Should you try working "free range?"

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(MoneyWatch) If you're feeling like the 9-5 noose is stifling you, you might want to explore freelancing, telecommuting or entrepreneurship. Author Marianne Cantwell escaped the office years ago and wrote her new book, "Be A Free Range Human: Escape The 9-5, Create a Life You Love, And Still Pay The Bills," about what she learned along the way. Currently, she pens the popular Free Range Humans blog and runs business launch and life-direction courses online, all out of her backpack. Here's how she does it -- and perhaps you can, too.

MoneyWatch: How do you define "free range human?"

Marianne Cantwell: A Free Range Human works when they want, where they want and how they want and get paid to do what they love. They are their own boss (and have often escaped the "career cage" to do this).

MW: But isn't making that kind of a jump risky these days?

MC: Free Ranging isn't about putting your house on the line and sinking thousands into a wait-and-see venture, and neither does it mean becoming a broke freelancer! When you're free range you learn how to make income off your own steam no matter what happens and to me that feels safer than being at the whim of the economy/the board's decisions.

MW: Who is the ideal person for this type of career?

MC: You know you're a "free range fledgling" if a part of you has never quite fit in to a regular job. You show up, play the part, but there's always that "what if," always that nagging feeling of being different.

MW: Besides the freedom, why should one consider going "free-range?"

MC: If you are looking for a change of career, your options widen dramatically. You don't have to convince an employer to take you on and you don't need a perfectly matching resume. Plus, if you're an indecisive "I want to do everything but I don't know how to choose!" type, you can save years of going around in circles by creating a "bespoke" free range career.

MW: Why leave the office now, versus ten years ago?

MC: In the last 5 to 10 years alone, technology has zoomed past anything your college career advisor thought possible. You can run a global seminar without getting out of bed, reach 1,000 people at once and create a consistent income in a way unimaginable 20 years ago.

MW: On a related note, what do you think of Marissa Mayer's stance on telecommuting?

MC: If I were Yahoo I wouldn't be comforted by the knowledge of where companies that choose a reactionary stance against these groundswell movements usually end up. Flexible working is consistently a key priority for top performers, and there is no reason for productivity not to rise when teleworking is handled well. If a company is concerned that they are not getting value from telecommuting employees they would be better placed to put the resources into learning how to gain advantage from this way of working rather than stifling it.

  • Amy Levin-Epstein On Twitter»

    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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