If you have decided to become a self-employed, independent contractor, you may find that you'll need or want to work on multiple projects at once to maintain your desired income. This multi-project approach can keep your skills fresh and your mind engaged and can help you broaden your work portfolio as you look for future self-employment opportunities. Before you start down the multi-project path, you'll want to prepare by understanding requirements, knowing how to market your business and find work, and learning some strategies to maintain a healthy workload.
Investigate your requirements. As an independent contractor, you are a business owner and are required to follow rules and regulations designated for small businesses. Visit the Small Business Administration Register Your Business page for information on getting started. You will learn about the following:
- Paying your taxes
- Obtaining necessary licenses
- Creating a business plan
- Finding customers
- Providing services
- Invoicing, collecting payment and paying yourself
Establish your brand name and promote your services to the right audience. Branding your business, whether it's using your own name or establishing a company name, can prepare you for networking and promoting your services. Once you have established your brand, possible ways to connect to your preferred customer base include the following:
- Speaking engagements. Volunteer to speak about your field at local conferences, seminars or training events.
- Networking groups and events. Attend Chamber of Commerce events, symposiums or trade shows related to your field.
- Social media. Establish an online presence where you can offer tips and advice about your field to help establish your credibility.
- Online directories. List your services in business directories that promote military spouse business owners.
- Targeted mailings or contact campaigns. Develop a newsletter or marketing piece and send it to your contacts periodically. You can also devote a few hours a week to contacting companies in your field to promote your services.
Find work assignments. Finding self-employment opportunities can be a challenge. Military Spouse Employment Partnership partners and effective networking can help you find the right opportunities. Here are some strategies to get you started.
- Bid for temporary and contracting assignments with Military Spouse Employment Partnership partners. Many MSEP partners offer independent contracting and temporary positions. You can visit the MSEP Job Search to find partners like that offer temporary and contracting assignments. Research similar organizations, advertise your services and bid for assignments to increase your workload.
- Ask for referrals. Request referrals from existing contacts and satisfied customers.
- Consider government-contracting opportunities. Visit the SBA Learning Center to learn about bidding on government contracts. You may also consider contracting your services to organizations that hold government contracts.
Self-employment through independent contracting allows you to work on multiple projects at once. You can turn what might be part-time work for only one company into a full-time career where you are the boss. Investigate the possibilities, start small and maintain a healthy balance between your work and home life. Your business and income should grow as you increase the number of projects and clients you support.
To find local assistance in your area, visit SBA Local Resources. Consider asking advice from entrepreneurial spouses you know. For more information on independent contracting, visit the Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment section of the Employment Readiness lifecycle stage of MySECO. Call a career coach at 800-342-9647.