APU Careers Careers & Learning

Declaring your Independence (as a Contractor)

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By J. Thompson
Online Career Tips Staff

Feeling adventurous—looking for flexible hours, consulting-level pay and the satisfaction of being your own boss? Maybe you’re coping with a layoff and improvising to create opportunities for income or to keep your work history consistent. Whatever your reason, becoming an independent contractor (IC) is an exciting and viable employment option, even in this post-recession economy. But, like all good endeavors, know the cards before you lay them on the table.

Attorney, Stephen Fishman of Nolo.Com recommends all professionals compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of working as an IC prior to taking the leap. Here is Fishman’s take:

Advantages of Working as an Independent Contractor

  • You are your own boss
  • You may earn more than employees
  • You may pay lower income taxes

Disadvantages of Working as an Independent Contractor

  • No job security
  • No employer-provided benefits
  • No unemployment insurance benefits
  • No employer-provided workers’ compensation
  • Few or no labor law protections
  • Risk of not being paid
  • Liability for business debt

Perhaps you’re interested in growing your IC profession into a small business, but you’re not quite sure where to start. Remember, there are quality online universities that offer business degrees with a focus in entrepreneurship/small business management. You can even connect with a community of like-minded learners and educators, many who have experience working as independent contractors.

[If you’re looking to get started on a quality online degree take a look at 140 different programs offered at APU.]

J. Thompson is the Vice President of the Content team at American Public University. He earned an M.F.A in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and performed his undergraduate studies in English literature, political science and business management between the University of New Mexico and East Carolina University. His career insights draw upon experience as a communications vice president supporting learning management, applicant tracking, and talent and leadership development for Bank of America and other Fortune 500 firms.

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