The truth, whether this is good or bad, is that each of our skills have an economic value tied to them. In a world that is scarce, and a system that capitalizes on scarcity (capitalism), each of our skillsets has a dollar amount tied to it. I believe we all have inherent true value, but in our U.S. society, it doesn’t count towards anything. 


Thankfully, your skillset’s value is subjective and is always changing. 


I say thankfully because we’re not trapped with the skillsets we have. When I say skillset, it could mean marketing, writing, photography, graphic design, creative ideas, networking, diplomacy, etc. Also I include the subset of skills and also the different specializations of skills, like product photography vs portrait, direct marketing writing vs blog writing etc. These things are a privilege because it’s essentially education, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go to college or university to leverage skills you learn on your own. This is something we control. My parents immigrated to the U.S with only $200 with them so I’ve grown up focused on what I can control versus what I can’t. 


For example, when you’re a small business owner, it’s not just you. It’s you, the market, your clients,  and the supply and demand of your skill. Each and every skill has a monetary value tied to it and year to year it fluctuates. The skills you can only get through licenses and schooling like being a doctor or lawyer stay pretty consistent, but things like writing, graphic design, photography, marketing, business have drastically changed in value within the last decade because of how globally connected our world is. 


Whether this is good or bad, there are entire agencies made up of cheaper labor in poorer countries that can handle an organization’s everyday operations. As things become globally connected, value radically shifts. We don’t even need to look at other countries, we can look at the U.S. If you’re a designer, you’re now not only competing locally, you’re competing with designers in New York, the midwest, the west coast. Instead of maybe the 5 designers in your town, you’re now competing with 5,000 in the U.S.


Obviously, there are other aspects to being a freelancer that doesn’t just rely on your skill, there’s communication, consistency, your work history and how well you work with a client or a team. Those are pretty invaluable as the skill becomes more attainable by work bases that are cheaper. 


There is also the huge shift in AI taking up much of the marketing, writing, and business administration aspects. Anything you can automate can be made cheaper. 


The few aspects you can manage to keep working or get work in your field: 

  1. Be in the top 1% talented of your skillset. This is obviously the hardest one to achieve, but it’s also the best way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the other people and agencies. If you’re seen as one of the best in the industry, you can ask for what you want, how you want it, and have unlimited time. Example: The actor Tom Cruise is a great example of this. He’s been in so many successful blockbusters, if he wants to hang on to the side of a plane while it takes off and get a shot of him doing it, the studio will pay for it. If he wants to go to space and shoot a scene (yes literal space, and yes they’re doing it with SpaceX for the next Mission Impossible) the studio will also pay for it. He’s in the top 1% of wanted talent. 
  2. Specialize in a specific type of your skill. Maybe you are a writer, but within the writing market, the only one that provides good pay is financial writing. Well you will have to decide and say, is this what I want to do? How can I be the best at least in financial writing? Niche down your skillset. Example: The first job I ever worked at was in a machine shop that made shot timers for guns. A device that measured projectile speed. I was like 14. They said that there’s one other competitor for this job. We were essentially in the top 1% of making shot timers out of sheer lack of competition. That’s a pretty specific niche.
  3. Add complementing skills. This is probably the best value in terms of leveraging your time. Typically one skill isn’t enough so if you can add another skill that complements it, you will be golden. Typically the intersection of your skillsets is where you will find differentiation and will make it easier to be in the top 1% talent of those combined skills. A really easy example of this would be learning another language. If you’re proficient at the language, you can easily market yourself to multiple cultures. Example: If you know how to do photography, adding a graphic design skill set will greatly increase your chances of offering more visual packages. Now you can do the photography and the design that needs to be on it for the ad. Think about another skill you can add and learn how to be proficient with it.
  4. And if all else fails, be kind, show up and work hard. I know so many people who are successful because they’ve done those three things. You’re already beating out the majority of people. And when I mean be kind, be incredibly kind, the kindest person someone has ever met. When I mean show up, I mean show up to everything, be there, even if it feels like a waste of time or it feels like it’s small. And when I say work hard, you get the point.

These three things means you’re trustworthy. It’s hard to find people like that these days. 


“All I ask is one thing, and I’m asking this particularly of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least favorite quality — it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen.” – Conan O’Brien (link:


Out of these three things below, your skill needs to be two out of the three: 


I can do my skill fast 

I can do my skill well

I can do my skill cheap 


What skills do you have and what’s the monetary value tied to it? Is it going to increase or decrease in the future? What new technology, industries or trends will either increase or decrease the value of your skills organically?