The Break Free Blog

Where you are not alone in Breaking Free

A popular way to break free and find freedom is going it alone as a professional photographer.

Here, photographer Anthony Maddaloni gives tips on how to become self dependent as a freelance photographer.



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The Freelance Revolution

Dec-1-2010 By admin


Tuesday 23 November was National Freelancers Day in the UK. In its edition published in conjunction with the Professional Contractors Group (PCG) on the Saturday before, the Daily Telegraph examined the growth of the freelancer.

In particular interest to those wanting to break free and find freedom was an interview with futurologist Dr James Bellini.

In this interview, Dr Bellini felt we are about to experience a Freelancing Revolution which could have an impact as massive as the agricultural and industrial revolutions.

This could well be true. I will try to explain why people looking to be self dependent and breaking free from the job market could change the look of business.

Prior to the industrial revolution, most businesses were self dependent and were the original cottage industries. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as mass production took hold, the population gradually moved to large towns and worked in large factories and offices.

With the advent of mass technology and communication in the twenty first century, many will break free and start going it alone. The internet is helping people find freedom.

Dr Bellini explained that a desk in an office represents a wasted asset, being occupied only 43% of the time on average. In fact the whole system is inherently wasteful.

The Telework Association predicts by 2020 80% of workers will not be commuting to work fixed hours at a workplace. Immediately there are savings in time wasted travelling and in transport costs. The trend towards people breaking free from the outmoded system would even benefit the environment following reduced transport emissions and less industrial development!

Of course many jobs may not be outsourced to self dependent people, such as in manufacturing, but on the other hand, many can. Indeed, some professions have been doing it for a long time such as electricians, film crews and session musicians.

Economists have even come up with a description for this: Giganomics.

Advantages To Companies

Companies can now find people to do specific jobs and pay on outcomes. It is up to the individual how he achieves the outcome.

If times are hard, employers simply contract less freelancers. In the retail sector a significant number of employees are agency workers so are not freelancers but nonetheless the retail companies can simply increase or reduce the number of agency workers used day-to-day.

Using self dependent freelancers, companies are less likely to be blindsided (caught out by rapid changes in the market) as they can move relatively quickly and, indeed, be tapping into innovational thinking from those who are breaking free and not be hampered by company dogma.

In any case, using contracted self dependent individuals means companies will have greatly reduced fixed costs so hard times are less likely to hit so hard.


Advantages To Individuals

Of course, the flexibility available to employers would mean uncertainty for those going it alone, but there are significant advantages that should offset this.

Freelancers are able to work to their own abilities and follow their passions. They are more likely to think freely (so be more useful to companies), be more entrepreneurial and dynamic. They will also break free of office politics.

The self dependent individuals are able to set their own timetables and working hours (subject to the constraints of work demands, of course). Days off and holidays can be taken when they are able and not when the boss says they can.

There is an element of security with those going it alone having several projects running producing multiple sources of income. They could even employ several varied skills. Several local shopkeepers are beginning to support their high street activities through online sales, for example. Thirty years ago business guru Charles Handy described this as ‘portfolio careers.’

Breaking free from the job market means reduced stress and costs as a result of the reduced need for commuting. This could result in more time with family and friends (although the hours worked may increase initially) and indeed more time meeting neighbours. This answers the criticism that self dependent workers may well see less people, especially if their work is largely online.

Potentially individuals will spend more time in their community, have more time for volunteering and take up more hobbies. Clearly this would have wider social advantages.

Many of the resources for self dependent individuals are already available. There are market places for talents online (such as Elance) or even for those wishing to add to their incomes using affiliate programmes (Clickbank is an example).

Undoubtedly, as with a favourite electrician or car mechanic, companies will tend to stick with freelancers who have been reliable in the past.

Conclusion

The giganomic revolution would totally change the way we do business. Obviously there are already self dependent individuals (like us) who have been breaking free already, thus pointing the way for the future.

The present shaky state of the economy, the number of people losing their jobs, a desire by individuals to find a different way of doing things and the availability of technology all mean many more freelancers will be breaking free to find freedom in the future.

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