In this week’s article, two luminaries from the direct sales industry and frequent contributors to The World of Direct Selling captured a conversation related to a topic that is top-of-mind for so many of us: The Gig Economy. Alan Luce, Co-Founder of Strategic Choice Partners, sits with John Fleming to discuss his most recent work, a new book titled “Ultimate Gig”. Enjoy this exclusive interview, and be sure check out both the book and the mentioned online resources to learn more.
Alan Luce: John Fleming has been one of direct selling’s most consistent and strongest advocates over a great many years. The March issue of Direct Selling News lists John as a “Direct Selling Legend”. Most importantly, John is a personal friend, and I have had the pleasure of being a contributor to his most recent work: Ultimate Gig, published by Emerald Publishing, U.K., which is being released March 25, 2021. The book will be available via Amazon U.K., Amazon U.S., and the Emerald Publishing Bookstore. Ultimate Gig is the most recent, in-depth look at the gig economy’s incredible growth and appeal in mature markets throughout the world.
John, thank you for joining me for this interview. My key questions are: What does the book say about the role direct selling/network marketing plays in the broader gig economy phenomenon? And, what motivated you to do the study, research and writing that goes into publishing a book with a major global publisher?
John Fleming: Alan, first of all, I wish to thank you and Hakki Ozmorali for the opportunity to share thoughts with this audience.
I became motivated to embrace this work because I have been involved directly and indirectly for quite some time. When executed well, there is no other business model quite like direct selling.
People from all walks of life can participate in a channel of distribution in which all of the stakeholders win. The customer receives excellent products and services and also benefits from the intermediary – the direct seller, adding personal experiences to the marketing and promotion of the products or services. The direct sellers benefit from an income-earning opportunity based upon customer acquisition, retention, and sharing with others how they too can become direct sellers and benefit from doing what I just described. The provider of the opportunity to be part of the channel of distribution – the direct selling company, benefits by being able to build a brand based upon the personal experiences of those who engage the brand.
Alan: John, tell us more about what motivated you to do this work and what we can expect.
John: I created the Ultimate Gig Project and embraced the work required to write the book because I observed the gig economy exploding throughout mature markets all over the world while the direct selling model, overall, had been experiencing a flat to shrinking year-over-year growth rate since 2015.
Technology changed the game. We are evolving from the industrial economy model to a digital economy where more can be accomplished with less. Complexity is being reduced to simplicity. The gig economy has explored and executed upon the preceding faster and very effectively!
We have more choices in terms of how work can be done efficiently. The gig economy is showing us how “underutilized assets” and “underutilized time” can be converted into income-earning opportunities. Micro-enterprise opportunities and opportunities associated with being an independent contractor have never been greater, and I wanted to tell a story that needed to be told.
Overall, the direct selling model has not kept pace with the growth and utilization of digital platforms in a new digital economy. However, the direct selling model is quickly catching up. The unique attributes of the model will become even stronger than ever before.
Ultimate Gig is inclusive of the role direct selling plays. We interviewed four C-level executives who are leading a phenomenal transformation within their companies. However, the book is about much more. The book is about the future, the changing definition of the word “work,” the importance of flexibility and freedom in how work can be done, inclusive of when and where the work is done, plus more. The gig economy is unleashing uncommon freedoms relative to work opportunities, and direct selling companies will certainly play a growing and even more significant role from my perspective!
Regardless of how one may be participating in any form of microenterprise, I truly believe the book will add value to their thinking about their goals and objectives. The reader will learn a lot about the gig economy. As an adjunct to the book, we also created and are sharing five digital assets — our Ultimate Gig Resources — that we developed during our study and research. It’s hard to believe, but we have been working on the Ultimate Gig Project for approximately three years. Ultimate Gig Resources, via a one-time subscription, is now available through our website.
Alan: I recommend the book as a must-read for all of us who have embraced the direct selling/network marketing channel of distribution. The resources you created for the one-time subscription are also fascinating and valuable. Most authors do not share their assets in this manner.
As we continue our march into the future, the labels will not mean as much as what we do with our models and how we position our models to be considered the ultimate form of gig work. John is quick to remind us that his work is not about direct selling; it is about the gig economy. However, he is also quick to remind us that the direct selling channel of distribution had to be included in a significant manner because it is probably the original form of gig work.
Thank you, John, for your time and for providing this message for world of direct selling.
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