Why look for just another job, when you can embark upon a whole new career? Learn about the latest developments in careers for military spouses. With your mobile lifestyle, there are certain portable careers that can offer you and your family stability and future growth. If you have any topics that you would like to see us write about, feel free to email the editor:
Independent Contracting as a Portable Career Option

Being an independent contractor can be a terrific approach to creating your portable career, offering you exactly the freedom and flexibility you need when you’re not sure what the next year or months may hold in terms of where you’ll be living.

As we discussed in our previous post on portable career options, being a contractor is based on doing a specific type of work on a relatively short-term basis, often ranging from one to six months. Or, it can be even shorter, for example, serving as a visiting nurse, for a day, week or month. In this case, you may be an employee of a contracting firm or agency and they’ll probably be handling all the taxes for you. Or, you may have an “on-call” relationship with a number of organizations that contract directly with you to do the specified work. This latter arrangement puts you in the category of independent contractor.

If you decide to become an independent contractor, it’s important that you understand exactly how the relationship between you and the client – note that it’s not an employer – should work. If you’re an independent contractor, you will receive no benefits (paid vacation, sick leave, health insurance) from your client and you’ll be responsible for paying all of your own taxes. Assume those taxes will amount to at least 35 - 40 percent of your income, which is one of the reasons companies love working with independent contractors. In addition, you are not able to collect unemployment once your contract ends.

Being part of this expanding “contingent workforce,” however, has benefits for those seeking portable careers. It’s important that you understand what being an independent contract guarantees you.

According to the IRS,the general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. This is a very important point. A client cannot insist on how you work, for example, in their office or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. This flexibility is your key benefit and what can make becoming an independent contractor so attractive to military spouses.

What types of independent contracting work might you do? Some of the most common types include:

  • Accounting
  • Applications developer
  • Appointment booker (for insurance agents, real estate agents, etc.)
  • Customer service/call center rep
  • Delivery driver
  • Fitness instructor
  • Medical transcriptionist
  • Nursing
  • Online product training
  • Personal shopper
  • Phone sales
  • Phone-based or online technical support
  • Researcher
  • Software and systems programming
  • Website design and development

Consider this a starter list and assume that whatever skill you have (or can develop) may be doable on a contract basis. Don’t hesitate to pitch your skills as an independent contractor to a potential employer. In fact, why not gather a bunch of your like-minded friends together for a brainstorming session to come up with types of work you each could do as independent contractors? You may be pleasantly surprised with the list of options available to you!

For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.

Weekly Poll

Do you have a LinkedIn profile?