Did you know that in our current economy 1 in 9 people makes a living selling things?
In the quest to prepare myself for small business entrepreneurship, and researching pathways for developing a creative learning, project-based, online service, I’ve been reading up on what it takes to get entrepreneurial ideas off the ground.
I’m currently reading the book To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, written by Daniel Pink and published in 2014.
The book can be summed up in one simple quote, “like it or not, we’re all in sales.”
Through his research and writing, Pink explores the impact that artisans and small-business entrepreneurs are making in global commence and how technology is facilitating success for millions of people around the world.
“The technologies that were supposed to make sales people obsolete have in fact turned more people into sellers.” he says. “Consider Etsy. An online marketplace for small businesses and crafts people, begun with essentially no outside investment in 2005. Etsy now has more than 875,000 active online shops that together sell upward of $400 million dollars worth of goods and services each year. Before Etsy came along the ability of craft makers and craft buyers to find each other was rather limited.”
Reading this as a budding entrepreneur, I can’t help but feel empowered and excited about the opportunity to make creative contributions to project-based learning and arts education. I see these innovations in technology and connectivity as creative catalysts forging an ideal landscape for young dreamers to start doing, making, producing, launching and nurturing passion projects early in life as a way of learning and growing.
Enter The Future Project, “a non-profit that connects secondary school students who have interesting project ideas to adults who can coach them.” Pink discusses how creative innovation in business is giving way to a sort of “elasticity of experience” that has folks such as Timothy Shriver sporting tiles like Chief Movement Officer of The Future Project. Now Chief Dream Officer, Shriver says “the common thread” in the work that TFP is doing in schools “is activating people to move”.
Currently in New York, DC, New Haven, Detroit, San Francisco, & Newark, the interdisciplinary and versatile arts-education project connects youth in high schools with @DreamDirectors who coach and inspire young project leaders to follow through on completing a project they truly believe in.
This seems to me, a key function of a good education, the intrinsic rewards of learning about yourself and the world around you by producing something of value for yourself and your community.
Project development, by its interdisciplinary nature, exposes learners to a wide variety of 21st century skills that are action-based and result in tangible, meaningfully measurable iterations of the learning process. As a learner creating projects in collaboration with peers, you can chart your own success every step of the way and identify your challenges while seeking solutions to improve upon what you’re building. It is easier to learn and innovate when you have a purpose and mission driving your daily efforts and can rely on a network of peers and coaches to support a successful outcome.
I wonder how long it will take schools across America to adopt project-based learning in place of standardized curricula.
I know many schools are already trying to create the infrastructure to support this blended learning, self-directed, project-based approach. Check out this awesome documentary video of High Tech High, another innovator in 21st century education.
I’m excited to see what comes of the work that young people are doing in both High Tech High and The Future Project venture!
Do you currently have a project in the works?
As Daniel Pink reminds us in his book, “30% of American workers now work on their own” in micro-businesses selling products and services and working daily to figure out how to move others to action.
With sites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, Etsy, and community-based, small-business accelerators like the one I’m currently exploring at EforAll (Entrepreneurship for All), there has never been a better time to experiment with the possibilities of learning by doing and earning income in alignment with one’s personal creative potential.
Let me know what you think of all of this! Leave a comment below and please share links to your current projects!
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