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Free Agent (Free Lancer)

Before You Jump into the
Free Agent(Free Lancer) Pool!

Prepare before you plunge!

By Linda Blew Carlson

           A 'free agent' used to be a sports figure or an entertainer whose contract had run out and who was looking for a new one. But with increasing globalization, the change in our economy and the ‘survival mode’ that companies have switched to, a vast number of have entered the free agent arena. Recent books claim we are becoming a ‘Free Agent Nation,’ within a ‘Free Agent Economy.’

           Dan Pink says that people by the thousands each day are fleeing the organization to become "free agents." This person is the independent worker who operates on his or her terms, untethered to a large organization, serving multiple clients and customers instead of a single boss." This is good information. You need to know where you fit in the scheme of things.

           Are you ready to join the millions who have chosen to become free agents? If you have changed your work life, or are planning to do so, and you want more choice in what you do and how you do it, you need to consider two things:

  • How good are you at working with others?

  • Do you know what you naturally do best?

  •            If you can answer these two questions quickly, think about whether these are skills you have learned through experience, education, and training or whether they came naturally.

    Your ‘Hard’ Skills

              Regardless of how you acquired your skills, in today’s fast-paced world of intense competition and instant new-product-rollouts, there isn’t much that you can learn that won’t become obsolete by the time you’ve learned it.

              People aren’t very flexible when they learn a skill. They learn how to do it best and lack the flexibility to adapt when the skill needs to be modified or is no longer required. How do you stay flexible? Identify what you were born to do and you easily adapt to changes!

    Your ‘Soft’ Skills

              Being a successful free agent depends heavily on people skills. Your income depends on your being able to cut directly through the defenses of your clients--people who begin getting inundated with information the minute they get out of bed in the morning.

              Many free agents recognize that going it alone does not mean being alone. A recent issue of Inc. has its cover page devoted to an example of going'solo" and teaming. Newer websites do recognize the need for building teams that share projects and personal support. They talk about the need to get along well with others and make significant contributions to the team. But just getting along with others doesn’t mean you know how to get the best performance from them, or yourself for that matter.

              It is pretty unrealistic to think you will get enough work to support yourself by relying on others to tell someone else how good you are. So brushing up on your people skills is essential.

    Your ‘Business Skills’

              Take inventory of what you can do that is basic and necessary to any business. For example, can you type? Do you know how to file? What about organizing or matching people to projects? There are hundreds of very real and salable skills.

              Working with people will always be needed regardless of rapid changes technology makes in the world around you. Inventory the skills you have before you become a team member or go solo.

    So What Have We Here?

              What we have going today is a growing understanding of the role of the free agent and an expanding amount of information generated by people who are free agents themselves to help us. We have existing groups and new ones forming that share and support us. What is missing?

              Recent research provides answers for the two questions you must answer before you stand a really strong chance of making it as a free agent. It explains how to get others to give willing cooperation consistently and it explains what you have as in-born skills that not only showcase your learned skills but also come to your rescue when you need help.

              It is important that you create and environment for yourself that removes the uncomfortable stress you have felt in organizations and provides the greatest opportunity for your success while being yourself. That means you need to maximize your strengths and minimize your liabilities. It also means that you can capitalize on your natural skills and be able to help others do the same. This new research gives you the ability to do all of this with the insight into forming powerful teams that quickly gain recognition for outstanding performance.


               There are some great resources for you, the prospective free agent. For instance Toni Lonier wants to give free agents the tools they will need to succeed. Barbara Reinhold recognizes the personal fears and gives advice and resources to deal with them. Sara Horowitz has developed a place where free agents can get similar and sometimes better benefits than organizations offer. This takes care of the basics.

              The authors’ books mentioned above, and many others, can be secured at any major library or from most of the major Internet booksellers. A couple of key sites to get information on free agents and business are: and You can get a free trial issue from both these sites; a good deal. Also, as you surf the search engines and directories, you will find many excellent sites and web pages. When you make the jump into the free agent pool - give yourself the very real chance for success!

    Taking The Plunge

              There are two simple steps to take before becoming a free agent. First, I suggest you go to the web site at and get information that will make establishing your free agent status faster and easier. It will give you an opportunity to take some free assessments that will identify what you are naturally good at. This is the starting point.

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    About the author:
    Linda Blew Carlson has been a free agent all her life and is a world renowned expert in making individuals feel as if they are the only person in the room when addressing audiences of thousands. As coauthor of 7 books on communicating through your personal strengths she invites you to ask questions at or visit