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Free Agent Nation: The Future Of Working For Yourself.

BOOK REVIEW: Free Agent Nation: The Future Of Working For Yourself, by Daniel H. Pink

List Price: $14.95 (Available from Amazon for $10.17)
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Business Plus; 1st edition (May 1, 2002)
ISBN-10: 0446678791
ISBN-13: 978-0446678797

Reviewed by Yank Elliott, MBA

Free Agent Nation is an important book with an Amazon.com sales rank of 28,070. Daniel Pink, the author, is a contributing editor at Wired Magazine, where he has written about topics ranging from grassroots solar power to the rise of Wikipedia. He has also written about business, technology, and economics in The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and other publications. He speaks in many places, including CNBC’s “Power Lunch,” ABC’s “World News Tonight,” NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” And as an independent business consultant, he’s advised start-up ventures and Fortune 100 companies on recruiting, business trends, and work practices.

A Free Agent (the term the author uses for someone who is “self employed”) himself, Dan held his last real job in the White House, where he served from 1995 to 1997 as chief speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore. He’s also worked as an aide to U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich, an economic policy staffer in the U.S. Senate, a legal researcher in India, and a latrine builder in Botswana.

He received a B.A. with honors in linguistics from Northwestern University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He is happy to say he has never practiced law.

I’ve picked up several ideas for articles from Daniel Pink’s writings for Fast Company. He stays right on the cutting edge of new technology and new thinking and manages to portray these to the public well ahead of normal media. This book reinforces ideas I’ve had for a long time about getting out of the normal mindless workplace. One of the beginning ideas taught to me in my very first college management course was Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At the time Maslow took sort of a second place to the teachings of Frederick Taylor with his time and motion studies.

Many problems encountered by large corporations right this minute derive from their inability to understand the change in worker attitudes away from Taylorization toward Tailorizing their workplace to their own needs. The US economy has advanced in a monumental way from the conditions existing at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution when Taylor’s ideas prevailed. The basic economic needs at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy have mostly been met giving workers the freedom to pursue fulfilling their individual dreams, Maslow’s self-actualization.

Mr. Pink also dwells on the idea that not everyone will be able to be in their own business, but he says even if free agency is not possible for someone on a full time basis, every worker should try to have a part time free agency in order to accomplish the highest point on the Hierarchy of Needs for themselves. So, what does Daniel Pink say about the Free Agent Nation?

The book is the result of over a year on the road and face to face interviews with working people. It traces the transition from Organization Man to Free Agent. This book is in stark contrast to the ideas in William H. Whyte, Jr.’s Organization Man where workers traded loyalty for job security. Pink’s book traces people who were on an upward management track but quit their corporate jobs to be their own free agent doing the things they had been managing others to do. Sometimes these free agents are re-hired by their former companies to do their old jobs as consultants—a common free agent occupation.

Free agency is the result of several factors. One is that, given a choice of how to work, seven of ten Americans would choose self-employment. Free agency is not just a style of work, it’s a way of life—a better way of life. Free agents are clear of the restraints of some mindless corporation and are in control of their own destinies. They completely define the new type of American work.

A sign of the extent of free agents is that the largest private employer in the US is the temp agency, Manpower, Inc. It is difficult for government employment reports to track this type of free agency accurately. These people don’t fit census job descriptions, and they are like bees flitting all over the place from one employment to another whereas “normal” employees tend to remain in the same place. Some studies show over 26 percent of workers as self-employed. More than 40 percent of men say they have been self-employed at some time in their careers.

One description of a free agent is “portfolio worker,” where the worker has a portfolio of clients rather than a single employer. An idea of the government’s classification problem is this: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data show nine million independent contractors while the annual survey of independent employees by Aquent Index says there are 33 million independents, nearly one fourth of the total workforce! This means free agents outnumber all manufacturing workers as well as all government employees.

Free agency has many benefits. One study showed 66 percent of people forced into free agency by corporate actions like downsizing said they would rather work alone than be a wage slave. Full-time free agents earn an average of 15 percent more than similar company employees, and
independent professional free agents are twice as likely to earn over $75,000 per year as similar W-2 employees.

The lowest rank among free agents is that of Temporary Employees (TEMPS). These people are often hired to fill temporary staff requirements with the same skills as regular employees. The problem is they usually receive less pay and no benefits. This makes them second class employees.

It will come as no surprise to home-based entrepreneurs that they are a major component of free agents. Government estimates don’t come close to correctly estimating the number of home-based operators. Some are sidelines, others are in the “cash” economy, and there are other reasons why these businesses are missed. Their importance can’t be ignored, however, because several research groups predict over 37 million home-based businesses to be in operation. Most home-based businesses are classified as micro businesses. Some are committed to being small with no growth plans; these are being called a “nanocorp.” A nanocorp is either a personal preference or a competitive strategy.

So, what caused free agency?

1. When cottage industries disintegrated at the beginning of the industrial revolution, workers traded loyalty to large corporate employers for the security of a job. When downsizing and other corporate actions reduced security, the loyalty also went away.

2. The means of production has once again become cheap enough for an individual to afford them without the help of a corporate employer. This has produced a kind of Digital Marxism where the individual employee can afford production facilities on their own.

3. Long-term prosperity allowed individuals to consider work as a way to provide meaning to life rather than just money. 85 percent of Americans living today have no personal knowledge of the Great Depression and its attendant economic hardship.

4. The life of a corporation has become so short that most workers will outlive at least one or two of their previous employers.

The Free Agent Nation has redefined the Protestant Work Ethic to include having individual freedom, authentic self-expression, individual accountability for one’s actions, and defining success on individual terms, meaning money isn’t always success. Free agents have also changed the familiar Peter Principle stating p

eople will rise in an organization until they reach their level of incompetence. Free agents now recognize the Peter-Out Principle: when they stop having fun at work, they leave to go out on their own.

A new Free Agent contract is not loyalty for security—it is now talent for opportunity. Vertical loyalty to the company is now horizontal embracing colleagues and customers rather than any corporation. In exchange for control over their own time free agents often work many continuous hours in exchange for saying which hours or days they will not work. Free agents are the New Economy 7-Eleven: they may be empty at times but they never close.

Free Agent Nation (F.A.N.) has its own clubs. F.A.N Clubs had their origin in Ben Franklin’s Junto of 1727 which became the first American public library. The purpose is to form regular discussion among free agents with similar interests bound by an informal agreement rather than a legal one.

Old Economy organization charts were organized vertically, while the Free Agency New Economy chart is fluid and horizontal. This encourages trust as the platform upon which to operate the New Economy. It’s like the Golden Rule.

The F.A.N. demands a different infrastructure. Satisfactory places to do business are similar to a Starbucks coffee house—simply a place to meet with other free agents with perhaps a wireless facility for your laptop. Office supply stores, printing shops, and similar structures provide the same kinds of infrastructure—and perhaps business opportunities for some of you.

Free agent economy differs from that of the Organization Man by replacing power of capital with the power of talent. The relationship has become emotionally complex requiring agents and coaches to place talent where it is needed. The old industrial economy separated families from work while the F.A.N. causes a blending of the two. Family businesses now account for around 60 percent of all employment in the world.

Business laws in the US were designed for the days when everyone worked their entire lives for a single employer. This is no longer true, so all these laws are becoming a hindrance to development of the new economy. Health insurance paid for by employers makes no sense now because most of us are free agents and have no employees. Another outdated legal area is tax law; small businesses are punished by double taxation for Social Security, limited deductions for health insurance, and the unbearable burden of complying with the maize of IRS regulations. Finally, local zoning laws often actually prohibit the legal establishment of a small business.

The dark side of free agency is the TEMP side. Because most have no benefits, these workers are often called TEMP slaves. Unfortunately these people never will be able to consider the Maslow pinnacle.

Free agency may also bring the end of retirement as we know it. Its replacement is e-tirement where seniors will continue to use electronic technology to pursue work on some basis. They will be encouraged by great wealth—it is expected that baby boomers will inherit over $10 trillion from their parents.

Possibly the most profound change to be brought about by the F.A.N. will be replacement of our present mass public education system. Home schooling, already on the rise in many places, will encourage self-education and use of floating neighborhood tutors resulting in education more in tune with the free agent economy. High school will be completely replaced and the value of college will be diminished. Good riddance!

Free agency will also impact commercial office space. The present tool shed model with desks and equipment will be replaced by two quite different models: a quiet place for serious work and a place similar to a pub where community relationships can be nurtured. A considerable number of former tenants will be using HOHOs, His Office/Her Office in the same home. Financing for this new economy will evolve into something similar to the way many performers are putting together packages of their works which are purchased by investors. The investors get a percentage of the package income and the performer gets a steady wealth stream.

In the future free agent economy, midsize businesses will nearly disappear. Those who can benefit from economies of scale will get unbelievably large while most business will be of the small free agent kind.

If you are already a free agent, the ideas in this book should be of value helping you understand that you are part of a new lifestyle that is becoming pervasive in the All-American culture. Free agents represent a new Can-Do Spirit among all American employees. The full extent is not recognized by the government, allowing the phenomenon to grow virtually without restraint. If you are already a free agent, or you are considering becoming one, realize this is a culture about the meaning of you. You are accountable only to yourself for whatever success you may achieve.

There is a valuable resource guide at the end of the book. It lists and describes steps necessary to start your free agent life, survival steps, sources of health insurance, how to start a Free Agent Nation (F.A.N.) club for you and free agents with similar interests, and books related to free agency.

Free Agent Nation contains all the discussion and resources you need to reach the highest level of personal spirituality represented by Maslow’s Self-Actualization.

© Yank Elliott. All rights reserved worldwide.

Yank is a home-based entrepreneur and freelance business writer living in Hurricane Alley, North Carolina, USA. His Website is (www.alternate-choice.com). Contact Yank at newideas@alternate-choice.com.

Play It Again SAM

PLAY IT AGAIN SAM – The old saying for
“Run that by me again”

I know you have heard it over and over and over again – but it
is important enough that I feel I need to sing this song again.

“Keep on keeping on.” – I hear from so many of you that you have
done everything you are suppose to do, but still nothing is happening.

How many times have you been driving and looking for something,
or a certain address and you drive and drive and finally say – well
I just can’t find it so I’m turning back.

You go back to the starting point and ask someone the directions –
they send you back in the same direction – you find out that if you had
made just one more curve you would have found your place you were
looking for. So close – yet so far.

This Internet Marketing game is the same way. You strive and strive
and strive and think you will never find your way. You give up for
awhile and then start back again – up this same highway you go – each
time you get a little farther – your destination will be just around the
next curve if you ‘keep on keeping on.’

You search a little harder – list a little harder – place your URL in more
places – you hit the search engines a little harder – you look for new
tools to help you succeed – you weed through all the hype and the

Finally one day – you start getting questions from your customers, you
find a few orders in your account – you get a few pros telling you what
you might do a little better to help you along. You realize at this point
that you are making some headway.

There is nothing magic about it – it is a time thing – you cannot build
trust from your customers overnight – trust is a precious thing and once
you build it – it is very important that you keep their trust by providing
good service, answering their questions in a timely manner – doing
everything you possibly can to keep that trust alive.

“Keep on Keeping on” is the theme you must embed into your mind.

Those who are persistent will meet their goal. They will find cluttered
along the highway many who did not have this persistence and will
speak with their dying voice that the internet is a scam and you cannot
make it up this super highway.

There was a lot of damage inflicted when the internet first came out.
That was just get a product, throw up a web page you you can
make millions overnight. For some reason this view of the internet has
lived on. Building your business on the internet is no different than
building your business in the real world. The only advantage being you
can do it with less funds.

The Internet is the greatest advantage presented to the world. There is
no prejudice, no bias – everyone has the same opportunity. The one
who runs the fastest gets the prize. The playing field is equal.


Sharon Lambkin
Publisher e4u Newsletter and creator of the Starter Kit Haven
Collection of Building Blocks, Manuals and help for bedginners.
Resource Center is FREE to subscribers of the e4u Newsletter –
Permission granted to reprint this article as long as this
resource box is included.


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Staying Safe with Emails

Staying Safe with Email
By: Charlie Page

We all rely on email to communicate, do business and stay in touch with loved ones. Much like the electricity in your house, you never think of your email being unavailable.

Yet there are dangers in the world of email. People with nothing better to do than be destructive spend their days and nights dreaming up ways to infect your computer and destroy your data.

There are ways you can protect yourself and make using email a worry free and fun experience.

Let’s start with some basic ideas.

=====> Understand the Basics

Each email you receive contains what is called a “header”. This header shows you who the email is from, who you will be replying to if you press reply, and the subject line of the email. This is a good thing, since it allows you to trash emails from people you don’t know or with subjects you don’t want. But there’s more.

The ‘reply to’ address can be different from the sender’s address. Just look at the header for this ezine and you’ll see what I mean. When you press ‘reply to’ on this email, your message goes to an automated address, NOT to me.

While your email is safe with me, there are those out there with less than honorable intentions. Be very careful when you click reply. If you don’t, you could accidentally opt-in to a spam list … or worse.

=====> Avoid Getting a Virus

Whether you have the most state-of-the-moment virus scanner or not, the more email you read the more at risk you are. Recently, a very nasty virus was transmitted via a hyperlink in an email. Containing a Yahoo domain name, the link looked harmless. When you clicked the link, the virus ran. Not harmless at all.

How can you protect yourself? Here are three quick tips.

1. NEVER open an attachment without knowing that the person really sent it. Knowing the person is no longer good enough, since most viruses spread through a user’s address book. If you receive an email with an attachment from Aunt Emily, call her to make sure SHE actually sent it.

2. Look for a disconnect between the sender and the email. Would Aunt Emily REALLY send you an email telling you that ‘you are fat’? If the subject line, or the writing, look odd to you, confirm it with the sender.

3. Don’t use a ‘preview window’. A preview window is that cool window at the bottom where you read the email while the list of emails is at the top. Nice feature. Problem is that for some programs a preview window acts as an attachment opener! This will be hard to find in the documentation, but user groups for your email program can advise you.

=======> Privacy is a Myth

Understanding this concept is key to using email wisely. There is NO privacy with email. The best analogy I’ve heard is that sending an email is like mailing a post card. Every one who touches the post card can read it if they like. Just so, every server that your email gets routed through, and there are almost always six or more in the equation, can read (or store) your email if they so desire. Is it legal? No. Is it moral? No. Can it happen? Yes.

Email is like driving a car. In the right hands driving a car is a safe and enjoyable experience, given that a few basic rules are followed. In the wrong hands, driving a car can be a nightmare.

While you should never be afraid to send or receive email, understanding the basics and using common sense will make your online experience the pleasure it is supposed to be.

Article Source: http://www.realworldtactics.com/articledirectory

Charlie Page is a copywriter who owns the Directory of Ezines and the Directory of Marketing. If you want to sell more online, visit Charlie today at www.directoryofmarketing.com

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Stick With The Basics To Succeed
(c) Charlie Page

I think we have all asked the same question at one time
or another. That question is …

“What does it really take to succeed online?”

If we listen to the emails and websites we read, we
hear many strong opinions.

Does this advice sound familiar?

* “Create your own product”
* “Do joint ventures with the big marketers!”
* “Pay per click advertising is all you need”
* “Display Google AdSense ads and get rich!”
* “Learn Web 2.0 or be left behind!”

And they always make it sound SO MUCH EASIER than it
really is, while loudly proclaiming that their way is
the only way.

And yet we know that cannot be true.

So … what DOES it take to succeed online?

While I will not pretend to have all the answers, I
will share openly what has worked (and is working now)
for me and my clients as well.

Experience has proven that focusing on these seven
basics will yield results, no matter what market you
are attempting to reach or product you are promoting.

You can do more than these things and succeed online,
but these seven basics represent a solid foundation for


It used to be that email was enough. But today you need
a website. The reason for this is that search engines
and article directories are penalizing affiliate
marketers like never before.

While there is not room here to fully cover this issue,
the days of becoming an affiliate and promoting only
your affiliate link, without having your own site, are
coming to a close.

It is incredibly ironic that this vital beginning step
is the step where so many people fail.

Creating a website can be hard if you don’t know how.
But there are solutions.

One solution is blogging.

Using Blogger.com, you really can put meaningful
content on the web today, and do it free.

Another solution is to use a service like Site Build It
that helps non-techies like me build sites –beautiful
and functional sites.

Another solution is hiring your own programmer via a
service like Elance. This really works, and for only a
few dollars you can have you own website quickly.

If you have ever struggled to create a website, if you
have been confused by HTML editors and all the
technical mumbo-jumbo, try one of these solutions


This is probably the #1 piece of advice I give clients,
and it works almost every time. But SO few actually do
anything about it.

The logic is undeniable.

If your site is wildly successful, over 90% of first
time visitors will NOT buy on their first visit!

You read that right – most people would be THRILLED
with a 10% “conversion rate”.

But even a 10% closing rate means that 90% of people
visiting the site do NOT buy!

Now here’s the $64,000 question …

How are they going to remember to return to your site,
when there are billions of sites online, many of which
are probably your competitors?

You MUST remind them to come back. You must woo them
back with enticing offers and give them solid reasons
to do business with you. And nothing does that better
than email.

If spending money is an issue, you can create a follow
up system free at SendFree.com


There is no doubt about it … content is king. People
come online to find answers to their questions and
solutions to their problems.

When your site is the one providing those answers and
solutions, people will buy.

But first things first – people have to find your site.
And that means getting listed in the search engines.
And getting listed in the search engines means
providing new content as often as you can.

I suggest adding content to your site every day, or at
least every week.

The great thing here is that you don’t have to write
it! If you can write your own content, by all means do
that. People love to hear from other real people, much
more than they want to hear from some slick marketer.

If you can’t write, or just don’t want to, then look
for resale rights products that offer articles.

Using Google, just enter this search phrase. “resale
rights” + articles You will find lots of sites offering
pre-written articles that you can use as content on
your website after modifying them to make them unique.

If you do have your own blog you can even invite others
to post and let them create the content of your site
for you! A true win-win.


Here is a huge mistake that is made over and over again
by very well-meaning people.

They join a program, try making it work for six or
seven weeks, then quit when things don’t happen as
quickly as they were lead to believe.

This is an understandable situation, but one that will
lead to failure every time.

The fact is, success takes time. Just as you would not
expect to open a pizza shop in your town and become an
overnight success, so too you should not expect
immediate success online.

It can happen, but it is rare, no matter how many say
they have done it.

The key here is to do your homework before committing
to any program or business.

‘Doing your homework’ includes asking questions,
hearing from people who have succeeded with the
program, getting wise counsel from people you respect,
and taking the time to think it through.

Once you find a product or program you believe in, make
a commitment to stick with it until you have tried
everything possible to succeed.

That commitment will take time to accomplish, and you
might just find that an extra month or three of hard
work is the key that unlocks the success you desire.


There are many ways to make money on the Internet.
There are even more ways to advertise or promote a
product or program.

And that wide variety of choice is often the downfall
of many a well-meaning person who is new to the ways of
the Internet.

The best advice here is to choose one or two methods of
marketing, and get a deep knowledge of what to do in
each before moving forward.

One way to do that is to make a list of all the
possible ways you could use to promote your offer. Then
number the list, making #1 the method you think would
be most likely to succeed.

Learn all you can about that method, moving on to your
second choice only when you feel you have mastered the
first tactic.

Doing this will help you save money, sell more
products, and help you become an expert at marketing
online, which will give you the power to sell any
product to any market

any time you want!


This might sound odd coming from a guy who sells things
online for a living, but it’s a big one. So big, I
almost made this number 1!

If you and I were to count how many products we have
bought in the last 12 months that are going unused now,
we might get downright depressed!

It’s a fact, Internet marketers know how to sell. Their
sites know how to get us to take action now, and boy do
we buy. We buy things we don’t need, and sometimes we
buy the same thing over and over again!

The way to develop sales resistance, and keep more of
your money in your pocket where it belongs, is to ask
questions. Here are four that I ask before buying

* Do I really need this now?
* Do I already own it, or own a similar product?
* What problem will this purchase solve?
* What is my specific plan for using this product in
the next 24 hours?

I believe that we should buy what we need to succeed,
be that information, or a service, or a product to

You simply cannot make money without spending money.
But spending wisely is a must!


We touched on this in point 4, but it’s worth another
look. My friend, sites that say you will earn $20,000,
$50,000 or more in the next 30 days no matter what your
current level of experience is are lying to you.

We live in an amazing time. The Internet has opened new
possibilities to anyone with a connection and a burning
desire to succeed. And that is a wonderful thing, one
that will literally change our world.

But it takes skills and time to succeed online, and
there is no getting around that.

Can you make a living online? For most people, the
answer is YES. But that yes must be tempered with the
knowledge that it takes work, certain skills, some
startup money, and time to succeed online.

If you are realistic, it can work.

The seven secrets revealed above have passed the test
of time, working for people on almost every continent
and in every economic circumstance.

Let me encourage you to take these seven secrets and
make them your own. Take time to choose what you want
to accomplish online, then take action today using
these seven secrets as your guide.

Henry David Thoreau said “If one advances confidently
in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live
the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a
success unexpected in common hours.”

Nowhere is that statement more true than on the
Internet. I hope this year is all you dream it to be.

Charlie Page helps people succeed online. How can he
help you? Find out now at his main site or call his
toll free number. http://www.RealWorldTactics.com

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College Station TX 77845

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