You are the New Economy: Meaning, Experience, and Connection as Commerce in the 21st Century

To make it really work, we might need a new indie economics (of creativity and innovation), plus a new indie set of political policies.
– Bruce Nussbaum, Fast Company Design

I’m nailing my theses to the NYSE door. This is economic Reformation.

What is the New Economy?

What Nussbaum terms “indie economics,” I call “you-centered economics.”

You are not used to being at the center of the economy. You have not been the linchpin of economic growth. You have been a mere cog in the machine. You were a commodity to be traded.

You are becoming the heart & soul of a new engine of economic growth. You are influencing giant corporations through your words & actions. You are forming microbusinesses and taking earning into your own hands. You are less dependent on “the system” and more dependent on your community.

But “you” doesn’t just mean you. You is also “the other.”

When you make business decisions, you not only think of “me,” you consider the “we.” It’s not enough to make a business decision for your own singular benefit, you make business decisions that serve others as well.

You understand that a business is nothing if it doesn’t serve a greater good. All business is social entrepreneurship, to you. All business has an obligation to create a legacy of sustainability, creativity, innovation, and service.

Businesses serve people. People do not serve businesses.

Global is the new local.

Indie economy is local. They are small scale. They are built on relationships, trust, and mutual appreciation. They find power in the individual and growth in the community.

Indie economy is global. Communities are no longer limited to location. Convenience is no longer defined by how quickly you can get there in your car. Accessibility is no longer constricted by long-distance phone calls and postage stamps.

Businesses operating in the You-centered Economy realize that community is connected through values, purpose, and affinity. What we have in common is more important than where we live. The internet is a tool for intimacy and connection not a weapon of anonymity.

Local economies have gone global. Global economies are local.

Are you a member of the Entrepreneurial Generation?

Today’s ideal social form is not the commune or the movement or even the individual creator as such; it’s the small business. Every artistic or moral aspiration — music, food, good works, what have you — is expressed in those terms.
– William Deresiewicz, New York Times

This generation – defined again by affinity and not by year of birth – is attracted to small business as our chief medium of expression. Entrepreneurship is a manifestation of the commerce culture we grew up in, heightened by an ever-increasing accessibility to the engines of that commerce.

Entrepreneurs are not just salesmen. We see entrepreneurs as innovators (bringing us one step closer to the realm of science fiction), beacons of hope (business brings change – for good or bad), and a key check in a system that is increasingly without checks.

By becoming entrepreneurs, we’re inserting ourselves in a system that we don’t fully understand – because we crave the connection. We crave the understanding. We crave a different way.

It’s not that we hate consumption – it’s that we hate what consumption looks like now. It’s not that we hate big business – it’s that we hate what big business looks like now.

The Entrepreneurial Generation is one that still has hope – despite college loan debt and a poor economy. We have hope that we are a part of the change.

Entrepreneurs are artists, reformers, saints, and scientists. We are innovators, communicators, leaders, and visionaries. We are attracted to business not because it is business but because of what business allows us to accomplish, how it allows us to express ourselves. Click to tweet it!

It’s the fierce ideals & vision of this kind of entrepreneur – paired with infinite accessibility to communication – that are propelling her & her generation towards affluence.

The bellwethers of a New Economy entrepreneur…

New Economy entrepreneurs are always looking for the triple bottom line: profit, people, planet. They believe individualism can coexist with collectivism. That sustainability can coexist with growth.

New Economy entrepreneurs value themselves and the work that they do. They are so over the romantic notion of the starving artist. They set prices and work in business models that reflect a desire for quality over quantity. They understand just how special their product or service is in the lives of those they serve.

New Economy entrepreneurs seek purpose & meaning in everything they do. Instead of asking themselves “What?” they ask “Why?” Instead of seeking to fill a need, they seek to create an experience.

New Economy entrepreneurs pursue mistakes. Why play it safe when you can challenge yourself? Why default to status quo when you can invent a new standard?

New Economy entrepreneurs are more interested in what they don’t know than what they do. Business is a learning opportunity. Customer service is an education. Sales is scholarship.

New Economy entrepreneurs embrace the quirks of a niche. They’re not in the people-pleasing business. They’re in the right-people-pleasing business. They don’t walk on the eggshells of the mass market. They look for ways to crack all the right eggs. They invite others to crack eggs with them. Mostly from free-range chickens.

New Economy entrepreneurs understand that there are infinite choices. There is no such thing as competition in the New Economy, only opportunities for differentiation.

Towards a Connected Economy

Why now? The sense of disconnection has reached a boiling point.

The average consumer is tired of being thought of as a wallet to be put to use by government policy, big business, and corporate fat cats. It’s a system based on disconnecting us from our humanity.

We crave the connection – with ourselves and with each other. We crave control. But, ultimately, we crave our divine creative power.

As we reconnect with our creative power – as artists, makers, developers, writers, philosophers, designers… – we have discovered the need for critical selling. Critical selling is the process by which we examine our output in the marketplace. It connects our humanity with others. And it does so in the universal language of our times: money.

This is the You-Centered Economy. This is the commerce of connection, meaning, and experience. This is how you & I do business. Click to tweet it!

Continue the conversation...

33 comments on “You are the New Economy: Meaning, Experience, and Connection as Commerce in the 21st Century

  1. Kim says:

    Amen!

  2. Brandy says:

    I’m intensely grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of this. So well said!

  3. Joanne says:

    Encouraging words, thank you. It has been fun to see your website and personal photos evolve visually with your own philosophy and community,Tara. One note–We should give Bill McDonough credit for giving us “the triple bottom line: profit, people, planet.” in his visionary work of the 90″s!

  4. Right on Tara! I have been feeling this change for the past few years and you have described it so eloquently.

  5. Alison says:

    I love “Global is the new local”

  6. Right on, sister! This is the new economy – and as unfortunate a turn of events it has been for some, I find it more authentic and empowering now that the usual barriers to entry are crumbling! It is what we decide to make it, and we can finally toot our own horns without paying for it, or asking for permission.

  7. Mel says:

    Really well said! Thanks for sharing Tara!

  8. LOVE this! So well stated. You got it!

    -Kristen

  9. Leah says:

    I love that things like yoga and teaching are part of our economy – I teach stretching and a beginner yoga class, so while I don’t make the majority of my living from new economy stuff {yet} I’m very grateful to have meaningful work supplementing my income and hopefully, someday, replacing my “day job” income.

  10. Lori says:

    Love this, Tara. What a simple, but powerful thought: Global is the new local. I will remember this as I connect with my divine creative power and move forward.

  11. Leo Garcia says:

    These ideas are inspiring me to reassess the current business model. I feel evolution in the making!

  12. Roanne B says:

    I had the realization of my “You-centered economy” almost 3 years ago when I was told (3 months after closing on my first mortgage) that I was not going to get my promised promotion and not even a salary raise. About 4 months after that, and a bout of illness, I decided that I needed to make my own raise because I’ll be darned if I let some ‘company’ set boundaries to MY life.

    Since then, I’ve started my handmade business and have added the title of Independent Chocolatier to my name. It’s been really challenging because in the midst of that, I’ve been dealing with my health, taking college courses and my grandma’s illness and death inbetween.

    But I thank God for the people he’s put in my life, the lesson’s they’ve taught me and that I had my realization 4 months and not 4 years after I was told I wasn’t getting my promotion. PS – still waiting on that promotion, but not staying still in the process.

    :-)Sorry for writing a whole article.

  13. you got my mind working hard, been thinking about this kind of thing FOREVER especially as it relates to changing the world/service/global warming, thanks for the brain food

  14. Preach it! Loved this article. Here’s a glimpse into my journey starting a neighborhood grocery in Salon.com > http://cl.ly/CPrY

  15. WOW Tara! This post is on fire and embodies all my thoughts & feelings about business – big/small, corporate/indie new/old… What an intense manifesto for us to ride into 2012. Thanks for such encouraging words and painting such a vivid picture!

  16. Kathy Yutzy says:

    love the article, and I love your new photos! Shows you can have fun, even tho working hard; and this journey is supposed to be enjoyable. Learning is fun, and exciting!

  17. Good lord that was inspiring and igniting… and very insightful. Rock on Tara!

  18. I very much appreciate your thoughts, Tara! Good motivation. Have you heard of Slow Money? I think you might find it interesting relative to ideas about a new economy, local economies and the global community. Check it out: http://www.slowmoney.org

  19. Tamisha says:

    Tara – I love the way you articulate your thoughts. This is so clear, so real, and so true. You never hold back and you always let us know “what it is.” My favorite part was about being more dependent on community than the system. PS – this sure would be fantastic book material!

  20. Holly says:

    Yes! Global IS the new local! You have such a great way with words.

  21. I love the new economy. I feel overwhelmed on how to make money from my dream and crafts.

  22. Alex Ramirez says:

    We are designed with the need for connection. For far too long we have allowed the “elite” to determine the value of our passion and creativity. We as human beings have far more in common than we have in differences. We all have the need for acceptance and value. Thank you Tara, for your boldness inspires many of us!

  23. Preach it Tara. Can I get an amen?

    xo & buckets of belief in you,

    Carmen

  24. Absolutely, count me in and let’s roar forever more.

  25. jami says:

    Tara,

    Love this post! I will be forwarding it on to my Local First! organization so that they may pass it along. :) If you are going to be at #WDS 2012, would love to meet up. All my best!

  26. Visma Mesley says:

    Love this! # As we reconnect with our creative power – as artists, makers, developers, writers, philosophers, designers… – we have discovered the need for critical selling. It connects our humanity with others. And it does so in the universal language of our times: money.

  27. Visma Mesley says:

    thanks, just purchased the ” Art of Earning Money”

  28. Laura says:

    Finally. Someone who understands the shift that is happening. This resonate with me on so many levels.