Free Agents: A Breed Apart

Free Agent: Simply Irresistable

Some 10 years into his homebased writing gig, Lloyd Lemons fancies himself a soloist. It's not just the catchy name or how it fits the way he works, says the business and marketing writer, who lives in Plano, Texas. It's the way it fits that intersection between his lifestyle and work style.

For people like Lemons, father of two sons in their 20s, the need for independence is often too great-even in the face of attractive job offers. Lemons left homebased self-employment twice in the past 20 years for a total five years-earning double his homebased income in one job and triple in another-yet the call of independence eventually lured him back home.

"My whole kick is freedom," explains Lemons, who today makes more than either job paid him. "I've had corporate jobs I couldn't stand. I've sacrificed a lot to be a free agent. What I do is part of who I am." Even for those who work in corporate America, the free agent mindset will take hold, predicts Terri Lonier, president of Working Solo Inc., a San Francisco consulting firm that targets independent workers and the companies that market to them.

Couple Generation Ys with older, former-corporate denizens who will take their own corporate know-how home to work, and the result will be a community of computer- and business-savvy entrepreneurs.

Even those who return to corporate America will do so with knowledge and experience that only comes from having done it themselves. "In the future, there will only be two kinds of individuals: those who are entrepreneurs, and those who have to think like entrepreneurs," says Lonier. "As independents come back into the corporate structure, they're bringing an enlightened awareness of bottom lines, P&L and ROI."

What ultimately defines the free agent? Pink concurs with Lemons that freedom has a lot to do with it. But there's also authenticity, accountability and self-defined success. It flows from technology, from people who no longer wish to be corporate chattel and from the desire to be the driver, not the driven.

"Today, charting your own course isn't just more necessary than ever before," says Pink, "it's also much easier-and much more fun."

Journalist and author has worked from home since the 1980s. He writes about home business, teleworking, marketing, communications and other SOHO issues.

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