Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Free Agent Nation: Who are the NEW Free Agents and Entrepreneurs?

The origins of has its roots in finding a home (global platform) for Free Agents and entrepreneurs to collaborate and innovate. The big issue was that the business world was not paying attention to this demographic group because the segment was so fragmented (SEE BELOW) and this group is very difficult to organize into a united body. I use the terms Free Agent and Entrepreneur interchangeably because a Free Agent could become an Entrepreneur if he or she is able to turn their enterprise into a high-growth company. An Entrepreneur could become a Free Agent if he or she scales down to become a boss of one.  According to a large scale survey documented in "Freelancing in America: 2016," the number of U.S. freelancers is 55 million which is up from 53 million in 2014.  In the same survey released by the Freelancers Union and the freelancing platform Upwork, freelancers make up 35% of U.S. workers and collectively contributed 1 trillion in 2016.  Think about it, 1 out of every 3 workers in the U.S. is a freelancer. The statistic indicates this is a growing demographic that can't be ignored.  The term Free Agent was popularized by Daniel Pink's book, "Free Agent Nation" first published in 2001.

To understand this demographic group, we have to look at the numbers and their description.  Today’s free agents can be categorized into the following groups, and may in fact be represented across multiple categories as they build their portfolio of experiences:

Independent contractors: (64% of global free agent population) freelancers who work for an employer on a per-project basis
Freelance business owners: (28% of global free agent population) those with up to five employees who consider themselves both a freelancer and a business owner
Temporary workers: (24% of global free agent population) workers typically hired for a fixed duration, often through an agency
Moonlighters: (13% of global free agent population) workers with a primary, traditional “day job” who also do freelance work on the side
Diversified workers: (4% of global free agent population) those with multiple sources of income from a mix of traditional and freelance assignments, with freelance work accounting for the majority of income
Source: Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2009-2013 Forecast. International Data Corporation.

You could say that there are hybrids of these categories including entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, mompreneurs, consultants, giglancers and outcasts of the W-2 World.  Actually, the last category I added for some drama. The number mentioned above of 55 million U.S. freelancers is more likely understated due to the difficulty of categorizing this demographic group. We would further divide these Free Agents into two different categories: knowledge workers and gig economy workers.  The big difference between the two groups are that knowledge workers are striving for economic freedom while gig economy workers are looking to supplement their incomes.  Examples of gig economy workers are those using companies like Uber, Airbnb, Etsy, and Takl where they have full-time jobs along with those gigs.

In 1997 when Daniel Pink was showcased on Fast Company, he estimated that Free Agent, USA had a population of 25 million residents. In 2016, the Free Agent population is estimated at 55 million. This is not a demographic group you want to ignore if you are a business owner or corporation.  We have attached an exerpt from Daniel Pink's Fast Company article (1997) below along with a Free Agent study published by Kelly Financial Resources.  I also wanted to share below a quote from a Free Agent and a response from a Free Agent when asked if she would go back to Corporate Life. Very interesting and relevant to our community of Free Agents and Entrepreneurs here at For me personally, I needed to get out of the Corporate Rat Race and be free by working for the best boss ever: ME.  Thank you to the Free Agent Community!

“Free agency forces you to think about who you are and what you want to do with your life.”

Would you go back (meaning Corporate Life)?
“I can’t imagine why.”

Free Agent Nation excerpt by Daniel Pink

Free Agency by Kelly Financial Services

Best Regards & Success,

Chief Free Agent #1

P.S.  Check out our new community!

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