The Free Agency Revolution

By: Janet Ilacqua



The Free Agency Revolution

"I am as cool - or uncool - as my project. Period. My projects are my life. My projects are my legacy. Period."
Tom Peters, Author of the Project 50

What is a Free Agent?
Anyone who defines themselves as self-employed, freelancer, temp, home-based businessperson, independent contractor, solo practitioner, and operator of a micro-business (that is, a business employing less than 3) is considered to be a Free Agent. Today, there are approximately 33 million Free Agents across North America, which represents approximately one in every five people in the workforce.
Freelancers vs. independent contractors vs. temp
Quite simply, a freelancer is an independent contractor who earns his or her living by contracting for projects on a project by project basis. A freelancer is not an employee of anyone and so he or she must actively seek out work, negotiate the terms and conditions of the project (the contract) and complete the work to the satisfaction of the client. Once the project is complete, the freelancer seeks out and enters into another contract for another project. A freelancer becomes a microbusiness when they obtain a business license. Independent contractor is a legal term for a freelancer. The importance is that independent contractors are covered by different labors than regular employees. Consultant, often a euphemism for unemployed white-collar worker, is now a common label for independent workers.
Freelancers are not exactly a twenty-first century innovations. Writers, artists, and photographers gave worked this way for decades.

And both the idea of freelancing and the term itself are even older, dating back to the Middle Ages and the bands of Italian and French mercenaries who roamed Europe looking for a war. These so-called free companions would fight for any sovereign and march under any banner if the price is right. When this notion migrated to England, some British subjects began calling these rent-a-knights “free-lances." They weren’t free of charge, just free of loyalty
On the other hand, temporary agencies hire the temporary worker and then sell the worker's services to an employer. So the "temp" worker receives their paycheck from the agency. Typically, employers may offer the temporary worker a permanent job, but terms and conditions apply that usually cost the employer an additional fee. This raises your cost of hire, but it gives both you and the employer an opportunity to "try before you buy" - testing the relationship and the job fit, Temporary workers, since they are employed by the agency, are not independent contractors. There are high-end temps, like 5000-a-day CEOs; however, many temporaries are not so lucky. They work for meager pay and no benefits. Temporary workers, since they have little control over the conditions of their work, tend to be the most dissatisfied member of the workforce. According to one economist’s survey, only 27 percent of temporaries are happy with their present situation. (Sharon R. Conahy,"Workers in Alternative Economy" Monthly Labor Review (October 1, 1996))
Not that long ago, freelancing was something people did mainly in larger metropolitan areas where work for writers, artists, and other creative types was plentiful and easily accessible. Today, however, the freelance landscape has dramatically changed.

For one, you can live practically anywhere in the world and still be able to maintain a successful freelance career. Not to mention that the creative fields are not the only areas where freelancing is popular any more.

Today, accountants, trainers, computer technicians, etc. are all able to earn a living as freelancers. Regardless of the freelancing field you are interested in, there are some important things you should know that will help you get started and get successful. In addition, most importantly, freelancing is no longer considered something that you did when you could not find a real job, but rather as a viable career option. Check the Internet about getting started as a freelancer and also get involved in online forums. Of course, always double-check any information you get. Many unscrupulous people out there will promise you instant freelance success if you buy their products. Just remember that the road to freelance success will never be easy, but takes a lot of hard work and patience. Eventually, if you produce good work and market yourself incessantly, you will, with a bit of luckScience Articles, find yourself on the path to being a successful freelancer.

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