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10 TED Talks Every Freelancer Should Watch

  • By Adela Belin
  • November 25, 2020

Whether you’re a veteran entrepreneur or a recent college graduate brand new to the gig economy, finding sources of inspiration and drive can be challenging to say the least. Nonetheless, this is an essential daily practice critical to curbing burnout and keeping yourself and your business in constant motion towards progress.
TED talks are a great source of fresh ideas with the mission of inspiring change at their core. Check out these ten the next time you feel you need a healthy dose of entrepreneurial wisdom.

1. Zero Equals One: Creating A Business From Nothing

Biomedical engineer Riley Csernica depicts her journey from taking a college class project and developing it into a medical brace device company. In doing so, she simplifies entrepreneurship into a single equation, 0=1, stating that despite not having experience, mentors, network, money, or a product, she had one important enough idea to create a meaningful business.

2. What College Students Need to Know Before Starting a Business

Jan Bednar recounts his story from traveling to the U.S. from the Czech Republic at the age of 17 with the goal of launching his own business as a college entrepreneur. In sharing his story, he offers three key strategies that helped make his endeavor successful. These include finding a problem centered around your hobbies, devising a solution, validating it amongst community members, and bootstrapping when it comes to your finances.

3. Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Be a Certain Age to Start a Business

What is a reasonable age to start a company and pass as a business owner? Whenever you’re ready! In this talk, Becky Mckinnell discusses her journey to starting iBec Creative, a web design, digital marketing, and application development agency at the ripe age of 22. In recounting her path to being featured in Business Week’s Top 24 Entrepreneurs 25 and Under, she underscores a significant life lesson that never left her pocket: It’s never too early to take your dream into your own hands.

4. How to Future-Proof Your Career

In a world where emerging technologies continue to redefine and reshape the workforce, a common question faced by virtually all employees, gig economy and corporate, is how can I take action today to ensure that my career is future-proof? In this session, Dorie Clark, adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and author of Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You and Stand Out, explores the ways to cultivate a “portfolio career” using a variety of case studies of those who have rethought the impossible, leveraged their unique skill sets, and stuck with their passions to adapt to the uncertain world we live in.

5. Jobs of the Future and How We Can Prepare for Them

Emerging technologies are a fundamental component of conversations today whether you’re talking business or general culture. To prepare for what’s ahead, Avinash Meetoo describes enhancing education around science, technology, engineering and math to —what he abbreviates STEMA as opposed to STEM. The goal of this idea? To create more artistic computer scientists that help design and create the visual content that we see today and that continues to grow in prominence including video games and multimedia.
Related: Looking for more learning resources and tools for freelancers? Take a look at these

6. Making Something out of Nothing: Demystifying Entrepreneurship

Marc Golin is the CEO and Founder of Roadie, an app-based shipping community that utilizes excess capacity in passenger vehicles allowing people with items to send to connect with drivers already heading in that particular direction. In this talk, Gorlin makes useful comparisons between being a magician and entrepreneurship. In particular, he highlights the importance of creating an illusion of success before it’s even reality by suspending your own disbeliefs and making others suspend theirs, having curiosity, faith, perseverance, optimism, and the dedication to make constant progress to hone your skills.

7. What They Don’t Tell You About Entrepreneurship

Mark Leruste, founder of the weekly podcast show The Unconventionalists, opens up about what it’s really like to live as an everyday entrepreneur. Despite what social media platforms may portray in an era of Instagram celebrities, idolized YouTube personalities, and the like, it isn’t a lifestyle immune to trials and tribulations. Faced by a society that pressures entrepreneurs to put on a mask that says “everyone should want a job like mine,” Leruste underscores that being vulnerable and transparent about the truth behind starting your own business is what is needed now more than ever.

8. How to Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals

Stephen Duneier, a graduate professor who teaches Decision Analysis and Behavioral Investing in the College of Engineering at the University of California, shares his insights for reaching our most ambitious goals. The good news is that they’re more easily achievable than we think. Why? Because it has less to do with possessing a monumental skill or talent and more to do with how we approach problems and make decisions to solve them. Through offering a variety of examples including his own personal experiences, Duneler explains that through subtle courses of action such as developing habits, removing distractions, and making marginal adjustments to our routines, we can effectively move the needle towards achieving our desired outcomes.

9. Great Leadership Starts with Self-Leadership

An underlying career goal for most people is to be able to learn and develop the skills so that they can ultimately reach a position where they can be tasked with leading others. But, why not start by leading yourself? Lars Sudmann, owner of Sudmann & Company, a consulting and change management network, answers this burning question in a discussion that explores the notion of leadership in Utopia and how we can strive towards being effective self-leaders. Specifically, he calls upon three key strategies that include self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-regulation.

10. The Art of Innovation

Chief Evangelist at Canva, Guy Kawasaki, describes the art of innovation and the ten most important characteristics required for those looking to become better innovators. These include making meaning, that is, creating a tangible change in the world, having a mantra that conveys why your meaning has value, perfecting your pitch so its customized for your audience, thinking to the next curve, and being open-minded with respect to your positioning and branding. In particular, being mindful of changes that will inevitably occur in terms of who exactly your consumer base consists of and how they choose to use your product.

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