Study: 1 In 2 Professionals Will Be Independent Contractors By 2020

Why Becoming A "Business-of-One" Can Be Better For Your Career

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In April 2014, the Career Advisory Board, established by DeVry University, partnered with MBO Partners, to conduct The Future of Work: Preparing for Independence – a survey designed to identify the traits of successful contract workers in the United States. [You can see the full report by clicking HERE >>]

MBO Partners projects that 1 in 2 American workers will either move to independent work, or spend at least part of their working hours as self-employed professionals by 2020. The study showed some very good reasons why more of us might want to ditch being employees and embrace becoming businesses-of-one. Here are a few:

  • Independent contractors' average pay is $87,000+/year - Granted, they must pay their own taxes and health benefits, but many of those surveyed also don't work full-time hours. Which means, the pay rate is better than their full-time employee counterparts.
  • Contract work is more desirable - Career goals for contemporary professionals are changing and many are choosing self-employment in order to control the type of work assignments they pursue (67 percent), to have a greater sense of flexibility and work-life balance (64 percent), and to follow a passion (59 percent).
  • More seasoned workers can leverage their experience better - The majority of contract workers surveyed were 35+ and had taken the skills they built while working full-time to enable them to market them independently - and at a higher rate.

3 Tips for Becoming A Successful Independent Contractor

For those of you who would like to create more career opportunities and income potential as an Independent Contractor, here are some tips:

1) Make networking a priority. 82 percent of respondents said that word-of-mouth was the main way they received work income. Especially for women, who said 57 percent of their contract assignments came from former employers.

2) Have a specialty. 90 percent of respondents said that having relevant technical skills and a specialty within the industry help to land more contracts.

3) Be very self-motivated. Over 90 percent of respondents said you must be a self-starter, self-motivated, and be able to cope with an unpredictable revenue stream to succeed. Many of them have been successful independent contractors for 9+ years and said it gets easier with time.

Being a business-of-one definitely has its perks, but it doesn't come easily. Just like running a larger business, you must have certain qualities to succeed. Check out the complete study to learn more!

P.S. - Looking for more help on building your skills so you can become a successful business-of-one? Visit the free website I founded called "CAREEREALISM," and learn how to catapult your career in a time when EVERY job is temporary.

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Rob F

This was posted on LinkedIn with the comment: "You can hide from the truth all you want."
I wish I could hide from the student loans I incurred so I could have a stable, 9-5 life like my parents and grandparents.

July 30 2014 at 11:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ka Harris

It comes as no surprise to me that experienced professionals are choosing the path of the Independent Contractor. It some cases it is likely the only fulfilling option (for instance, mid-career professionals reevaluating how best to apply their talents in more satisfying ways, or individuals attempting to return to the workforce after an absence who discover that they are now 'unemployable'). Of course, unprofessional hiring and employment practices, in addition to other troublesome organizational political realities, drive extraordinarily talented professionals to consider the value of managing change in their own careers through independent contracting.

July 29 2014 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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