Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Working FREE!

Welcome to my new blog, Working Free. Now, before you get the wrong idea, Working Free does NOT mean working for free. Working free means working and earning your income by some alternative to the traditional 9-5, five day, 40 hour work week. Now, of course, there are many variations on the traditional theme – for example, shift work where you may work 2nd or 3rd shift or rotating schedules where you may work three days on, four days off, four days on, three days off and your days rotate through the week as each shift rotates. Perhaps you are a teacher and work 8 to 3 PM and have summers off. Effectively, someone other then you determines all of these work models. You are required to adhere to a model or work structure determined by a boss, institution, corporation, government agency, but you do not make the Determination of your work structure or your income yourself.

This concept of working free really came home for me in September 1986 – nearly 21 years ago. My wife at that time, Cynthia, and I were going away for a Marriage Encounter weekend event. As we packed, I found this book on the bookshelf and threw it in my suitcase to have something to read if I had extra time on my hands. The title of the book was Working Free: Practical Alternatives to the 9 to 5 Job by John Applegath and published by Amacom. To this day, I have no idea how that book ended up on my bookshelf. I don’t recall ever buying it. But, somehow, there it was and it ended up in my bag that weekend. That was a pivotal moment for me. No! Not because of the Marriage Encounter event, though I wish that had turned out more positive in the long run. Cynthia and I separated in 1989 and divorced in 1992. Thankfully, we are still friends.

While I fully participated in all of the events of the Marriage Encounter and gained much valuable information and many tools to make relationships work, unfortunately, saving our marriage was not in the cards. However, while I only just got into the Working Free book that weekend, I found something in it that really related to me and affirmed me in my feelings about work, income producing, earning a living and even the value of money, time and relationships. I have never been without a copy of that book in my possession and have reread it several times and refer to it regularly. Actually, I started looking for the author shortly after I read the book. I wanted to thank John for writing the book and I wanted to explore this concept more. Well, it took about 20 years to finally locate the author. I called John Applegath in mid-March of this year (2007) and we have met by phone, so far. He is retired and living in New Hampshire. We had a great initial conversation and I keep in contact with him with a plan to travel up to New Hampshire in the near future to meet him in person. It is also my hope that John will collaborate with me as I carry on his concept in the 21st Century. I’m looking forward to him contributing to this blog whenever he is so inclined. And, if he will agree to it, I’d like to record an in depth interview with him as well as some other possible audio content.

My intention with this blog and with the podcasts that will be part of this Working Free blog are to seek out, meet and interview all kinds of people who are “working free” and have found many different variations to earning an income – where they control their own time and life – they are working free. I’ll be drawing from John’s original book and I’m hoping to find at least a few of the individuals John interviewed as subjects for his book. It would be interesting to see where those people are today. But, we are now in the 21st Century. A lot has changed over the 25 years since John’s book was released. While it is dated, most of the concepts are evergreen and just as valid today as they were back then. As a matter of fact, I still see used copies of the book appear on Amazon Marketplace from time to time. I urge you to acquire a copy. It is not currently known whether John Applegath has regained the rights to the original book. But, if he has or we can regain those rights, I will republish the book and even record an audio version of it. I might even make it available as an e-book.

Since I have spent most of my life working free in the recording industry, some video production, voice-overs, a few ventures into multi-level marketing, independent professional video equipment brokering and most recently as a book publisher, I understand this concept very well. Working Free: Practical Alternatives to the 9 to 5 Job was the affirmation I needed that the work style and lifestyle I have chosen to live is as valid and valuable to our society as that of the more traditional model that most people have been conditioned into since the Industrial Revolution.

I also plan to develop seminars and workshops that I can present in cities, towns and communities across the country as I travel around meeting and interviewing people. But, I’ll talk about this more in future postings. I invite your comments. I and we (the readers) will all benefit from your contributions. So, don’t hold back. And, I also invite others to contribute postings to this blog. Simply let me know that you’d like to be a contributor and we’ll set up the channel for you to send your postings directly to me and we’ll post them. Don’t spam me with all your Web sites trying to sell people your “home-based businesses” and “MLM/Network Marketing” sure fire businesses or the “get rich schemes” that are all over the Internet. I will not support that. Although there will be some advertising allowed on the site, if I feel the advertising is anything like what I just described, I will remove it. I want to, both, give ideas, information, education, encouragement and inspiration through this blog and the podcasts AND I want to receive the same for my own improvement.

So, we’re off the starting blocks and on our way to what I expect to be an exciting adventure into the world of Working Free!

Ed Helvey
The Virginia Sound Man