Do you know what you naturally do
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?
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
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
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:
http://www.fastcompany.com and http://www.business2.com. 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 http://www.styleworks4u.com 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