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'Lone Eagles' Fly Solo, and Sometimes Scared

In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge gave a speech in which he praised the achievements of Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, who had just become the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. He called Lindbergh the Lone Eagle, and he described him as intelligent, industrious, energetic and dependable.

These words apply to thousands of lone eagles in America today, and only a few of them are aviators. Today's lone eagles are independent, sometimes even solitary, people who work from home as analysts, consultants, freelance writers, Internet entrepreneurs and the like. They connect with the world via computers, telephones and occasional trips to office buildings downtown or on airplanes to out-of-town assignments.

Many prefer this life to daily commuting and the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. office grind. They can work flexible hours, set up their workspace exactly as they like it, play music if they choose, even dress - shall we say - extremely casually. Unfortunately, in the current economic downturn, many more people are forced to be lone eagles whether they like this lifestyle or not, because they lost their full-time company jobs.

And there are many downsides to running a home-based business. You have to be really organized and focused, or distractions like a family or the pretty scenery around you can hurt your productivity.

Because lone eagles are almost always independent contractors, they have to earn not only enough to live on, but also enough to pay their own insurance and retirement benefits and come up with the money to promote their services so potential clients will know they're out there. And in this day and age, most lone eagles need to be pretty savvy with computer technology, since they'll be doing a lot of business online.

And there's one more thing these home-based entrepreneurs need to remember:

Being a lone eagle can be . . . lonely!

Read more of Ted's personal reflections and stories from the road on his blog, Ted Landphair's America.