default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

The self-employment surge and how professionals can best prepare

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, June 22, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:34 am, Mon Jun 30, 2014.

(BPT) - One in two American workers are projected to be self-employed by 2020, according to MBO Partners. While the shifting economy has surely pushed some people into independent work, many have chosen it. Career goals for contemporary professionals are changing and given how quickly this trend is taking hold in the United States, today’s employees who aspire to be tomorrow’s contract workers need to prepare now to navigate this changing landscape.

To help professionals effectively transition to contract work, the Career Advisory Board, established by DeVry University, worked with MBO Partners, Inc., a provider of back office services for self-employed professionals, to conduct a new study, The Future of Work: Preparing for Independence, which examined the attributes and skills of those who are gainfully self-employed to help aspiring contractors get and stay ahead in this ever-changing work environment.

According to the study, professionals 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).

“While they are young, millennials should be proactive in taking advantage of intrapreneurship and training opportunities, as well as acquiring transferable skills like project management, budgeting, sales, and marketing, in an established organization,” says Alexandra Levit, Career Advisory Board member. “This will be the foundation of a viable contract career in the future.”

Based on the research findings, the Career Advisory Board recommends the following strategies to help professionals excel in independent employment:

Take off the blinders: Being your own boss may sound enticing, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Survey respondents said that in addition to having solid expertise in a particular field, successful contract workers must be self-starters who have the ability to cope with uncertainty, including an unpredictable income stream. Many contactors work remotely, have multiple clients to report to, and have to juggle multiple projects at once. Assess your strengths and weakness before jumping into contract work, make sure you have an organized action plan to help you start off on the right foot, and always keep an open mind and be able to adapt quickly.

In-person networking still trumps social media: The survey pool reported that while social media is important for contractors’ branding and reputation, it often does not generate income. In fact, just 6 percent said social media outreach led to paid project work. Therefore, create strong profiles on sites like LinkedIn and Google+, but refrain from spending too much time on these networks and make sure you still build in face time. Seek in-person meetings, attend events and workshops, and be visible to your future clients beyond your social media accounts.

Start small and look local: Although technological advances allow many self-employed professionals to offer their services globally, the majority of the respondents still obtain most of their work assignments from within their immediate metropolitan area. While it’s a good long-term goal to think about how you might leverage a larger and more diverse pool of potential clients, aspiring contractors should first embark on being visible in their local communities. It is also a good rule of thumb to start small with only one or two clients until you master the craft of contract work.

“As independence is becoming more desired in today’s economy, professionals need to stand out by building strong networks in their communities and being visible to local employers that use contract work,” says Gene Zaino, president and CEO, MBO Partners. “Use your time wisely – stay focused on your core, billable expertise and find ways to outsource other non-essential functions.”

For additional career advice and to view The Future of Work: Preparing for Independence executive summary, visit: www.careeradvisoryboard.org.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.


What was the biggest local story of 2014?

It has been an eventful year in Lodi, from the antics of a wild turkey named Tom Kettleman to the announced closure of the General Mills plant. What do you see as the biggest story of the year?

Total Votes: 185


Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists