Tired of being under-appreciated, under-valued, and under-utilized at your current job?
If so, it might be time for you to take the plunge and escape the cubicle life by marketing your skills as an independent contractor.
Put simply, if you work as an independent contractor (a.k.a., free agent, consultant, or freelancer) you will:
If you've accumulated at least 5-10 years of specialized knowledge and skills in the corporate world, there is a good chance that other companies would happily pay for your expertise on a freelance or consulting basis. For example, if you have experience in corporate human resources, you could assist other companies with their hiring and recruiting function. If you worked in corporate PR, you could sell your PR services to smaller firms who can't afford to hire their own in-house PR executive.
Think about the types of job duties you most enjoyed and then create a niche service that uses those skills to meet a pressing business problem.
These days just about every size company, from solo entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 corporations, take advantage of the business flexibility provided by qualified freelance professionals. Outsourcing is cost effective and provides companies with the ability to respond to business needs without the burden of supporting a large payroll obligation.
Examples of assignments outsourced to free agents include:
Essentially any job function that falls outside the company's core business is fair game to be outsourced.
On the negative side of the equation, the inevitable peaks and valleys in work flow makes it difficult to plan your personal schedule and finances too far in advance. You may have no work one month and then be up to midnight several nights in a row trying to get a project done. This unpredictability can be difficult to handle.
But for many professionals, the challenges of the freelance life are easily offset by the benefits. The option to work from home (at least part of the time), seize greater control over your earning power and work towards building your own business can combine to create a work option that may prove too alluring to ignore.
Nancy Collamer, M.S.,is a career coach, speaker, and author of the new book Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement (Random House, 2013). In private practice since 1996, Nancy gained national prominence in her tenure as the Career Transitions columnist for Oxygen Media. She has spoken at venues ranging from Harvard Business School to the California Governors Conference on Women. Please connect with Nancy on Twitter @NancyCollamer and on her website at MyLifestyleCareer.com.