Becoming an independent contractor is popular for those who crave more flexibility and control over their work life.
With a few simple steps, you can start making money by freelancing and increase your income exponentially.
From picking your services and planning your business to marketing your brand, there are several steps you can take- we’ll teach you how to become an independent contractor!
Let us tell you the best steps to start freelancing today:
- Best Independent Contractor Job: Proofreading
- Best Place to Find Jobs: Flexjobs
- Best Tip: Talk to a tax professional before starting your independent contractor business.
What’s An Independent Contractor?
An independent contractor provides services to clients or companies on a freelance basis, and contractors are considered business owners and not employees.
They work on a project-by-project basis and have control over their own schedule, business expenses, and services.
Independent contractors are responsible for paying their own taxes, including social security, medicare taxes, and self-employment and income taxes.
They aren’t entitled to employee benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, or paid vacation.
How To Become An Independent Contractor
1. Pick Your Services
The first step is to pick the services you want to offer. This may seem obvious, but it’s an important decision that will shape your business.
Start by narrowing down the type of work you want to do. Here are 5 common independent contractor positions to give you some ideas:
2. Plan Your Business
Creating a plan for your business will help you outline the overall goals and strategies you have in mind for your independent contracting career.
Things to include in your business plan are:
- Your budget: Be sure to account for expenses like equipment, marketing, business license and permits, and paying taxes like self-employment tax and income tax.
- Market research: Who are your competitors, and what sets you apart from them? What is the demand like for the services you offer? Market research can help you identify opportunities and potential challenges.
- Business Structure: Will you be a sole proprietor, limited liability company, or S corporation? Each business entity has different tax obligations, so it’s important to research or talk to a tax professional to choose the one that best suits your situation.
- Business bank account: A separate business account will help you keep your own business expenses and personal finances separate, making it easier to track your business income and deduct business expenses as a business owner when you pay taxes.
- Register your business name and get a business license: Register your business name and obtain any necessary business licenses or permits.
3. Create Your Business & Brand
Your brand should match your business mission and values and help you stand out in a crowded market.
Some things to consider when building your brand:
- Business name: Your business name should be memorable and easy to pronounce. Your business name should also convey what your business does and what sets you apart from competitors.
- Brand logo: Your logo should be visually appealing and uniquely represent your business. Consider hiring a graphic designer to create a professional logo that accurately reflects your brand.
- Color palette: Your color palette should be consistent across all marketing materials and help reinforce your brand personality. Choose colors that align with your target audience and business mission.
4. Join Job Sites & Get Jobs
Now that your business and brand are set up, it’s time to start finding clients and promoting your services online.
Many job sites and freelance platforms connect contractors with clients looking for services. Some popular job sites are:
5. Market Your Business
Effective marketing can help you attract new clients, build your brand, and grow your business over time.
Business cards are a simple and effective way to promote your business and share your contact information with potential clients.
You can create a freelance profile on sites like FlexJobs or potentially create a website as your digital resume.
Best Jobs For Independent Contractors
Here are the best independent contractor jobs:
Proofreaders review written content such as articles, blog posts, and marketing materials to ensure accuracy and consistency.
By identifying errors and making suggestions for improvement, proofreaders help ensure that content is of high quality and meets clients’ needs.
A free workshop by Proofread Anywhere can help you learn more about proofreading and show you how to start your freelancing business on the right foot.
As a blogger, you can write about your passions and build a loyal audience who shares your interests. Then you can monetize your work for money!
If you want to start a money-making blog, a wealth of resources is available to help you succeed as a blogger.
For example, our Start Your Blog Boot Camp offers free training on choosing a blog niche to promote your content and build your brand.
Bookkeeping is a vital function for businesses of all sizes, and you can offer this service to clients on a freelance basis.
Bookkeepers record financial transactions, reconcile accounts, and create financial statements. They ensure that a business’s financial records are accurate and up-to-date.
Bookkeeper Launch offers free lessons to help you improve your bookkeeping skills and become a successful business owner.
Freelance writing is a popular option for those who are passionate about writing and want to work on different projects.
Freelance writers can work on anything from blog posts and articles to product descriptions and social media content.
To help you start your writing journey, we offer a new Freelance Write from Home course that provides step-by-step guidance on building a successful freelance writing career.
Freelancing Job Sites
Now that you’re interested in becoming an independent contractor and have a few ideas on some services you’d like to offer, let’s talk about finding jobs.
Here are the best apps and sites for finding gig economy jobs and various side hustles as a contractor:
Steady is a freelancing job site that aims to help independent contractors find steady work and build their businesses.
The platform offers a range of resources and tools to help you find clients, manage your projects, and grow your business.
Steady suggests jobs and tracks your income- plus offers Income Boosters so you can earn more.
If you want to learn more, check out our honest Steady Review and see why we think it’s the best place to find side hustles and gigs.
FlexJobs is a popular freelancing job site that connects independent contractors with various remote and flexible job opportunities.
It offers a range of job categories, including writing, graphic design, customer service, and project management.
One of the key benefits of FlexJobs is that it offers a curated list of job opportunities that have been screened for quality and legitimacy.
For independent contractors looking to find new clients and expand their business, Fiverr is a popular freelancing platform offering many job opportunities.
Fiverr is known for short-term gigs and projects, so contractors can find a variety of paying jobs and mix up their work life a bit.
As an independent contractor, utilizing Fiverr can be an excellent way to build your brand and take your business to the next level.
If you’re an independent contractor looking to expand your client base, Upwork is a freelancing job site you won’t want to miss.
On the Upwork platform, independent contractors can search for clients who have job opportunities that match their skills and expertise.
With job categories that include everything from software development to writing and customer service, you will find new clients and grow your businesses.
Is self-employed the same as being an independent contractor?
All independent contractors are self-employed, but not all self-employed individuals are independent contractors.
Businesses typically hire independent contractors, who are responsible for managing their own time, equipment, and resources.
They may be hired for short-term or long-term projects and are typically paid per project or hourly.
Self-employed individuals work for themselves and have complete control over their businesses but don’t work for other businesses specifically.
An example of a self-employed person may be someone starting an Etsy shop and selling products online.
What counts as an independent contractor?
Some examples of independent contractor positions include:
- Freelance writers
- Graphic designers
- Web developers
- Social media managers
- Virtual assistants
- Video editors
- And so much more!
To be classified as an independent contractor status for tax purposes, individuals must meet certain criteria set out by the IRS for income tax purposes, such as:
- Having control over their work schedule and methods
- Being able to work for multiple clients or businesses
- Being responsible for paying social security, Medicare, self-employment tax, and health insurance
Why do people become independent contractors?
There are many reasons why someone might want to be an independent contractor:
- Flexibility: You can choose your schedule, set your own rates, and work on a contract basis on projects that interest you.
- Career Control: By working for yourself, you can pursue your own interests, work on projects that align with your values, and develop your own brand.
- Financial Rewards: Becoming an independent contractor can also lead to financial rewards, as you can set your own rates and take on more projects.
Becoming an independent contractor can be a fulfilling and rewarding way to take control of your career, achieve your professional goals, and reach financial freedom.
As an independent contractor, you’ll be free to work on your terms and take on projects that match your skills and interests.
Following our simple steps, you can learn how to establish your business structure, manage your business, and build your brand to attract clients and grow your business.
So if you’re ready to take the leap and be an independent contractor, now is the time to start! Pick your passions and find jobs on Steady today!