways of working to the normal office based role that starts at a couple of hours a week spent on a side hustle all the way across to being a full-time self-employed business owner. The main message is that you have options, you have a chance to create something special and do something exciting that, if all else fails, would be an exciting adventure that could improve your well-being.

So if you’re feeling disenchanted or disillusioned with your career but you’re at a loss as to how to make changes, take some time to think about what lights you up. What most people do in their 5 pm – 9 pm, rather than their 9 am – 5 pm, is what defines them – how can you make a shift to find more time for you and curate a more fulfilling career?

Do you want to create more fulfilment, flexibility and purpose in your life? Now is the time! Book you free discovery call today