I was speaking to a man at a networking meeting, who described himself as a "business coach." He told me that he worked with solo professionals as well as with people who worked for large companies.
So I asked him, "What’s the biggest difference you find between the two groups?" His answer surprised me: "There’s no competition out here," he said.
He went on to explain that in a typical organization, it’s set up so that everyone fights over the same scarce resources (jobs, projects, offices, etc.), and competition naturally arises. Outside, on the other hand, people tend to be very supportive of each other.
My own experience bears this out. I’ve seen people who at first glance would seem to be in competition with each other (two marketing consultants, for example), sitting together in meetings and openly sharing notes, ideas and encouragement.
Before I left my job to go off on my own, one of my concerns was that it was a "cold, cruel, dog-eat-dog world" out here. Turns out I was way off; the world of solo professionals is supportive, friendly, collaborative and quite a bit of fun. Never a shortage of people who want to grab coffee and share ideas or (one of my favorites) waste a few hours just enjoying the company.