Professional Independence Project

In this video, you'll learn how to tell if your career is plateauing due to the Executive Blues. You'll also learn what you can do to fix the problem and get your "executive energy" back so you can keep your career on track and set goals to reach new heights of success!

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Have you ever dreamed of being your own boss, but were too afraid to make the leap? Maybe you didn’t feel you had the business knowledge. Or, you heard the dismal statistics that 2 out of 3 startups fail in the first 5 years? Well, there is a way you can become an Instant Entrepreneur and minimize the risk of failure. It’s called, becoming an Independent Contractor.

Upsides Of Being An "IC"

Independent Contractors, or “ICs” as they are called, don’t work directly for a company. Instead they partner with a company to deliver their services. Did you know it’s predicted as much as 40% of the American workforce will be ICs in the next decade? Companies can’t offer the kind of job stability they did in the past. In fact, today, every job is temporary. That’s why people are taking the situation in their own hands and becoming ICs - so they can learn how to have more control over their professional destiny in an uncertain labor market. Plus, they love being their own bosses! Now, some people are “freelance” ICs, meaning they go out and find companies and try to sell them their expertise. Like software engineers or digital marketing consultants. This can be harder to be successful at because you are all on your own. But, what if you could work for yourself, but not by yourself?

Independent Agents = Instant Entrepreneur

There is another kind of IC that many people don’t know about. They are independent agents of a business. For example, Aflac*, the insurance company, hires Independent Contractors as their insurance agents. One of the best things about being this type of IC is that it works very similarly to franchise businesses. You get all the training, support, and brand recognition of the company, which increases your ability to be successful. For example, with Aflac:
  • They provide extensive training, and they offer it in various formats to support your preferred way of learning. Whether you like a classroom setting, or online tools and materials, they provide hands-on support to help their insurance agents get up-to-speed to grow and prosper.
  • Additionally, Aflac is a Fortune 500 company and has been on the list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies** for 10 consecutive years. Having a reputation like that behind you as an insurance agent makes it much easier to prove to customers they are working with a good company.
  • And, being an insurance agent with Aflac has financial perks too. Besides unlimited earning power, there are trips, awards and even stock bonus contributions for top performers.
In short, choosing to become an insurance agent with Aflac is just one example of how being this type of Independent Contractor can make you an “Instant Entrepreneur” - and succeed at it too! Want more information about becoming an Aflac agent, please visit www.aflac.com/agents. NOTE: Aflac is a content partner of this website and sponsor of this post. *Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. Aflac agents are independent agents and are not employees of Aflac. **FORTUNE Worlds Most Ethical Companies is a registered trademark of Time Inc. and are used under License. FORTUNE and Time Inc. are not affiliated with, and do not endorse products or services of, Aflac.

“Sure! Let me get back to you on that.” As I hung up the phone, I wondered at how my work life had changed over the years. At the time, I was working full-time as the HR manager for a startup company, but the phone call was from another company in town looking for a few hours of HR project support. Related: Find Out How Much You're Worth To Employers All of my life, I have wanted to “do my own thing.” While my wife has known that since we first met, she has told all along that she never wants me to own my own business. Funny enough, I often have to remind her that I’m already doing it, just not in the traditional sense. If you have the interest and the availability, you could do the very same thing. Here’s how I made it work for me:

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Are you sick and tired of depending on other people for your career success? GOOD! The only person in charge of your success is you. If you’re feeling trapped by a job you hate, a bad boss, insulting pay, or all of the above, it’s time you take ownership of your career. Okay, great - but where do you start? Here are three things you can do to start taking control of your career today:

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November is upon us, which means the Professional Independence Project is coming to an end. In case you missed some of the great advice we shared this month, here are 18 fantastic tips from our contributors on becoming professionally independent!

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This post is part of the Professional Independence Project series. Despite the doom and gloom of the current job market, you’ll find that a revolution is forming that’s quickly changing the world of work as we know it. Many Millennials have jumped ship in favor of being their own boss, while older generations are learning to build side businesses in tandem with their day jobs. What do they know that most of us don’t? The economy has changed and we’re no longer handed a job upon graduating college. In fact, a college degree doesn’t do much to set you apart now, and you’re lucky if you can get a job at all. In 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released an alarming stat; the average American worker stays at a job less than four and a half years.
You are responsible for creating your own job title and carving out a successful career.
This is why being the CEO of yourself is so important now. You are responsible for creating your own job title and carving out a successful career. We can no longer rely on having a secure job for the next 40 years and applying for Social Security during retirement at age 70. Both of these ideals are completely dead.

Why You Should Think Like A 'Business-Of-One'

Here are three reasons why everyone should think of themselves as a business-of-one.

1. Building a personal brand.

Whether it’s right now or in the future, you need to have the flexibility to control your income. The harder you work, the more money you can earn, which means that building your personal brand - with a good reputation - is key. What can a personal brand do for you? Well, a lot actually. For one, it can connect you with influential experts and help you get on the radar of industry experts. This comes in handy if you need to pull some strings to land a job, or if you want to work with big-name companies to become a brand ambassador.

2. Accurately build your reputation.

The Internet isn’t going anywhere, neither are social sites like Twitter or Facebook, so instead of shying away from these public outlets, it’s time to embrace them. You can control what the media says about you, and curate your own perspective. Media nightmares are a real thing, but you can put out those fires by establishing a personal website, while controlling what comments are shared about you and your business on social media. When a potential influencer, client, or employer does a search online, they’ll be able to view the accurate information about you, instead of pulling up rumors and other incorrect data. That is a priceless benefit to both you and your family. You can establish a reputation that even your children can lean on and use as a jumping off point.

3. Reaching independence and freedom.

Having the freedom to do what you want and create an unconventional lifestyle is something many of us crave. The only way to achieve this is to become the CEO of your life and create your own dream job. Career conscious go-getters no longer strive for work-life balance; instead, they strive for a blending of work and life that’s only available through a location independent lifestyle. Most bosses don’t allow work-vacations (called workcations) but if you’re the CEO, you can travel anywhere you want, while taking the work with you. This kind of freedom not only affects how and when you work, but your financial standing as well. You can have control over your income since you’re not wasting time building some else’s dream. You’re able to branch out into different income streams and diversify how you make a living. This nearly eliminates the possibility of becoming bored and enables you to reach the freedom you’ve been striving for. Essentially, the reason you should think of yourself as a business-of-one is because you are one! The economy and job market are no longer the same and in order to evolve with the new world of work you have to adapt at becoming the CEO of your life.

Want to take control of your career?

If you want to take control of your career, check out our fall series, the Professional Independence Project. Throughout the month of October, we will be sharing expert advice and insight on how you can build a successful career you love. Sign up now to get five FREE video tutorials that show you how to market yourself to anyone, anywhere. Start your path the professional independence. Sign up today!       Photo Credit: Shutterstock