Welcome to Working Free…
Supporting Director-level Independents
What does it mean?
Working Free means NO BOSS and YOUR OWN CHOICE – but NOT working for nothing!
Is this for you?
The independent working lifestyle might be for you if you handle it effectively.
Your journey starts here!
Benefit from knowledge, experiences & wisdom through our interactive processes.
Working Free Ltd aims to be a leading web based UK Enabling Provider of career, professional and business development information to Director-level Independent Workers in the UK.
Its primary aim is to support the senior Executive coming out of permanent employment and wondering what to do next – and how. It will also be helpful to established Independent workers at senior levels keen to upscale their effectiveness.
For some years, now, there have been unprecedented and huge changes in our working world. Employment and working patterns and philosophies are shifting inexorably towards individuals with increasing momentum.
Echoes of Samuel Smiles
(1812 – 1904)
A bit quirky, you might think, but “Self Help by Samuel Smiles is all about people in business succeeding. It is mainly through perseverance. But it is also through looking for new angles, new insights, different ways of thinking, of interpreting, of managing, of leading.
The same principles that drove the Industrial Revolution, are now driving our own revolution today. The fact that you may think this a bit off-the-wall and the opposite-of-fashionable should not stop you finding out more!Echoes of Samuel Smiles 1812-1904
The Pathfinder Programme.
- The Pathfinder Programme
This website is primarily aimed at individuals who swap Dependence for Independence. Now – more than ever before – you can hire these people – in ways that suit you and also suit these Independent Workers.
- Understanding our objectives
Those who run businesses are increasingly looking for their own senior managers to have strong Independent Enterprise behaviours, supported by a results-driven approach mentality; by a mature understanding of corporate objectives and through a commitment to progressive delivery philosophies.
- Endowing your own senior people
Through Working Free, you can endow your own senior people with these characteristics. You can also prepare them for whatever they do next – whether this is about being strategically useful to you after they have moved off your permanent headcount, extending their practical working lives or the mutual achievement for you and for them of your changing and important CRS objectives.
It’s good to Talk!:
The Supporters Guide
The Guide has been written, with the aim that, having set up a Supporter relationship, you provide it to your selected partner and it becomes the shared behaviour “framework” for how you can discuss all the topics, challenges and opportunities, that undoubtedly will go with your transition journey.
You will find this suggestion particularly relevant as you work through Sections 3 and 5 of this website as they both contain exercises, with questions for you to consider. Bouncing your thinking and work across a Supporter or two would be very useful to you.
The Supporter relationship is built on the following cloverleaf model of “Listen, Probe, Encourage”.
You will find the Guide under Section 6 (Technical Topics) along with a more detailed look at the cloverleaf model.
If you want to be successful as a Director-level Independent Worker, you need to…
Make sure you are clear on your strengths, what you have to offer and your value. You need to understand how to differentiate yourself.
You need to know this because these are the people and their organisations who will buy your professional product. You might think that those outside your market will provide referrals. Maybe. But never ever as much.
Read all about being a Self Drive Worker elsewhere on this website. You are positioned in the 47% of the 32m working population in the UK. Even if you don’t agree with this interpretation, your own answer is bound to be somewhere near. You might think you are in a lonely place; NOT true!
Always remember, you are as good as your last job. Keep yourself refreshed personally with fitness and professionally by taking part in CPD activities to keep on top of your chosen field of work.
Marketing and selling – these two different things are all-pervasive. You are doing it all the time. Similarly, there is no one section on this website that covers it all. It’s all over and everywhere!
No sales equals no revenue. So - if winning business is not something you have done in the past, develop your client relationship and influencing skills and learn from every client conversation. Always remember that people buy from people - so winning respect, credibility, trust and achieving a level of client chemistry always comes before an order. Be yourself, be authentic and, above all, develop a ‘client mind-set’ which enables you to understand a client’s needs. Seeing things from the other side of the table always impresses and leads to better quality proposals and solutions. 95% of an Independent’s success is based on understanding what the client brief is all about. This takes skill and experience and is always work in progress!
Let your friends know what you do and invest in building your network. Networking is much more than just winning business, it’s also about collaboration, support and building great relationships.
Set yourself up with good advisers – an accountant, lawyer and others you may need. Choose wisely and choose people who are not just good technically but who want to work in collaboration with you. Chemistry is everything.
Manage your time wisely – work on priorities, be organised and efficient in the way you run your business, you can then put your focus on being with clients.
Don’t be afraid to ask for support. “No-one is wiser than all of us!” You will always have peaks and troughs and it’s good to step back and talk things through with someone you trust.
Your reputation is everything so develop and protect it.
In this context, Working Free means working free of the shackles of Permanent employment. It also means working to your own choice and free will, free of the strictures of a corporate environment and hierarchy – and no boss. No more internal politics. No more bottling up your own views, feelings and emotions. It does NOT mean working for nothing.
The irony is that quite a lot of this is not actually true! But it can be. Working Free sets out to help you make it true.
Working for Nothing is a fascinating topic. It helps to understand what it actually means - maybe for the first time in your life - particularly if you’ve been on someone’s payroll all your career with regular money. And now, there is a suggestion/ opportunity/ proposal that what looks like already being a lumpy income stream will further be complicated by some of it being reduced, maybe to nil and often deferred – but potential rewarding.
At one end of the scale, is the Victorian agricultural labourer who would turn up in the morning and, if selected (the original zero hours contract) would be paid in cash at the end of the day. At the other end would be today’s high tech start-up that develops a high tech product – usually bio pharm – and only ever has one sales invoice – and that is at the end of a few years’ hard work and risk and some considerable investment - and sells itself to a major organisation.
Everything else lies between these two points. Professionally and for all commercial organisations, all sales prices are negotiable. They depend on circumstances and context. Charity trustees don’t get paid anything. Young or struggling businesses might pay nothing or something of varying levels but promise good rewards later and/or equity.
You can come to a better judgement on this if you read Section 3 – Career Choices. At the same time, read Section 5 about Self Drive Workers- which is what you might now be. And also read Section 6 about Self Employment.
After all this, you ought to conclude that this independent lifestyle might be for you if you handle it effectively – and get a bit of luck! Handling it effectively means learning enough about yourself and about how this market works to be able to focus on the positives and avoid the pitfalls and other negatives. If you conclude that this independent working lifestyle is not for you – fine.
If you want to spend some time talking to Working Free about your crossroads thinking and decision-making, we can help.
But our contention is that about half of us are Self Drive Workers – not full time employees on someone’s payroll. It can be made to work.
- Linking supply with demand
Working Free seeks to link the business needs of working Director-level Independents – largely unidentified by them – with the key categories of supply that will enable a successful – mainly portfolio – career to be established and developed.
- The WFL Business Model
The Working Free model is to identify and break down into individual and detailed “Technical Topics” the broad range of relevant aspects and elements in the process of operating successfully as an Independent, signposting externally.
- Technical Topics Partners
With the support of Technical Topics Partners – engaged for each adopted Technical Topic – WFL will work with them to create a core of relevant information and also by inviting independent interested parties – styled Technical Topics Contributors – to submit Contributions.
The Working Free vision is that a growing number of actual and aspiring senior Independents visiting this website will use it creatively and consistently, exploring the extended links and contacts, as we add more content and more Technical Topics to what we have already. We hope that our visitors will leave behind the value of their experiences and their wisdom through our interactive processes. Visit Section 2 – About Working Free and how to use this website
Everyone will be different.
The process of continuously updating material, supported by judicious editing from the Centre, should prove to be helpful to the growing number of senior business and professional people now working remotely from the formal employee/ payroll model.
“Enabling Provider” means that, for each Technical Topic, information resident with third parties is discovered by WFL and the Technical Topic Partners and accessed by digital links. WFL and the Technical Topic Partner will know from where the best information is available. Where we can’t find that information or if we don’t think it exists, we will seek to create it ourselves.
Collaborating with www.devonshirehousenetwork.co.uk – Devonshire House Network is a people focused membership club for director-level professionals in leadership roles who have an instinctive focus on the human side of enterprise. Our purpose is to create, for our members, thinking time and space for key business issues and where people make the difference.