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The Go-It-Alone Entrepreneur Versus the Free Agent

A go-it-alone entrepreneur is engaged in a quest that is fundamentally different: A free agent is the business, whereas a go-it-alone entrepreneur is working to build a business that exists apart from himself or herself. The advantages of this are multiple:

  • Ownership of a business allows the go-it-alone entrepreneur to capture the full value of his or her ideas. As a free agent—no matter how well paid you are—if you do something that makes fortunes for your employer or client, you will almost never be compensated according to the full value of what you have created. Temporary workers typically can’t negotiate fees based on a percentage of the value they create for the firm. But there’s no limit to the rewards available to go-it-alone entrepreneurs. If they understand something unique and execute well, they will reap the full rewards of their efforts.

  • The go-it-alone entrepreneur is building capital. A successful enterprise is more than a job. It is an asset that can, if the founder chooses, be sold. After a period of time, the entrepreneur has something tangible as the result of his or her efforts. By creating something from nothing, the entrepreneur is far more likely to prosper over the long term.

  • In bad times, the go-it-alone entrepreneur still has a livelihood, but unemployed free agents largely spend their time looking for work. They are waiting for the phone to ring. They have the will and the energy to work but no place to exercise this drive. It’s difficult to think of anything more frustrating. In contrast, a go-it-alone entrepreneur has the opportunity to put his or her nose to the grindstone: The business climate may be difficult, but the entrepreneur has an established infrastructure for earning a living and a place where hard work can still yield positive results.

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GO IT ALONE! Copyright 2004 by Bruce Judson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.