The world never stops changing and those changes often bring new challenges and opportunities. Entrepreneurs and creatives are often well-positioned to spot trends early and so we asked some very sharp and talented folks if there is a shift they see in the world that they think most other people haven’t noticed or taken seriously enough yet? Check out some of our favorite responses below.

Melissa Lycan | Vocalist, Speaker & Educator

I am seeing a huge shift toward the gig economy. Skilled labor and skilled positions are unwilling to work for peanuts when the richest man in the world earns 2 Billion annually. We all have the exact same time in our day. In a society that has traditionally rewarded the ruthless a shift is happening. People are recognizing their own worth! They are not willing to sacrifice time for mediocre pay. They would rather work a few hours for $100/hr than break their back for $15-20. Millennials are starting to walk away from traditional mortgages in search of freedom. Remote gig work that can be performed from the beach or ski slope now allows people a much higher quality of life than ever before. This transition is being felt by every service and retail business in the country. Businesses are short-staffed because no one values retail labor above $20/ hr. This limitation is causing a mass exodus of the Labor Force into business putting a greater pressure on large companies. Until salaries rise from the bottom up instead of top-down we will remain in crisis.

About me: I am the lead singer for Nordic Daughter and we offer customized musical and theatrical performances for every budget.

Stephanie Jensen | Small business owner & mother of two

I believe consumers are becoming more minimalist and mindful & purchasing things that are: 1) meaningful 2) that are long lasting 3) that are unique. 4) eco friendly So if you have, let’s say a boutique…,maybe explore the idea of selling up cycled clothing or items made locally or from a humane place that gives back to the workers etc. There are lots of ways companies can do good for the world, and I think that is a big shift happening.

About me: I am the owner and maker of DI4U Creations. I create handwritten note items and funny tea towels on Etsy as well as a few Brick & mortar shops

Kelly Schexnaildre | Hot Sauce Company

Research indicates strongly that there’s a correlation between consumption of sugar and grains and negative mental health outcomes, yet Americans consume an average of 152 pounds of sugar alone per person per year. 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24 Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 When we consume sugar, our bodies are prompted to release insulin to carry glucose out of the bloodstream and into fat storage. A high insulin-producing diet has a pro-inflammatory effect on the body. When inflammation-promoting environmental stimuli is chronic instead of acute or occurs throughout the body instead of staying confined to the area of an acute injury, the inflammatory response becomes harmful. This is commonly described as chronic inflammation or systemic (system-wide) inflammation. Chronic inflammation wreaks havoc on the brain and is thought to be a major contributor to mental health issues such as depression, as well as Alzheimer’s and dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders. We must stop promoting the Standard American Diet that is high in carbohydrates and sugar. Merfs is leading the change by refusing to use sugar in its products.

About me: I own Merfs Condiments in Denver, Colorado, and we offered a variety of vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free hot sauces and wing sauces that vary in flavor, intensity and heat level. Our products bring joy to mealtime, every time.