As CEO of the leading platform for self-employment, I have a great interest in the recent surge in independent workers. So when analyst and reporter Alexandra Levit – well known for her insightful career stories in the New York Times -- reached out to talk about how to better advise aspiring contractors and consultants, our team was happy to help.
DeVry University’s Career Advisory Board (where Alexandra is a board member) worked with MBO to commission and conduct new and original research on how to be a successful contractor in today’s quickly changing career world. They reached out to MBO’s vast network of self-employed contractors and consultants and leveraged our deep knowledge of independent work trends via our national State of Independence in America survey data sets.
The multi-pronged project kicked off with a survey of successful contractors this spring. Once all the data was gathered, analyzed and discussed by our teams, it was clear a story was emerging from the research (you can read the executive summary here):
· Independent workers are most likely to be experienced professionals – while there are many new workers seeking to enter contract or freelance work, industry experience and networks matter – a lot. Hanging a shingle is a multi-year process that begins with earning some stripes, and then continues into the arena of networking and personal brand-building. Wherever you are on the journey, our own Independent’s Guide is a useful source of information.
· Word of Mouth is the best way to build business: While social media presence is becoming an important prerequisite to building a strong self-employment brand, word-of-mouth was still the way 82% of workers gained assignments.
· Anyone can be an independent: Surveyed workers were employed both full and part time, were both men and woman and came from all demographic backgrounds.
· Share out your expertise: To gain projects, successful workers advised new aspiring consultants and contractors to gain very strong skills in their industry and functional area of expertise.
The report is quickly gaining attention, and a video from Alexandra nicely sums up the work in her own voice.
We thank our friends at the Career Advisory Board for thinking of MBO when they think of how to understand and support the rising population of self-employed professionals -- and thank you to the MBO community for helping to teach others how to better succeed on the path! The future absolutely lies in independent work, and we’re proud to help make it easier for independent consultants and contractors.