In our previous article, What does independence mean?, we discuss the general benefits of being an independent contractor -greater freedom, greater flexibility, more control, and more money. It may sound like an ideal job but the reality is it is not for everyone. The corporate world needs both the stability and steadiness of traditional employees and the unique project driven skills only independent contractors can provide on an on-demand basis.
There’s a place for everything and everything in its place as Benjamin Franklin appropriately said. This doesn’t just apply to things it also applies to people in the workplace, relatively speaking. Where you fit now may be much different from where you fit three years from now. Right now, you could be the perfect employee. In the future, after you’ve built a strong network of connections, developed your skills to mastery, and have the financial and emotional confidence to adequately manage change and uncertainty, than you may be ready to be an independent contractor. For some, it takes years to reach this point, for others it comes quick and instinctively.
If you answer yes to all of the questions below, then independent contracting may be your calling.
- Are you comfortable with change and uncertainty? For example, if your project ends abruptly, are you mentally and financially prepared to endure gaps between projects?
- Are you and your family prepared for the risks? For example, if you are the primary income provider in your family, are you adequately insured in case something happens to you?
- Are you comfortable with the social aspect of independent contracting? Many successful independent contractors believe that their biggest asset is their network of connections.
- Can you effectively manage various business responsibilities? If you are a 1099 or corp-to-corp contractor, are you prepared to handle the bookkeeping, taxes, legal, health insurance, and administrative duties that come along with being self-employed? If not you, then can you afford to hire someone to help you?
- Are you a master at what you do? People will be looking at you as the authority of your skillset. Are you confident with your skills? Can you adequately perform when asked? Can you prove it?
- To be a true independent maven, you must be able to effectively manage all of the above.