Full-time employment, independent contracting, or side hustle?
July 9, 2020
July 9, 2020
Are you struggling to choose between full-time employment, becoming an independent contractor, or balancing a combination of both? The right fit will be unique to you: your personal goals, your risk-tolerance, and your current and future financial aspirations.
To help you make the best decision, we’ll explore the ups and downs of full-time employment, self-employment, and side hustles. What are the benefits and challenges that come with each? And what should you consider before making the leap?
A traditional full-time job may not offer the freedom of self-employment, but it does have its perks.
Benefits like health care, workers’ compensation, unemployment protection, and paid vacations can be hard to walk away from. And don’t forget the financial security of a steady paycheck, built-in career paths, professional development opportunities, and team camaraderie.
That said, relying on one employer can still be risky. No job is 100 percent secure. As an employee, you have very little visibility or control over the company’s management decisions. Layoffs can happen at any time, and most states allow “at-will” agreements that give employers the right to sever ties without cause.
70 percent of employees believe traditional jobs are more secure than independent work.
Which do you value more: Stability or autonomy? Comfort or challenge?
If you have a lower tolerance for risk and prefer a predictable, steady gig, full-time may be the way to go.
Also, if you like to focus on your own niche role and let other team members handle things like back-office work and sales, traditional employment may be the better fit.
Self-employed independent contractors — freelancers, contract technicians, solopreneurs — provide specific services to client companies for a defined period of time. They choose their hours and projects and typically work with little or no supervision.
Self-employment can also be quite lucrative. The average income for full-time independents is $68,300 (compared to around $49,000 for full-time employees). And around 20 percent earn more than $100,000 per year.
Of course, there are challenges to consider. Hard barriers — reasons people can’t become self-employed — include:
Soft barriers — why people have avoided becoming self-employed — include:
Independent contractors also don’t get employer-provided vacation and sick leave, retirement, workers’ comp, unemployment, or health coverage. Cash flow can also be unpredictable.
30 percent of full-time independents cite a lack of job security as a major concern.
38 percent of full-time independent Millennials use online talent marketplaces, compared to just 15 percent of Gen Xers and 13 percent of Baby Boomers.
What’s most important to you — money, achievement, longevity? Do you want the freedom to choose when, how, and where you work? Are you willing to put in the time necessary to thrive as a full-time independent contractor?
Would you miss the social interactions with your coworkers, or the sense of collaboration that comes with being part of a team?
What about your health? Are you prepared to learn everything you need to know about the challenges and complexities of providing your own health and business insurance? Do you have a plan for how you’ll receive care, or what you’ll do in a worst-case scenario?
Do you have the financial cushion needed to manage inconsistent cash flow? Traditional payment arrangements can range from net 30 to net 60 (or even longer). What about the “net nevers,” the clients who simply don’t pay you at all. And are you ready to keep track of individual 1099s, as well as the state and city tax requirements for each location in which you work?
58 percent of self-employed professionals say they work odd hours, 44 percent say that they perform a much wider variety of daily tasks, and 35 percent say that they take more risks.
Independent work and full-time employment can go hand-in-hand. For every full-time independent contractor, someone else is doing it on a part-time or occasional basis.
In the U.S., the number of “occasional independents” rose from 10.5 million in 2016 to 15 million in 2019.
The side hustle lets you keep your steady paycheck while exploring self-employment or a new field. Part-time independents can also take on projects to supplement their income and help keep up with rising education, health care, and housing costs.
But in addition to the usual challenges that go along with self-employment, part-time independents have to coordinate side projects around their full-time jobs. This can mean working early mornings, evenings, and weekends.
Are you hoping to eventually transition to full-time self-employment, or are you simply looking to supplement your income? Either way, be honest with yourself about how many hours you’re willing to dedicate to your side business.
And don’t forget about all the extra paperwork at tax time. Unlike that one simple W2 you get from your employer, taking on side gigs means you’ll need to keep track of your tax liabilities from each job.
Whether you choose the self-employment route or take on a side gig in addition to your full-time job, Field Nation is here to help you reach your goals by tapping into our marketplace of over 7,000+ companies looking for high-quality, experienced technicians.
Ready to sign up? Visit fieldnation.com/signup to start connecting with new clients and opportunities today.
Findings reinforce growth in independent contract work in IT field service is not a fleeting trend but an attractive and sustainable way of working for experienced technicians – while labor platforms and diversified projects make it easier to find and love their work.
To understand the landscape of independent contracting in field services, Field Nation surveyed over 800 field service technicians. Download our research study to see how contract work has evolved and why it's preferred.White Paper
Join Field Nation for an exclusive live webinar with Field Nation CEO Mynul Khan on 4/6 to get a sneak peek at the findings from our original research study: "The State of Independent Contracting in Field Services."Webinar