Free as a bird: The Top 8 reasons to become an independent contractor?
Ask around, and you’re sure to find those who can come up with reasons NOT to be an independent contractor. It’s important to know that this is to be expected, as anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of the workforce works for themselves. This is forecasted to increase to nearly half in the next decade. The reasons why vary, but the benefits can’t be denied.
1. More money: It’s a common experience to find that your education, no matter the level, didn’t set you on the right path to financial freedom. Additionally, wage growth is slow, or even stagnant. Unemployment might be low, but jobs aren’t paying enough.
Throw in the student debt crisis, and it’s easy to see why many people get second (and third) jobs. But there’s another option – deciding what you will be paid for your work. If you can come up with a price that actually helps sustain your life, and is still attractive enough to get jobs, becoming an independent contractor is a game-changer.
2. Greater flexibility: Let’s face it, working for someone else is a lesson in conformity. You are there to perform set tasks at specific times, often in a specific manner. True, many companies are increasing the number of remote employees they have, but this isn’t the experience of the average worker.
Normally, you are expected to adhere to your superior’s schedule, and this dictates when you wake up, when you eat, when you go home, how many meetings you attend, and how you plan your downtime. When you’re in control, you have much more room to plan things in a manner that supports your work style, improving the quality of your finished product.
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3. You create the culture: If you have a lot of work experience, you know what your deal breakers are. These are often associated with attitudes and customs in the workplace. The coworkers who gossip incessantly, the cliques who make you feel nervous about presenting your work, the boss whose temper is a ticking time bomb.
Is this really a suitable tradeoff for having insurance provided to you? There are affordable insurance options available to the independent worker, so there’s no need to suffer. If you want an inclusive, pleasant environment, or just find that you’re better off working solo, you can have that.
4. You can develop a wider skillset: Ask a few independent contractors what they studied, and you’ll find that many use this independence to become great at something else. We often think we know what we want to be when we grow up, only to realize there’s little promise for growth or limited opportunity.
Becoming an independent contractor allows you to gain experience in any field you want to excel in. And if you’re an independent learner as well, you’ll be amazed at what you pick up.
5. You have more room for creativity: Creativity isn’t just for artists; workers in every industry use their creativity to solve problems, get projects finished on a tight schedule, and produce work that no one else is turning out.
This can be tough when you’re employed by someone else. Your creative flair might not be welcome or appreciated, especially if that company is well-established and specifically branded. When you work for yourself, being able to come up with creative methods and solutions can increase the satisfaction you get from completing a job.
6. You can be yourself: This ties in with general flexibility, but applies itself to the wider concept of being an individual. Are you someone who doesn’t want to wear a skirt or tie? If you work for yourself, you can dress and conduct yourself in a manner more consistent with your personality.
Some aspects of this can become part of your new professional brand. There are plenty of clients out there who want to hire a more personable, down-to-earth individual to get the job done. If you can balance this with a modicum of professional integrity, it will pay off.
7. Your health may improve: It seems that more than ever, the medical community is reminding us that stress is a killer. Being stressed to the max, in addition to various lifestyle factors, increases our long-term chances of suffering disease. This is because stress creates more inflammation in the body. This can manifest and make it easier to come down with the flu, or it can double your risk of heart disease.
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The daily grind is a notorious stress creator. If you could suddenly drop all of that – all of it – and start fresh, how much lighter would you feel? That’s not just an emotional burden you’ve unloaded. You’ll change the actual chemistry of your body, possibly for the better. Your most important long-term investment is to your health, and recognizing that your mental health impacts the physical is the first step to turning things around and making a change.
Not to mention, making your own schedule means you’re more likely to work in time at the gym.
8. You enjoy better relationships: None of this is to say that independent contractors work less. On the contrary, you’ll require more self-motivation and gumption than most in order to make it. You might even find yourself working as many or more hours than you did before.
But when you have that flexibility, and when you have reduced your mental and physical stress, everyone around you will notice. Feeling inspired and having more freedom will change the mood at home. From less arguing to more quality time, independents can foster fuller, more positive relationships. They never have to make their boss at work the number one priority.
What are your reasons for going independent? Are you attracted to creating your own hours, removing the distractions of your previous work environment, or simply earning more money? Do you wake up in the morning with a sinking feeling, knowing you have to commute to a job that doesn’t allow you to work to your full potential? No matter the reason, independent contractors aren’t just free spirits – they’re the future.