Independent? It Doesn’t Mean Alone!

So you call yourself independent.  What exactly does that mean?

Did you form a company, corporation, or LLC?  Do you have to cover your down time out of your own pocket?  Do you have a slew of recruiters that talk to you about work, with only 2 or 3 actually finding you decent clients and positions.  Do you pay for your own benefits, insurance, IRA, etc?  Technically, this will make you independent, but it’s only part of your picture.

Your fiscal liability/responsibility makes you independent, but you can’t end it there.  Independent also means having the network and reputation that allows you to move about freely from client to client without more downtime than you want.  No one starts a gas station or a legal firm without having a known group of customers.  Why would we expect that just because we know our software that we can keep ourselves in steady(ish) work?

How many past clients have offered you a job?

How many other consultants that you’ve worked with have called you to come on another project with them?

How many consulting firms have called you with offers to join their ranks?

If you don’t have multiple examples of the above, I might suggest that you are independent in your own mind only.  That may be harsh, but we’ve all worked with consultants who seem smart enough, but then we have to keep them away from the client, or give them menial tasks without deadlines.

Independence means you are controlling your own future, not drifting at the whim of the economy.  Independence means you have multiple opportunities where you have been asked for by name and you choose the best direction for yourself.  Independence means you are still learning and growing because you want to, not because you have to.  Independence means that you understand all the people you need to associate with to maintain your company.  Independence means actively seeking the best solutions for your clients, but understanding where they are in the process.

We’re part of the fire that is burning
And from the ashes we can build another day

If this sparks any thoughts, I'd love to listen! Please Comment...