The digital economy is the economy of the hour. According to the World Economic Forum, it encompasses all aspects of the society which includes the way people interact, how the economy is projected, the skills one must possess to get a good job, and how countries manage their political differences. What this means is that, with this emerging economy, there is a huge potential for millennials. More job opportunities are being created, we are witnessing economic growth in different countries, and there is a desire to better the lives of people.
As a millennial, the digital economy can change your life if you utilize it well. Here are five foundational ways you can join the trend and benefit immensely from the new economy in the coming year:
Freelancing is another great way to maximize the benefits of the digital economy. When you freelance, you’re able to work remotely from the comfort of your home or your favorite coffee shop down the road, doing business with clients anywhere in the globe. You can start a freelancing career tomorrow morning if you are equipped with the right skills. All you really need is a website showcasing your portfolio of previous work and a strategy for getting your services in front of clients who need them.
Email marketing is good for that– build a list of companies you’d like to work for and write a custom email explaining your services. Some will respond, and you’ll find your first few clients from among them. It’s crucial that the emails are truly custom– business people can easily identify a cookie-cutter email and they won’t take you very seriously (and may even mark your email as spam). Writing detailed emails for each company will take more time, but it’ll increase your chances of landing clients exponentially.
Learn a digital skill
Cornell University defines digital skills as those which empower one with the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share and create content using information technologies and the internet. Possessing one or more digital skills will make you competitive in this economy as a millennial. With in-demand digital skills, such as data science, photography, UX design, web development, social media management, search engine optimization, and content marketing, you’ll make yourself valuable. One can learn any of these skills for free on digital platforms, such as Youtube, Udemy and Teachable and then proceed to set up a business. The key to achieving the goals is to take a practical, measurable approach.
Start a blog
When blogging started about two decades ago, most of those who blogged then did it for fun and to share their stories with family and friends. Today, blogging is a tool used by individuals, companies, and brands to grow online. This report by Statista indicates that the number of bloggers in the United States alone is set to reach 31.7 million by 2020. To start a blog, you’ll need a domain name and a web hosting platform. You can also consider free blogging platforms such as Medium, LinkedIn Pulse and WordPress. The crucial thing that’ll make or break your blogging career, however, is whether you’re able to produce quality content consistently. To aid you in that, you should draw up a content calendar and use your phone’s reminder feature to prompt you to write when you ought to.
Build an online brand
Having your own online brand will skyrocket your influence in the digital economy. This is because as more businesses sprout online, your brand will help you build a community of loyal followers all over the world that will recognize you as an authority in a specific niche. Your brand is the impression you make and leave on your customers. If you set an intention to make your customers’ lives better, your brand must reflect that. To build a brand online, you need to choose a niche, find your target audience and engage them over time with valuable insights.” Blogs are great for that purpose, but social media works very well too if you’re able to handle it effectively.
Network the right way
Building a network is crucial for present and future success. With the advent of social media, there is no barrier to how you can interact with decision-makers. However, if you want to get it right, you need to network the right way. To do this, you must conduct adequate research about those you want to target, know where they hang out, and reach out to them in a proper way. Otherwise, you won’t achieve much with networking. As a rule of thumb though, it’s good to build some sort of rapport and name recognition via commenting, liking and generally interacting with your target’s posts before reaching out fully. That way, when you eventually reach out, it won’t be a completely cold, out of the blue message, thus increasing your chances of getting a favourable response.
Truth is, the digital economy can be likened to the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800s. Just as the Industrial Revolution changed the processes involved in manufacturing, the digital economy is changing the way we interact with and use data. If you’re a millennial, the five strategies mentioned in this post will help you leverage and make the best of the new economy.
This article was originally published in Entrepreneur Magazine.