Insights about “makers”

Following up on our blog post from last week, Lauren, Sean, and I have continued our research around “makers” as we wrapped up our 15th interview and continue to immerse ourselves in the data. Through this immersive process, we have been generating themes and building artifacts to help synthesize the interviews into useful information. The goal of all of this is to spark insights – the building block of innovation – which are provocative statements that combine what we know + what we heard to act as a bridge for ideas that will be useful in the problem space.

iterating ideas on how to make money "snowball" when it comes in unpredictably
iterating ideas on how to make money “snowball” when it comes in unpredictably

Insight One

Makers are unknowingly business owners, however they only trust themselves to make and not to manage

After talking to our participants, we began to see the theme that most of the makers operate in the same way as a small business would, except they have failed to recognize as such. They float between the lines of being hired for a gig one day, to hiring helpers for a gig they landed the next. Through this process, they have felt unprepared to fill the role of business owner in the world of taxes and managing workers.

Some see this as a hurdle to their income that is not worth the sacrifice.

“Administrative tasks are just not my bag, you know? I just want to have a thing and make it work, and make it nice.” – Pete

“People that are really successful artist….they are hiring people to make their work for them. I just don’t think that’s something I’m very good at. That also doesn’t allow me this like basic freedom that I really need from my life.” – Nina

Others have noticed the need for a different set of skills, but feel too uneducated in the field to be able to do it properly.

“We weren’t good at like, knowing about taxes. No one sat us down and said you should be putting away this percentage the whole time.” – Becca

Insight Two

Makers use chaos to fuel their creativity, but the consequence is sabotaging their financial well-being

We have already laid out the case that makers have the difficult task of trying to make financial decisions around a highly fluctuating income, but we have noticed a theme that many of the makers would forgo the financial stability to live a life with the freedom of expression they need to foster their creativity.

“Somebody who I had worked with years ago offered me the freelance position, and I thought about it for five minutes and I quit my job…that gave me freedom to decide what I do or what  I can make in the short amount of time I have on this world.” – Jared

“I kind of design this machine to  be very hard on me to help me grow I think…it’s either feast or famine, like I’ll either show up with tacos for everybody or like avoid you phone call….if it was about financial security I could just go get a job like next week.” – Rodney

“Technically I didn’t make a lot of money but I lived a rich life because it’s a life very full of very cool experiences.” – Lindsay

Next steps

In the coming weeks we will be meshing our insights with the rest of the class. As we move forward, we want to push ourselves on the question of why does this matter? By doing this research, what information can we glean that will benefit JUST and help to spur less stress, more joy? With JUST focusing it’s mission on Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs, we are seeing a unique correlation between our research participants and the business owners they help. We are looking for areas to build value around that could help budding entrepreneurs in mental health, the value of their network, better educating themselves in business practices, and financial habits that can help them achieve their goals.