May 15, 2007

Freelance-onomics 101: Bosses are for suckers

An audio essay from James Braly, that I heard on NPR's Marketplace today.
"But in my case," I continue, "as a freelancer, I have many clients who represent three levels of demand: A, B, or C." Demand being one of those words, like widget, that tells a businessperson, 'I speak your language.'

Then I pass out a chart that presents this argument as a kind of Food Pyramid: a foundation of many C Clients, fruits and vegetables; a solid middle section of B Clients, the meat and potatoes; and up at the top, a few choice A Clients, the nuts and sweets.

Of the A Clients, I say, "I never let one control more than 10 percent of my income," neglecting to add that they never give me more than 10 percent of my income. "At each level, if one relationship sours, I replace it with another from the level below. It's like a balanced portfolio of occupational risk. Really, I can't imagine being in a position where one person could end my career."


That's pretty much my life. I've been self-employed since the start of 1996 - and I am not sure I could work for a corporation again.

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