As an independent consultant, one is introduced to a myriad of new words, phrases, and terms that are used often to describe both the tasks at hand and the independent professional landscape as a whole. Are you a freelancer, self-employed, an independent consultant, independent contractor, side-gigger, on-demand worker, solopreneur, or some combination thereof?
This, as one can imagine, has the propensity to be quite confusing: the number of terms alone can be overwhelming, and even then, certain terms may have conflicting definitions, particularly when it comes to defining what, exactly, these independents do.
Below is a sampling of the key terms used to define these many types of independent workers. While we’ll do our best not to drown you in alphabet soup, a fully-fledged glossary, complete with a number of terms ranging from workforce generations to independents’ financial impact, is available in our resource area.
Independent professionals often label themselves a number of different ways – below are a few of the most commonly used terms to dignify an independent worker. We are aware that many of you may also identify by job role or title – such as Technology Consultant or Brand Strategist, rather than simply an independent classification.
Another name for independent worker. Freelancers often work for customers or individuals rather than companies, sometimes pursuing multiple projects simultaneously, but this is not always the case.
Independent workers who perform strategic medium and long-term (more than one month) larger projects (over $10,000) and who generally work across fewer companies sometimes only one at a time.
A legal term that indicates that the indicia of the work arrangement supports a compliant non-employer-employee relationship.
Independents are also categorized, and defined, by the amount of time they spend in a given week to their independent contracting work. Sometimes this categorization is referred to as a “work arrangement.” We use the following designations in our State of Independence survey:
The 17.8 million Americans who work regularly 15 or more hours as independent workers in an average workweek. Their average work week is over 35 hours per week.
Someone who does independent work, but does not do so on a regular basis and/or in an average workweek. This may include someone who drives for Uber once or twice a month, or a writer who takes on freelance projects at their leisure.
The 12.4 million Americans who work regularly between 1 and 15 hours per week as independent workers in an average workweek.
Part-time independent workers who also have some other primary activity such as having a traditional job, going to school, caregiving, etc.
Many independents wish to define themselves as entrepreneurs. As society has shown, being labeled as an entrepreneur alone no longer carries enough distinction. Below are a few types of entrepreneurs, depending on how they operate their independent business.
Owners of small businesses employing fewer than four traditional full or part-time employees.
Business owners that work on their own without traditional employees.
MBO Partners does more than just “type casting” – they also provide the right resources and tools for independents on the rise. Looking to grow (or start) your independent business? Contact our team today.
MBO Partners rounds up news of note pertaining to independent contractors from around the web. This is the November 2, 2015 edition.
The Weekly Independent, an MBO Partners column featuring news and notes for self-employed workers and their clients. This is the August 15, 2016 edition.