5 Common Free Agent Myths

Jul 19


Paul Bednar

Paul Bednar

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5 Common Free Agent ... 2002 Paul ... are numerous myths about free agents. On the surface, ... not to be myths but facts. However, get below the ... these ...


5 Common Free Agent Myths
Copyright 2002 Paul Bednar

There are numerous myths about free agents. On the surface,5 Common Free Agent Myths Articles they
appear not to be myths but facts. However, get below the surface
and these misconceptions quickly crumble. This article will not
attempt to debunk all the myths, just five widespread ones.

Myth 1: Working for a company is more financially secure than
being a free agent

This myth is based on the premise that a company provides
security to its employees via consistent paychecks. Nothing could
be further from the truth. Ask any person who has lost their job
in the current economic climate if working for a company provides
financial security.

While it is true that free agent income can sometimes be
inconsistent, a free agent is able to work for multiple clients

For example, Sally Free Agent is a web developer and currently
has 3 clients. Joe Smith, corporate accountant, works for a
Fortune 500 company.

The current economic conditions impacted Sally last month and one
of her clients had to abandon their project. While this was not
good news for Sally, she still receives income from her 2
remaining clients.

Yesterday, Joe found out his company posted disappointing
quarterly earnings and a layoff was necessary to improve the
company's balance sheet.

Now, let's see who has more financial security. Is it Sally, who
recently lost a client and still has 2 different income sources?
Is it Joe, who lost his only income source?

A free agent that has a diverse client base is always more
financially secure than an employee who only works for one

Myth 2: When you are your own boss, every day is a party

Employees in corporations believe that free agents have a relaxed
work ethic. They envision getting out of bed by 9:00AM, eating
lunch by 2:00PM and then heading to the golf course or spa for
the afternoon. The myth continues the following day as free
agents get up and do it all over again.

The reality is quite the opposite. Free agents typically work
more hours and have more responsibility than their employee
counterparts. Why? Doing the "work" the employee does is only one
task for a free agent. Other items such as marketing one's
services, tracking expenses, and networking are a few of the
additional daily responsibilities incurred by free agents.

Myth 3: Free agents are immune from corporate politics

This myth implies free agents are protected from corporate
politics because they are not employees of their clients.

Actually, free agents are very in tune to corporate politics.
Since each client has their own different political nuances, free
agents are involved with multiple political environments.

Sometimes free agents are brought in as an objective third party
to settle a political dispute. Another example is if the client's
representative that hired the free agent leaves or is reassigned
during the project. These situations require free agents to be
very adept at navigating through different political environments
and circumstances.

One positive aspect is free agents do not have to deal with a
client's politics beyond the project's term.

Corporate politics is a reality whether you are an employee or a
free agent.

Myth 4: All I have to do to succeed as a free agent is just print
some business cards

Any person contemplating free agency that believes the above
statement will be an employee in the very near future. Becoming a
free agent is relatively easy compared to starting a
manufacturing company or most companies from scratch. However,
the disparity ends there.

The pitfalls to free agency are similar to any business: market
yourself to get clients, produce a quality product for a
reasonable price and make a decent profit. Another caveat to
consider is that most companies usually begin with more than one
person. Free agents typically work alone and do all the work,
even the coffee making and photocopying.

Myth 5: Free agents charge too much money

When employees inevitably find out the amount of money a free
agent receives for a particular project, the typical response is
one of jealously, "Why did that free agent get paid so much? I
could have performed that project for less money."

Employees have to remember that a free agent is entirely
responsible for their own benefits and expenses. A small sample
of these issues include taxes, retirement, health insurance,
professional development, office space, vacation, and sick days.
In addition, work (your income) is not guaranteed for 52 weeks a
year like an employee.

Benefits and expenses cost an employer a lot of money. Estimates
fluctuate between 100% - 300% of an employee's salary.

In order to earn the financial equivalent of a particular
employee's salary, a free agent generally needs to have revenues
of at least twice that employee's salary.