Human beings have a lot in common with chickens. We have a pecking order… we like corn… we sometimes cross the road… and we can spend a lot of time scratching aimlessly around the coop. We also do a lot of squawking or crowing, depending on our mood at the time. Another thing we have in common is that we’re happier as Free Range beings than we are when trapped in a cage day after day. Even chickens know that life is better when you bust out of the cage and roam free in the sunshine.
Marianne Cantwell, British author and unorthodox career coach, created the concept of the Free Range Human – an individual who no longer wants to be a Career Cage Human, trapped in a metal tube while commuting to a concrete Career Cage or similar soul-sucking job day after day after day. An individual who has figured out what they want their life to be like and created a work-life that suits them, whether it’s working at home, in a café, or on a beach.
Ms. Cantwell started out as a cubicle dweller like so many of us. Then one day she took a leap of faith and left her “safe” job, trusting that with hard work and a willingness to learn how to run a business, she would not just survive, but thrive… and of course, she did. She now travels the world full time and runs her consulting/writing business from wherever she pleases.
Part of what makes Free Ranging doable is that it represents a “Third Way” between a job and high-risk entrepreneurship. By starting small and shunning the bells and whistles that conventional wisdom says you need to start a business (incorporation, business plans, etc.), you can venture into the world of self-bossing in a small way with little risk, protecting yourself by just starting with what you have and seeing where it goes.
The first half of the book helps you figure out what it is you want to do; the second half focuses on how to get there. My favorite chapters were about establishing yourself as an expert and multiplying your income simply by being yourself and leveraging your uniqueness.
Again, what it’s all about in the end is creating a life you want to live while earning enough income to sustain it. Be a Free Range Human may be inspirational, but it also provides plenty of solid guidance to propel you down the path of self-discovery leading to entrepreneurial success.