The Results Are In: 56% Have Considered Becoming an Independent Contractor

RL07-16-2015In June, we asked our readers if they’ve ever considered becoming an independent contractor, and the results show more than half are open to or in the process of striking out on their own.

According to the results:

  • 40% said they want to be an independent contractor, but don’t know where to start
  • 16% are currently taking steps to become an independent contractor
  • 14% said the independent contractor lifestyle doesn’t appeal to them
  • 13% don’t want to leave the stability of a full-time job
  • 9% are currently working as an independent contractor

Another 8% chose the “other” option and submitted their own answers, including:

  • I’ve done so in the past and would like to again
  • I hope to eventually do this in addition to my full-time job
  • I started as an independent contractor 40 years ago and now have 10 employees
  • I worked as an independent contractor, but I did not like it as well

So, where do you start?
It’s encouraging to see that the entrepreneurial spirit is strong in the 56% of respondents who said they are open to or are taking steps to become an independent contractor. It’s a big step with the potential for big success, and a step, according to the results of the poll, 40% are not quite sure how to make.

Start small
Depending on your industry, it may be possible to start small by doing freelance work in your spare time after work or on weekends. For example, if you’re a full-time graphic designer in your 8-to-5 job, you can look for small design projects, like newspaper ads for local small businesses, to build your experience and client base during off hours. Once you’ve established yourself in your community, and are confident about the prospect of landing bigger projects down the road, it will be easier to make the leap to full-time independent contractor.

Talk to people who are already doing it
Seek out others who are already independent contractors in your field of interest. What better way to learn more about the benefits and pitfalls of being an independent contractor than from someone who is already doing it. Be sure to ask questions about the business side—how to find work, what to charge, insurance, etc.—as well as lifestyle questions, like how many hours they work or how it has impacted their personal and family life.

If you are an independent contractor, how did you start? What advice do you have for others looking to make the switch? Let us know in the comments section below.

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