Better off alone? – The decline of the ‘One Man Band’

Even The 'Lone' Ranger had Tonto to talk to...

Over the last few months, I have noticed a trend of several prominent ‘lone wolves’ in the social media world now joining large agencies after several years of successful consulting work.

This surprised me as the past year in social media had made it seem that going solo was the best way to ‘be your own person’, ‘stick it to the man’, change the world for the better etc etc. If done properly going solo in the new media age seemed to promise freedom, fame and fortune.

Possibly I was blinded by a romanticism of the Chris Brogans* of this world. The hyper-connected world of social networks means people are able to build up attractive, successful and worthy personal brands very quickly (NB: CB put years of work into his brand). Through the filter of our PC monitor, other people’s worlds can look very enticing and achievable – whilst in reality it requires a lot of hard work, stress and worry.

In truth, this is not limited to the social media world at all. During the #givejonnyroseajob campaign, quite a few sole traders across several industries told me that they too were also looking for a permanent job again. For them – it seems – consultancy was an interim fall-back option rather than the path to unlimited success.

Having been part of Idio for nearly a month I already appreciate the joy of working with a good team, the promise of a consistent income and secure** job prospects. Even if I become the best digital marketer in world on the job, I can’t foresee how consulting as a ‘one man band’ in the future would be a better option.

This is not a critique of either career type but rather a look at the benefits of being self-employed in the digital world compared to working for ‘the man’.

If been through any of the above – please share your experience! 🙂

What have been the pros and cons of working in an agency/org vs going it alone?

*Not to diminish or criticize Chris Brogan’s life or work at all, might I add! He’s great 🙂

**Pending them not find out about my polygamous, tax-evading past. And that I’m behind #weinergate.


About jonathanrose

Raconteur. Intellectual. Showerman.
This entry was posted in New Media, Social Media, Work. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Better off alone? – The decline of the ‘One Man Band’

  1. chrisbrogan says:

    By the way, maybe it’s that you didn’t look deep enough. I’ve never been alone. I started New Marketing Labs and had 2 other guys on the team, plus a business partnership with 30 more people. I folded that into The Pulse Network, where I have 35 or so people working together now. I started Human Business Works, where I have 7 people working with me.

    I never once left behind a revenue stream. I never quit the day job and risked it all. I shifted from one payroll to another, never once sacrificing my family’s safety.

    I totally agree that going it alone is a romanticized experience, but I’d also say that the agency route isn’t all that romantic, either.

    Small, powerful teams are the bees knees.

    • jonathanrose says:

      Honoured to have you commenting Chris! You’re right – my research was a bit weak on this one (I just instantaneously think of you when I think of ‘succesful one-man brands’!). Thanks for clarifying my misrepresentation of your work history 😛

      I like your thoughts on “small,powerful teams” being a desirable model – I now work for one of those and thoroughly enjoy the experience compared to what I imagine going it alone might be like. I think I might soon write a post on on the joys of being in a “small, powerful team” – thanks for the inspiration!

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