Melissa’s Be a Free Range Human by Marianne Cantwell Review

Free Range HumanIt don’t think it is a surprise that I am keenly interested in protecting the work/life balance I have created. When I picked up this book, it wasn’t because I thought of myself as an entrepreneur; but rather that the words “free range” and “escape the 9-5” resonated with me. I recently became a self-employed contractor so I have been reading all things business. This book was deliciously different in that its goal is to help you develop your own concept of a free range life, not to conform to someone else’s.

The first part is a bit of a free range manifesto, I was an easy convert to this part. Most people can relate to the inane part of “normal”; sitting in traffic in order to get to work when you are told, working 40+ hours a week for 40 years of your precious life, missing the sun when you work inside the people equivalent of cages and arrive and depart in the dark. Where you lose them is the perceived risk of leaving this behind. I was already on my journey out of the career cage when I jumped ship into my business dinghy; I had been working slightly reduced hours and had learnt that (once I reached a certain income level) I didn’t actually need to keep working.

A wise person told me, in my early conflict with the risk of my journey, that my risk isn’t as high as I perceived it to be. For example, if your business doesn’t work out you could relatively easily obtain a job (even a low wage one, even if you don’t love it). So your risk is actually the difference between the income you need and the income you could earn in a backup job. For me, my risk management is three months salary as a back up in savings and knowing that the difference between the income I need and the income I may have to settle for (if I have to resort to plan b).

Part two of the book takes you through your dreams and ideas, helping you to develop what you want out of life.  The third part teaches you “how to think like a free range human” and offers insanely thrifty ideas for getting started. The last part is about the mechanics of a free range business from marketing yourself to other business matters.

Cantwell writes clearly, succinctly and draws on real life examples (beyond her own) to illustrate her points. She provides many websites/blogs for further reading. This book is for you if you are trying to get up the courage to try a new venture (she will help you want to jump off the precipice); if you don’t think you could escape the 9-5 (for curiosity purposes) and if you have a niggle but you don’t know what it is (this could be your key!).

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