Free Agent Nation, Here I Come!
These days, when you hang out your shingle and go into business for yourself, increasingly you are doing so in a virtual way. If you haven’t noticed, there is an accelerating trend of “free agency;” the notion that we are plying our trade in an entirely new context and moving from project to project like digital bedouins.
When you’re working a full time job for an employer, a concept like “free agency” can both inspire you and scare the bejeezers out of you – often at the same time. After reading Daniel Pink’s “Free Agent Nation” I realized that there are so many compelling reasons to test the waters, and to do it sooner than later to see if I have what it takes.
The big challenge right out of the gate is answering this question: “What do I have to offer?” Or more specifically, “What do I have to offer that people are willing to pay me for?” And then of course, you also have to ask the question, “Can I earn enough to live on?”
The answer to the first question was tougher than I thought. There are things that I do well: business writing, strategic planning, project management, team leadership, marketing strategy, and many other things. In fact, that starts to look like a “Jack of all trades” as I type it out. Much of that work only “works” when you are part of an organization, from the inside looking in as it were. So in order to make a living with these skills, it is essential that you can also offer context for practical application of these skills.
Here’s my top five list, in no particular order, of the value that I believe I can offer to an organization that needs help in these areas:
1. Developing marketing and awareness communication strategies for special projects and initiatives.
2. Assessing an organization’s readiness for change, and providing guidance for change management projects.
3. Specialized writing in support of corporate programs, public policy and employee/associate engagement.
4. Training on teamwork, time management, supervisory skills, project management, goal setting and staff development.
5. Solving business challenges through the targeted use of technology, including productivity software, social media/Web 2.0 resources and project management tools.