Free Agent Realities

Jul 19


Paul Bednar

Paul Bednar

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Free Agent ... 2002 Paul ... you jump into the free agent arena, it doesn't take long tofigure out a new set of rules and ... exist. Those whoknow and embrace these new


Free Agent Realities
Copyright 2002 Paul Bednar

When you jump into the free agent arena,Free Agent Realities Articles it doesn't take long to
figure out a new set of rules and expectations exist. Those who
know and embrace these new realities thrive. Those who are
either not aware or ignore them fail.

Here is a list of 5 realities that are critical to the success of
any free agent.

1. A different skill set is required

No longer is it enough to only know your area of expertise.
That's for employees. As a free agent, you need something
different. You need a new skill set that has both technical
expertise and the knowledge to run a business. Most people do
not have any trouble with the expertise aspect but have
significant difficulties with the business functions. Some of
the necessary business skills are:

* Marketing

* Writing proposals

* Giving effective presentations

* Managing finances

* Adhering to various state and federal rules and laws

You have to be committed to continuously learning a lot of
information and comprehending it within a short period of time.
If you would rather have a company to look after you and provide
structure, you should stick to your current job.

2. Cash flow is the name of the game

This is the most important component of being a free agent. Cash
flow refers to the amount of money that "flows" through your
business. It replaces your paycheck. The first part of cash
flow is the "cash" or the money you receive from clients for work
you perform. If you do not have any clients, you will not
receive any money. If you do not receive any money, you will not
be able to pay your bills.

Next is the "flow" aspect. If your monthly bills are more than
your monthly income, you have a negative cash flow. If your
monthly income is more than your monthly bills, you have a
positive cash flow.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the length
of your free agent career depends on whether you have more months
of positive cash flow instead of negative cash flow.

3. Your reputation is vital

As an independent worker, you no longer have the financial might
of your employer or their marketplace creditability as support.
When you were an employee and would mention your company's name
at a family or social gathering, people were "impressed" because
it was something they could relate to. Also, you could feed off
your company's reputation. Unfortunately, people are easily
impressed with job titles and big buildings.

Now, your reputation is your meal ticket. Everything you do
impacts it. Always keep this in mind. Some clients will hire
you solely because of your reputation. Your free agent career
lives and dies by it.

4. Peer relationships change

When you get together with your former colleagues for the first
time since becoming a free agent, you will notice a remarkable
difference. Your former colleagues will still be focused on
their job while you are focused on marketing, writing proposals,
meeting with potential clients, and oh yeah, doing actual work
for which you'll get paid.

During your discussion, do not ask your former colleagues for
advice about being a free agent. They don't know what you are
going through, how much progress you've made, and cannot
comprehend your new responsibilities. Most of these people will
never understand. Don't take it personally. Accept it now and
save yourself the frustration.

The issue is not that you don't value their opinion. It is that
your former colleagues aren't knowledgeable about the issues you
now encounter. For example, do you take your automobile for
repairs to the dentist? Of course you don't!

Develop a network of other free agents. These people do
understand your issues and can provide fantastic guidance.

5. Initiate all contact

As an employee, a certain structure was provided, mainly an
office and a paycheck. However, the most important and not often
talked about structure was a means of regular conversation with
other people. Being a free agent has the potential to be very
lonely and can be isolating especially if you work out of your
home. It is possible that the mailman or UPS driver is the only
person you'll talk to during the day. This lack of human
interaction can cause your productivity to nosedive in addition
to being very lonely.

Make sure you stay connected with the world. Go to lunch with
former co-workers. Call up friends and keep up your network. Be
sure to have at least one conversation with a human every day.
However, you have to initiate the contact, it doesn't come to you
like when you were an employee.