Somewhere in the deep reaches of my brain, I always knew that slaving away for "the man" just wasn’t for me. In my office career, I sat on the sidelines, twiddling my thumbs, hoping for change to come find me. “Look on the bright side,” I would tell myself, “at least having a cubicle instead of a big office means less room to clean."
I finally reached a point where I was done waiting for change to fall into my lap. It was time to take control of my own life.
One of the most common questions I’m asked is, what does it take to be an Independent Provider? Does becoming a provider require a certain type of personality? The truth is, if you have the right traits, becoming an Independent Provider can be fulfilling, flexible and profitable. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of becoming an Independent Contractor and how you can utilize your personality to become one yourself.
Every single one of us has a unique skill. Many of us take our skills for granted because we fail to recognize their value. Sure, maybe that weird thing you can do isn’t going to land you a paycheck (probably), but somewhere inside of you lives a skill you can sell.
Beepoly is all about using those skills to earn extra cash. If you’re a professional or amateur carpenter, electrician, or handyman, there’s a place for you here. If you’ve got a technical skill, such as web development or design, Beeoply provides a platform for sharing your skills with the world. If you have a sense of style, know all about healthy living, or are just a great planner – you can be a stylist, wedding planner, health coach or personal trainer. There’s even a place for you if your expertise is simply a thorough knowledge of your city’s history, cultural landmarks, ghost stories, or almost anything else.
But why put out the effort? Why should I go through the trouble of launching my own freelance career? As you’ll soon see, there are many reasons.
You’re in Control
While I’ve never been a control freak, I’ve always had an issue watching others take credit for my work. If you’ve ever worked in a team environment, you know how it feels to be constantly overlooked and underappreciated.
When you work for someone else, you sacrifice your personal freedom, placing yourself at the mercy of their whims. In contrast, when you’re an Independent Provider, you’re in control of your own destiny. Have you ever had a boss that refused to adapt, even when there were clear ways to improve how things were done? Have you ever had a boss who insisted on meeting certain sales or production metrics instead of doing whatever it took to satisfy the customer? Have you ever had a boss who was simply incompetent? Trust me, I’ve been there. It stinks.
When you’re a full-time Independent Provider, you’re no longer just another sheep in the herd. When I first started my freelance business, I became a part-time Independent Provider. While it was nice having an additional form of income, I still had to put up with bosses breathing down my neck. If you’re anything like me, once you take a deep breath of freelance freedom, you’ll know that being only part-time happy isn’t an option.
Have you ever missed a game or recital just because your manager pressured you into working? Have you ever had to schedule appointments at strange hours because your boss is completely inflexible?
When you’re an Independent Provider, you control your own schedule. If you need to be available for your family at 2:30 on a Thursday afternoon, you can make it happen. Is your mother-in-law coming over for a few hours this Sunday? “Oh jeez, I’m so sorry, honey. I need to work this weekend!” Working on your own time is convenient in more ways than one.
Holding out for a boss who matches your personality type isn’t a luxury most people can afford, especially if you have a family relying on you. Being an Independent Provider means having control over who you work with. Dealing with certain clients simply isn’t worth the paycheck. Being your own boss allows you to decide who’s worth your time and who isn’t.
Doing the Job Right
Some managers are so consumed with speed that they force their staff to rush out projects, even if it meant sacrificing the quality of the work. Being forced to submit sub-par work can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you’re the one who has to deal with an unhappy client. Who do you think is going to get blamed for the poor-quality work? I can guarantee it won’t be your boss.
When you’re an Independent Provider, you can do the job the right way every time. You’ll never have to worry about someone else being in charge of your reputation.
There Is No Set Payday
When you work for yourself, nothing is set in stone unless you want it to be, including your pay schedule. If you’re freelancing full-time, a consistent schedule can be beneficial. Personally, I find that keeping a routine helps me budget more effectively, but some people prefer a more flexible lifestyle, and that’s OK!
If you’re working as an Independent Provider part-time and the money isn’t critical to paying your monthly bills, you can funnel your earnings into a savings account as a hedge against emergency expenses. That way, the next time there’s an unanticipated school fee or car repair, you’ll always have money on hand. As a special bonus, knowing you just solved a family problem with side-gig income is extremely rewarding.
You Can Pay Yourself When You Need It
Having a flexible pay schedule means never having to worry about falling short. If a bill is due the day before payday, you can avoid a late fee just by slightly altering your typical pay routine. If you want to get something special for someone in your family, you don’t have to squeeze it out of the family budget. If an appliance breaks, if your car needs a repair, if your kid needs something for school; everything unexpected can be handled. I once even altered my pay schedule to make sure I had enough cash in my pocket for the state fair. There was simply no way I was missing out on corndogs.
Life is filled to the brim with unexpected expenses and it only takes one to blow your household budget out of the water. Covering those expenses with money you earned working as an Independent Provider creates a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. When you freelance, the connection between the work you do and the benefits your family receives is crystal clear.
1. You're in control
2. Flexible schedule
3. Customer satisfaction in your own hands
If you’re the right kind of person, being an Independent Provider can absolutely change your life for the better. If you’re not the right kind of person, it can leave you feeling lost.
How can you tell if you’re the right type? Most successful Independent Providers have the following personality traits:
Do You Hate Doing What You’re Told?
If you hate doing what you’re told—no matter who is telling you to do it—there’s a good chance that you’re the right kind of person to be a full-time Independent Provider.
If you’re going to work as an Independent Provider, finishing your work without any direction is an essential skill. Being self-motivated doesn’t come without its challenges. There will always be times when you want to procrastinate. (See my previous mention of gobbling down corn dogs at the state fair.)
Here’s the reality: If you’re consistently late with work, you’re not going to be an Independent Provider long. Bad reviews can add up quick, and references aren’t easy to come by. You can’t sustain a business that way. If you have the motivation and the drive, being an Independent Provider is an extremely fulfilling job.
Everyone must work, even when they don’t feel like it. This is true even when you’re an Independent Provider. While having the freedom to plan your day allows for a certain level of flexibility, working hard is an important part of the equation. There's not a soul among us who wouldn't rather be plopped in front of the TV, binging the newest Netflix series, but alas, responsibility calls.
We’ve all had a case of the Monday’s. That doesn’t completely change when you’re an Independent Provider. Sacrifices must still be made. For example, what would you do if you had a job due, but all of your friends were going out for drinks? You could always blow off the job, but you’d almost certainly get bad review, and you certainly won’t get a reference. A single bad review, especially early on in your freelance career, can forever stain your reputation.
Discipline is the key to controlling your schedule. You’ll need to figure out what’s important to you, schedule your work around those things, then stick to the schedule.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most organized person in the universe. As a kid, my mother affectionately referred to my bedroom as a "disaster area." Even though I've shaped up my act since my childhood, I'll always have to deal with the fact that my brain isn't hardwired for organization. That’s why implementing an effective productivity method, and sticking to it, has been the key to my success as an Independent Provider.
If you don’t remember or can’t find the information necessary to complete a job, you’re going to look incompetent, which is a huge no-no in the freelance market. The key to freelance success is not only meeting client expectations, but exceeding them. If you don’t know what those expectations are, you can’t surpass them. Receiving a bad review, especially related to your organization, is akin to changing your profile picture to a selfie of you wearing a dunce cap.
To be successful you need to be:
Being an Independent Provider can be incredibly liberating and fulfilling. The life of a freelancer can be exciting, terrifying, bewildering, and life-affirming all in the same afternoon. Working for myself has given me a reason to instantly jump out of bed in the morning with a pep in my step, instead of repeatedly pressing the snooze button. Being an Independent Provider can be everything you want it to be, but it’s up to you to make it a reality.