What It Takes To Be An Independent Contractor, Part Two

This is the second part of our brief series on what it takes to be an independent contractor. You can check out part one, then read the rest of the series here as we pick up our tips from number four.

4. You have to learn how to pack for business travel. This is much different than packing to go on vacation. You have to remember to pack for business, pleasure and relaxation. You have to remember to pack any business manuals. You have to remember to pack all toiletries. You might have to remember to bring your laptop. You certainly must remember to bring any medications you might need. And you might want to pack things such as plastic utensils, plates, and even snacks and foods you can eat in the hotel.

5. You have to learn how to be self assured. You don’t get to be a shrinking violet if you’re going to be an independent contractor. Your learning curve is much shorter than working a traditional job; after all, you’re being promoted as a professional who knows backward and forward how to do the job you’re being hired for. You need to be ready to write reports of your progress, something you probably didn’t have to do as an employee. You have to be ready to give your opinion whenever asked. You have to learn how to defer to others at times. You have to learn NOT to give answers to questions you don’t know, but then know how to go find the answers required. You don’t go in as a know-it-all, but you do go in as someone who’s supposed to be very competent in everything you do.

6. You have to be ready for anything. You could arrive at a client site and be heading back home on the same day because they’ve decided to go in a different direction. You could be asked to stay much longer than you had intended. You could be asked to do a different job than what you had anticipated. You might have to stand up for yourself when it comes to the hotel choice. You might find yourself having to deal with many different personalities. And you might find yourself totally alone, not making friends with anyone you work with or outside of work, and spending a lot of time in your own company.