Do You Dare To Join The Big, Bad Freelance Economy?

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From Forbes, Elaine Pofeldt writes another thoughtful article on the benefits of solo-preneurship.  She identifies some of the downsides of working as an employee when she writes:

Many people who try freelancing find it puts them, not an arbitrary corporate employer, in charge of their career, because they are not dependent on any one source of income. Field Nation, an online talent marketplace, recently conducted research among the independent contractors on its platform that found that that top reason for running their businesses, chosen by 49% of respondents, was “I want to control my future.” That was followed by “I can realize more of my talents and capabilities as an independent contractor than as a full-time employee of another company,” selected by 26%.

For highly-skilled free agents, solo employment may also offer better long-term earning potential than a “steady” job. Toward the end of last year, AON Hewitt predicted that in North America, salaries are expected to rise 3% this year on average, up from 2.9%. That is the smallest increase of any region in the world…

And while many Americans find that hitting a milestone birthday like 40 or 50 means that the “right sizing” bean counters at their company will soon put a target on their backs, solo entrepreneurs seldom have to worry about this. “Nobody really cares about my age a self-employed person, [so I] don’t have to worry about age discrimination,” Rinz wrote in an email to me.

Elaine also shares the benefits of striking out on one’s own, as well as the risks.  Her articles, like many others, bring to the light one of the biggest issues in the employee or independent contractor discussion — not all workers are alike.  Elaine share stories of capable, competent, successful people who choose to pursue independence.  On the other hand, there was a recent court case in which roofers were classified as independent contractors, forced to sign an agreement, and were paid in cash.  One roofer had a 3rd grade education and did not speak much English.

The contrast between an international director of sales striking out on his own and a non-English speaking manual laborer with a 3rd grade education is striking, yet both are “independent contractors.”  Legislation to protect the manual laborer and allow or even encourage the solo-preneur will require considerable drafting skills.

Elaine’s articles present a strong case for allowing individuals to seek independence by starting their own businesses and an excellent reminder that not all independent contractors are victims.

Read the full story at Do You Dare To Join The Big, Bad Freelance Economy?

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