Independent Contractor Advice From SXSW

Independent Contractor Advice From SXSW

There are a ton of 1099 workers out there who are paid as independent contractors. If you’re reading this, in fact, there are pretty good odds you’re paid by 1099.

But getting paid by 1099 means that you have to work a bit harder for your freedom–and that’s something some really smart people talked about at South by Southwest this year.

So we went to the best source for advice… the people who hire 1099ers for work.

At a panel called You’re Not the Boss of Me: How To Manage 1099s, four entrepreneurs talked about how and why they hire 1099ers instead of full- or part-time 1040 employees. The talk offered some great insights:

Independent Contractor Advice From SXSW: You’re Responsible For Your Own Career Development

Jeff Wald, the co-founder of freelance management platform Work Market, says employers don’t have the responsibility of looking after their independent contractors’ professional development.

In other words, if you’re a 1099er working for a client and want to learn new skills–you should learn those skills on your own rather than expect your client to train you.

“You have to take it into your own hands,” Wald says.

Independent Contractor Advice From SXSW: Self-Employed People Never Get Time Off

Tara Hunt, who runs digital strategy firm Truly Social, says being self-employed means she doesn’t get the free time people at traditional full-time jobs have. In fact, she’s working pretty much all the time.

“1099ing is a long job!,” Hunt says. If you’re a self-employed entrepreneur or freelancer, expect to work long around-the-clock hours.

Long work hours for independent contractors happen both because you’re doing all the work your boss would traditionally do, and have to work on your clients’ timeframes.

Hunt adds that the days around Christmas are the only time each year she really gets to take a break, and that’s because most of her clients’ offices are closed.

“That’s the price of controlling my income rather than having work-life balance,” Hunt adds, “And I don’t even know if that exists.”

Independent Contractor Advice From SXSW: 1099ing Subsidizes The Other Stuff

Lynn Perkins of UrbanSitter, a babysitter platform, says many of her company’s workers aren’t full-time babysitters and use the service as part of their income stream.

“Our workers are very motivated,” Perkins explained at SXSW. “Many of our workers say we are an essential part of their income that they use to subsidize something else–for instance, working on a masters’ degree or supplementing part-time work.”

Independent Contractor Advice From SXSW: Resources

If you’re curious about becoming a better independent contractor, we recommend reading through Almost Millions’ archives and the following books: The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams―On Your Terms and The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future.

Have advice to share? Let us know in the comments!