The next wave of British exports is in the making.

Here’s some interesting insight that we recently unearthed at PeoplePerHour.

In the past year we saw a doubling in the amount of time UK freelancers sell their services abroad. Doubling! That’s in a time when the UK is struggling to find its new export economy.

Think about this. A nation whose history dates back to colonialism. A nation which pioneered industrialisation and was sitting at the helm of the industrial world not that long ago.

Imperialism gave way to Industrialism, which then gave way to financial services. Whatever that means. And we all know what happened.

But that’s dwindling following the financial meltdown. So politicians, economists and policy makers galore are asking “what next”. (or should be!)

Well, guess what. We are witnessing a blossoming economy for middle class Brits and nobody knows it. Not your Oxford-educated bankers (gosh a Cambridge grad gave Oxford a plug, that’s a first) or Industrialists. No. your average Joe Blogs next door.

The people  driving the freelance economy are just normal people, with average education and skills. For us. And yet they are highly in demand by the emerging economies. They are being hired on PeoplePerHour daily in masses to do their copywriting, their web design, their financial modelling, their illustration work, their video promo production and lots more.

Surprising? I for one don’t think so. Think of this. What’s been the major export driver of Western talent to the East to date? I say its two things. The Western ‘corporation’ for one: the beast that gave rise to management consultants and MBAs. Before we knew it, Harvard MBAs and the firms that nurtured them – the McKinseys, Bains and BCGs of this world  -were exporting Western best practice to the East by the bucket.

Second. Western education. The West is still home to some of the best education you can get. And that’s a competitive grip that’s hard to break. More than the multinationals and factories that are flocking to cheaper labour sources in China. Education is one thing you can’t replicate overnight.

Alas the burgeoning of a new economy. That plugs that very nerve. That utilizes that competitive grip that’s hardest to break. Despite our troubles, Britain, my friend, is home to some of the best educated talent. People who can read, write, crunch numbers, and with taste for something better. We haven’t lost touch. Yet we are having our lunch eaten from within our plate.

What Britain needs is a tool, and a recognition, to boost the export of that so so basic yet so rare commodity. Good people. Good talent.

You know what? We founded that tool. Its called PeoplePerHour. I will repeat my stat here cos I love it. Last year alone, we DOUBLED the amount of earnings Brits reaped from the East. In an economy that’s struggling to grow 1%  I for one find that amazing.  We are exporting good old, home grown, British services via the web. And for all we know, no body really pays attention.

Here’s something to add some gravitas to this. Britain has a workforce of 30 million people . According to National Statistics about 1/3 of them do some kind of freelance work, be it regularly or ad hoc. That’s 10 million people! 1/6th of the population.

But they had not the tools and means to regularize it. Not until PeoplePerHour came along. If all of those people did one hour of freelancing a day – that’s all – one hour. That’s less time than the average spends poking around on Facebook. That would add up to another £60Bn of exports per annum. £60Nb ! That’s an added 4% to the British economy.

So here we are struggling to make 1% and we are sitting on a goldmine. Yet no one actually thinks much of it. Can the government help to unleash that extra 4%? Hell yes. But they have to wake up first.

But it will happen. If history has taught us anything it’s that we cannot defy gravity. I predict that freelance services will be the fourth big wave of British exports. After Imperialism, Industrialism and Financial services.

And it’s beautiful. It goes full circle. It’s people’s – just like you me and the neighbour next door – time and skills. It’s the most basic commodity of all. It’s unsophisticated, ubiquitous, yet invaluable. And it’s free of the corporations that normally control any export commodity. Its free – it flows over the internet. You, I and the neighbour next door are in total control of it.

Could this be why its not getting the push it deserves?

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published.