Free Agents & the Side Hustle

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By Aaron Templer

It’s been over 15 years since Daniel Pink published Free Agent Nation. Fifteen years before the beginning of legitimizing the pursuit of self employment, of solopreneurism, of what is now the side hustle.

For a few of us it signaled a new business model. As the talent pool of available free agents—often highly creative, open-minded, and status quo-busting talent—rises, managing the spiky world of marketing and advertising becomes more rational. And more intellectually honest: instead of the hiring-and-firing merry-go-round, a marketing firm can hire (and budget) based on a project no matter the length of the engagement.

For Three Over Four, it means we can leverage the talent pool to our client projects. Right talented, right sized, right budgeted. In a way it’s the opposite of what some companies are doing, like the branding firm highlighted in a recent Fast Company article, which encourages side hustles by its employees to keep them engaged.

We’re the opposite. By staying employee-lean, we can find side hustlers who tightly fit our clients’ projects. Which keeps us objective, delivering higher value than if we were biased by the skill set in our office.

The trade-off is that we have to maintain a constant bench of talent. It’s a challenge that adds to our networking and branding needs. So we do that by staying involved in organizations like the American Marketing Association. I’m a past president of the Colorado chapter and I currently serve on a national council of past presidents. Our Account Director is a former board member of the Colorado chapter as well.

Take the group in the photo, above. It’s a team of go-to team members, all of which are side hustlers and solopreneurs. We executed much of the Go Code Colorado project together, among others. Pictured are solopreneurs and side hustlers Helene, Paula, and Justin as well as Three Over Four account director Blanca and me.

Legitimizing the side hustle is the best news we can ask for. It means better value for our clients. So we’re all in on side hustles.

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