One of the biggest employment trends in recent times is the act of working as an independent contractor. Workers who possess marketable sets of skills have discovered that they don’t have to be confined to one company, while companies have discovered they can skimp on fringe benefits and save some money by hiring independent contractors instead of employees. This creates a gray area in between someone being an employee or an independent contractor that can complicate matters.
If you have a special skill that can be difficult to find, here are four advantages to going the way of an independent contractor.
1. Work for Yourself
Personally, this is one of my favorite parts of being an independent contractor. I work for myself and don’t have a boss that’s constantly breathing down my neck or one who I feel like I constantly have to prove myself to.
As an independent contractor, you don’t have to deal with office politics or force yourself to act civil to that co-worker who’s always annoying you or distracting you when you have a lot of work to get done. Obviously, working for yourself requires you to be self-motivated, but if that’s not a problem for you, working for yourself may be a good idea.
2. Set Your Own Rates
Instead of having to accept whatever salary a company is offering, negotiate a salary with your employer, or try to convince your boss that you deserve a raise, as an independent contractor you’ll be free to set your own rates.
You can dictate what you think you’re worth to companies or individuals who seek your services, which can be quite liberating. Obviously, if you charge too much, you may have trouble finding clients, but its nice knowing that you’re earning what you feel you deserve. Plus, there’s no ceiling to what you can earn. The harder you’re willing to work, the more money you can make.
3. Workplace Freedom
This is another great benefit that I enjoy. If you feel like you’re trapped in your office all day, becoming an independent contractor can free you from that problem. As an independent contractor, you don’t have to worry being obligated to sit in an office all day. In many cases, you can work at home, in a coffee shop, or really anywhere you want. You also don’t have to fight traffic just to get to the office at a specific time. If you’re not a morning person, you can work in the evenings. If you want to take a break in the afternoon to see a movie, you’re free to do so.
As long as you finish your work, you have complete workplace freedom as an independent contractor.
4. Tax Write Offs
This can be a tricky area, but if you’re independent, you can deduct business expenses from your taxes. For instance, the computer or furniture at your home office could be written off on your taxes as a business expense. Meanwhile, people working a 9-to-5 job at an office, will be lucky if their company pays for the cost of parking the car. Plus, the gas spent driving to work and back everyday probably isn’t going to get reimbursed, which is money you’ll save working from home.
It’s not a guarantee, but there’s at least a chance you’ll pay less in taxes as an independent contractor.