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Working for what you are worth?

Author: Mark West

Since around age 8, I was “into” business.  My first was mowing the lawn for neighbors.  Most would say this is not unusual, and the mere fact is not, but the way in which I did it was

First, I took out a loan from my parents to buy the lawnmower, agreeing on repayment terms and everything like many businesses do today.  Then I did what I thought was natural, but drove my father crazy…I sent invoices to the neighbors.  Yes, nicely typed and formatted, complete with due dates and such.  I remember my father telling me in no uncertain terms…you do NOT send bills to the neighbors.

As years went on, and I worked through all experiences listed on my resume today, I, as much of us, struggled with how to negotiate an equitable reward to my hard work. At best, I was offered the usual model...x% of profits on top of a base salary.  Don’t get me wrong.  This was very welcome and I am certainly not complaining, but still I remember thinking there has got to be a better way.

Time and time again I would investigate different entrepreneur opportunities, intrigued with the notion that I could now make the money for myself and not just for “the company.”  I continue to prescribe to the notion that entrepreneurship is great.  If you think about it, many of the great products we use today are due to entrepreneurship.  But, entrepreneurship has many more challenges and often takes many more talents that you and I have honed through years of tenure at major corporations.

So what to fill this chasm?  How do I find the reward of my hard work, without starting my own business?   After all, there must be a need for me at one of the nearly 1 million companies in the US alone?  How can I show my talent, my experience and get the opportunity while not starting in an entry-level position at the age of 48?  Enter the idea of talentism.  A concept, I think many of us have in some form already considered.  Effectively put, talentism is working for a fair share of the rewards, versus for a regular paycheck.  Now before everyone runs into the boss demanding to renegotiate, consider that talentism has its downside along with its benefits.  Under talentism, even if you work on a project that reaps a large reward, if, for whatever reason it took way too long to accomplish, then your reward on an hourly basis, may be pretty much the same as your regular wage.

With that said, talentism is an entirely new opportunity for those that want a little more, but aren’t considering the full entrepreneurship.  Maybe you are an executive between assignments, or someone that after years in an industry is to the point where you are not even looking for a full-time or regular assignment, but still has the desire to contribute, talentism may be for you.

INNOVO, is one such opportunity allowing executives from various industries and markets to use their skills in order to achieve much more together with the companies, entrepreneurs and innovators that are looking for their talents on the Network.

Just as entrepreneurship entered a growth spurt in the 80s, with the various economies in their various states and industries looking to be innovative in everything they do, I could see talentism actually become very common place in the future.  Is it the end of capitalism as we know it?  Not sure, but certainly an opportunity for both companies and individuals.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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