Working as an Independent Contractor: How to Earn More Money

Tough times for everyone


Have you recently lost your job, or have you taken a pay cut to keep the position you have? You are certainly not alone. The United States economy is in a state most of us have never seen before, with unemployment still high and few indications the worst is over. Even when the economic crisis abates, it has been reported that many jobs lost to the recession will not return. Because employment opportunities are scarcer than they were a decade ago, many men and women have turned to self-employment as a career option. They have returned to the labor force as Independent Contractors.

If you are self-employed, you can establish the value of your work and charge for it accordingly. The opportunity to make more than you made as an employee certainly exists, depending on your expertise and competition in the market. No matter what you charge for your services, however, you will eventually want to earn more money. Let’s face it; sooner or later we all need a raise. Working for someone else usually meant an annual salary increase or bonus, and if this was not forthcoming, you could always ask for more money. Putting a few extra dollars in your pocket is very different for the Independent Contractor—it requires planning and effort. If you are running a small operation and cannot invest your profits, the prospects of increasing your income will largely be determined by a combination of factors: your available time; your standing and reputation in your field; and, your knowledge and experience.

So what does it take to earn more money?


Read more about small business success with products from Amazon.com

Images of Making a Living

Everyone can use a little more of this
Everyone can use a little more of this
These are tough times
These are tough times
To make more money, we need to manage our time well
To make more money, we need to manage our time well
We can only cut hair so many hours a day
We can only cut hair so many hours a day
Niche markets can be lucrative
Niche markets can be lucrative
Customer satisfaction will enhance our reputation
Customer satisfaction will enhance our reputation
It is important to clearly outline goals
It is important to clearly outline goals
Follow your dreams
Follow your dreams
The ladder of success?  It's pointed in the right direction, at least
The ladder of success? It's pointed in the right direction, at least

Four ways to increase your earnings


Regardless of what your business might be, there are general practices you can follow to achieve your goals. If your goal is to give yourself a raise, it is necessary to examine your business and see what options exist for you. You can certainly charge more for your services, but if you charge too much or increase your prices too often, your customer base will likely erode. In broad terms, you will bring in more money through taking one or more of the following actions, all geared toward improving yourself and your business:


1. Devote more time to your business. If you cut hair for six hours every day at $20 each and each haircut took ½ hour, your maximum earning potential is $240 per day. If you extended each workday another two hours, you can earn $80 more. Even if the extra $80 still isn’t enough, working more hours can benefit you indirectly. You might become faster at cutting hair and manage three haircuts in an hour instead of two; or, you might develop a broad base of loyal customers that keeps your appointment schedule filled. Putting in more time is the simplest way to bring in extra money, but it is the hardest path to follow for long-term success. There are only so many hours you can devote to cutting hair, and then you must find a different way to increase your earnings.

If you cannot devote more time to your business, it will be necessary to manage your time better. Using your time well adds value to your business by fitting in a few more phone calls or meeting with a new customer each day. Time management increases your efficiency and allows you to earn more money without charging more. It is the most straightforward way to give yourself a raise; you are doing more in less time.


2. Increase your knowledge. The top professionals in any field are experts, and you should strive to increase your knowledge to the extent you are regarded as an authority. It is not enough to call yourself an expert—your accomplishments must demonstrate you are indeed the best at what you do. To improve your knowledge you might attend college, network with other professionals in your field, find a mentor, or conduct your own research.

Opportunities sometimes exist to combine knowledge of disparate fields to create something new. For example, Steve Jobs saw what technology could do for animated films and helped Pixar rise from obscurity to unparalleled achievement in animation. Psychologists now use artwork as a form of therapy, and some universities offer art therapy as a degree. The merging of two fields of endeavor created new categories of experts.

You can also become an expert through focusing your efforts on a smaller, highly specific niche. Expanding into a niche market offers less competition and can be highly lucrative, provided the niche offers a relevant product or service and has sufficient demand to be worthwhile. Shoe stores that sell only athletic shoes are an excellent example of capitalizing on a niche market—it takes training and knowledge to know what shoes a competitive athlete requires.


3. Gain more experience. You can increase your knowledge through academic pursuits or mentoring, but true experts in their field combine their knowledge with experience. There is no short-cut to gaining experience—you have to put in the time. Hands-on experience is reassuring to customers and colleagues alike, and many businesses will tout their know-how and longevity in their advertising. Whether the caption reads “locally owned for over 30 years” or “billions and billions served,” consumers equate experience with value and trustworthiness. Experience couples wisdom with knowledge to make you a true authority. You will notice more clearly where your business should go. You will anticipate trends instead of reacting to them, and your entrepreneurial eye will see new and innovative ways to enhance your business. You will own the bandwagon others jump onto with the opportunities your expertise creates for you. Success is a product of good judgment, and good judgment is a product of experience.


4. Improve your reputation. This can be accomplished in a number of ways already mentioned: improving your knowledge and experience, gaining more satisfied customers, developing a reputation as an expert in a niche market, etc. Your reputation can also be improved through identifying yourself and your business with principles and actions others respect. Customer satisfaction or fast service, for example, are principles your customers will value. Linking yourself to humanitarian efforts or local causes can also enhance your standing in your community. No matter what your approach may be, the common denominator in any attempt to improve your reputation is authenticity. Your reputation must be built on accomplishments—it cannot be simply a public relations campaign.

If your reputation is exemplary, you may be sought out for participation in charities or civic affairs. Others will seek to link their reputation to yours. If you maintain your perspective and carefully select who you choose to affiliate with, it will only further enhance your now-sterling reputation.


In summation

Take a few minutes to think about the possibilities. How much more money do you need or want to accumulate? How much do you wish to earn annually? What financial decisions do you need to make to accomplish these goals? What actions can you take today to move toward them? As you consider all the possibilities you will become motivated to achieve your goals, especially if your goals are exciting enough to inspire your passion and creativity.  These four suggestions are certainly not the only ways to make more money for yourself or your business--they are only a few general ways to improve your financial picture.  You will find many more with time.


Follow your dreams


This article is meant as encouragement to everyone trying to survive on their own. As a writer and artist, I have learned that working as an Independent Contractor is not an easy task—it is time consuming, the risks are many, and the work can be stressful. Despite the inherent difficulties, most Independent Contractors (including me) still perceive the advantages of self-employment as far outweighing the disadvantages. Studies reveal that more than four out of five Independent Contractors preferred self-employment to working for someone else. Even among those forced into self-employment because they were downsized or fired, 66% claimed they would rather be working for themselves. The ability to exert control over your life and make choices for yourself is important—so important that in the United States, a new home business is launched every few seconds. Businesses built not only on dreams and aspirations, but hard work and sacrifice. Businesses just like yours and mine.

Good luck and I hope you achieve all your goals.



Comments 55 comments

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

As a fellow independent contractor (executive coach), I heartily endorse all of the above information which is on the mark and exceedingly relevant. Thanks for putting it all together in a very easy-to-follow manner, Mike.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Drbj, thanks for the kind words. These and the other articles I've published here were actually intended to be part of a book I started long ago. The book never got finished, but it seemed like the time was better than ever to put the ideas out in one form or another. Thanks for your comments and opinions, I appreciate them greatly. Have a good (long?) weekend.

Mike


Kai777 6 years ago

Mike, this article is excellent! It is suited for every person striving to accomplish any goal. I believe somewhere inside we all have an entrepreneurial spirit.


Kai777 6 years ago

Also, I think that would be a great book. Your style is very easy to comprehend. I personally, am glad you decided to release it is some form. Kai


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Kai, thanks for reading. I also believe we all have the entrepreneurial spirit within us, and we are seeing it more often in these changing times. The business model is slowly shifting from a corporate model to an entrepreneurial model, and it will make for some interesting changes in the future.

Thanks as well for the kind words about my writing. I have been pulling a few sections at a time out of the book I was writing to allow some of it to finally see the light of day. I still think it would make a good book, too.

Thanks again.

Mike


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Great hub, and I found it very encouraging. It does take some lead time, not only to find your niche, and you have to research that, it won't just come to you; but also working on growing your income, all the time.

Very good hub, Mike. Keep up the good work! And you are so right--the effort is very rewarding and fulfilling for us all.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Paradise, thanks for stopping by. You are absolutely correct in saying it all takes time--whether you are just starting out or trying to increase your market share, it doesn't happen overnight. It is always about effort, persistence and sometimes a little luck. Thanks again for reading and offering your insights. Have a great weekend.

Mike


Allan Douglas profile image

Allan Douglas 6 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

You can count me in that 4 out of 5 who prefer self employment. It's tought at times, but worth the effort.

Another good, solid hub. Thanks for the info.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thanks for stopping by, Allan. Include me in the 80% also. I have to get jobs sometimes to level things out, but I am much happier working for myself. Thanks again.

Mike


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

Thanks Mike - Excellent Tips. As you stated there are many risks but we just hope our paths cross with very nice people. From experience, there are some people who are such a pleasure to do Business with.

I am enjoying this series as I have probably mentioned before, I have a small IT Training Business - (since 2001 and operate it p/time) So, these Hubs are like refresher courses for me. I should pay you for preparing me to be more effective. lol.

I've made a note of NO 4 - Humanitarian efforts. Maybe I could offer free training in some way or something else. Good Idea.

Thanks and Best Wishes.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi, Elena. You are correct, self-employment does offer the benefit of frequently finding some quality people to interact with. It is indeed a pleasure when that happens.

Linking your business to humanitarian efforts is truly a win-win scenario. You are doing good for your community (or the world), and you are gaining notoriety and respect for doing so. In some extreme instances, a business' public service efforts are what they are primarily known for--the business itself is secondary--at least in the eyes of the public. They make public service such an integral part of their identity it becomes their public face.

Thanks for stopping by--I am appreciative, as always. Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

Mike


equealla profile image

equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

Mike, I will come back to this hub to read the links. This is a bunch of nice tips, and I am glad you made it available.

I am self employed in the medical field for 23 years now, and it was not allways rosy, but definitely worth it. I will never be able to work for a boss in my life again.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Equealla, thanks for reading. Your success is inspiring, and I am pleased that someone with your experience working for yourself finds my articles helpful. I understand your feelings about not wanting to work for a boss ever again. Thanks again.

Mike


John B Badd profile image

John B Badd 6 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

This is an inspirational hub with some very sound advice. I have been considering a few business ventures when I get investment capital next tax season. Your advice on increasing knowledge has helped motivate me to find out more about home wiring (a field I have some technical experience in but lack the necessary knowledge to excel at).


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Cheers to having more control of our lives and situation Bud. I've been trying to get closer to self reliance on my art and writing for many years, decades now really, and still haven't got there yet. But I 'm not giving up, and you offer some really valuable direction for folks such as ourselves.

I liked:

"No matter what your approach may be, the common denominator in any attempt to improve your reputation is authenticity. Your reputation must be built on accomplishments—it cannot be simply a public relations campaign."

Where's the dang "easy" button on this art career dammit! Haha. Great words of advice mon frere.

Ben


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

John, thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you found some value in what I have written here. The most knowledgeable and most experienced command the most money, and working our way up to the status of expert allows us to charge accordingly. It isn't easy, but when you are considered an expert, your reputation will serve you in numerous ways. Everyone wants to hire the best.

I'm tremendously pleased you found some motivation in my words, and good luck when it's time to get your business off the ground. Take care.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ben! Nice to see ya! Thanks for stopping by. I here you talking about trying to achieve some self-sufficiency through writing and artwork. It is a tough road, but I'm not going to pack it in, either--no matter how hard it gets, this is still what I want to do. That easy button would certainly come in handy, though.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you'll feel free to visit again. When you get a chance, perhaps you can write a little bit yourself sometime soon--when that new addition to your family gives you a chance, that is!

Take care, my friend, and thanks again.

Mike


Artoflegendindia 6 years ago

Great hub. your hub is very excellent.I like your hub because your method and your basic is the best for earning money and concentration on your business.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Artoflegendindia, thanks for reading. I appreciate your comments very much, and I'm glad you found my article to be of value. Thanks again.

Mike


TruthAwake profile image

TruthAwake 6 years ago from The Dirty South

These are truly words for the wise. When you get down to the nitty gritty of things, taking off as an entrepreneur has little room for short cuts. In other words, don't get into the biz if you aren't willing to roll up your sleeves, at least initially! But the hard work is DEFINITELY worth the results, and those who prove successful get what they put in.

Helpful hub, thanks for the solid advice!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

TruthAwake, thanks for reading. I agree with you completely--working for yourself is a task that can't be undertaken half-heartedly. If you're not ready to give your best effort, you won't find success. I also agree that the results are totally worthwhile once things get going.

You do indeed get what you put into it.

Thanks so much for your insights, I appreciate it greatly.

Mike


mrali2010 profile image

mrali2010 6 years ago

nice hub i really like it


cooperfsu profile image

cooperfsu 6 years ago from Valencia, Spain

Good Hub, great information


jexon 6 years ago

very nice work


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

mrali2010, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it a lot.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

cooperfsu, thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Have a great weekend.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

jexon, thanks for reading. I'm glad you liked my work. Stop by again any time.

Mike


shashidhar reddy profile image

shashidhar reddy 6 years ago from Hyderabad

fantastic hub with your great information.....


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

shashidhar reddy, thanks for your comments. I appreciate your stopping by.

Mike


zamboy321 profile image

zamboy321 6 years ago from Philippines

Very good information. The four ways you cited refer more to the service providers, skilled or professional services and not to the store owners selling products.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Zamboy, thanks for stopping by. You are correct, I addressed these ideas primarily from the standpoint of a service provider, but I still hope you gained something from reading. I do appreciate your stopping by. Take care,

Mike


SUSIE DUZY profile image

SUSIE DUZY 6 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

Great Hub, I recently retired and then decided I need to make some more money. I found a job as an independent contractor and absolutely love it.


rmills123 profile image

rmills123 6 years ago from Ecru,Ms

Great hub. That is so good advice. I look forward to more great hubs.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Susie Duzy, thanks for your comments. Self-employment seems to be the direction for many folks these days, and it is important to be prepared going in. I wish you success in your business.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Rmills123, thanks for reading. I appreciate your kind words about my article and hope you stop by again sometime. Thanks, and have a great evening.

Mike


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 6 years ago from Massachusetts

I enjoyed and rated up your well written Hub. One of the reasons I'm self-employed is that economy you mentioned, and it appears even with this "pronouncing" the recession is over, the unemployment picture may not change much for another ten years. The brighter side of that picture is, as you said, it gives a person that boost in the direction of following his dreams (or some version of them anyway). At this point, I wouldn't want to be someone employee now.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Lisa, thanks for reading and offering your insights. "Pronouncing" the recession over is pretty much equivalent to telling the American people they're on their own from here on out. Self-employment is almost the only viable option left because so many of the jobs lost are not coming back. As businesses try to make do with less, the people that do have jobs are working harder than ever for less benefit. The corporate business model might have to give way to an entrepreneurial model to affect a return to anything resembling prosperity. I wish you success in your own business, and I hope others emulate your initiative and follow their dreams. Thanks again.

Mike


DaisyExpress profile image

DaisyExpress 6 years ago

I always enjoy reading a good hub with lots of useful information. I am a self employed furniture builder specializing in reclaimed materials. Love what I do and it seems to be recession resistant....cross my fingers. Thanks again, Sheryl


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

DaisyExpress, thanks for stopping by. I am an advocate for anyone who makes a living working for themselves, and it is great that your business has weathered the storm of recession well. I wish you continued success in your endeavors, and I appreciate your stopping by and leaving a comment. Thanks again.

Mike


sylicon profile image

sylicon 6 years ago from United State

Vote Up For U


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Sylicon, thanks for visiting. I appreciate your stopping by, and for voting up my article. Thanks again.

Mike


cannian 6 years ago

wa! It is very good


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Cannian, thanks for reading. I appreciate your kind words.

Mike


reversecharles profile image

reversecharles 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

well done and a very timely hub. I like to tell people to invest in a toll free phone number.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Reversecharles, thanks for stopping by. I agree that the value of a toll free number cannot be understated. It adds weight and professionalism to your endeavors in the eyes of your customers, and it makes it easy for them to work with you. Thanks again for stopping by and offering your insights.

Mike


henrykasan profile image

henrykasan 6 years ago from UK

Good Hub!!!!!!

The hub is explicitly dedicated towards self employment as a labor contractor. As mentioned in the hub the United States economy is in a state most of us have never seen before, with unemployment still high and few indications the worst is over.The best part which I noticed is that hub is being published at an appropriate time.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Henrykasan, thanks for your comments. I appreciate your kind words, both about the content and timeliness of this article. These are stressful times for many Americans and, despite a bizarre declaration that the recession is over a day or two ago, things are not getting much better. I hope everyone working for themselves finds success--it is in so many ways the best option.

Thanks again for your kind words.

Mike


PatrickNormandin profile image

PatrickNormandin 6 years ago from New York

Great and true ides! Thanks for sharing.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

PatrickNormandin, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your reading and leaving a comment. Take care.

Mike


mehwish 6 years ago

my personal articale


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Mehwish, thanks for stopping by.

Mike


TechTrendy 6 years ago

Mike, your article is great. I was a independent contract driver for a few years and now as a LMT. One section of your article really stood out to me which was:

"it is time consuming, the risks are many, and the work can be stressful. Despite the inherent difficulties, most Independent Contractors (including me) still perceive the advantages of self-employment as far outweighing the disadvantages"

I have bit my tongue, stressed over billsb looked at my girlfriend as she slept with concern while investing in my business and wondering the final outcome. However after putting in the time, hours and effort working for someone else just made no sense to me anymore. Why should someone else earn the money I worked hard to generate as they sit behind the scenes claiming to manage my productivity. Once you reap the rewards of being independent you see the world through a different lens.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Tech Trendy, thanks for reading and offering your insights. Your feelings are shared by many--it is extremely difficult to sell our time and labor in exchange for money while allowing others to own our productivity. Our time and labor are limited resources, and we will never reach our potential selling it to others. It is indeed a different scenario to own our productivity and reap the rewards of its use.

Thanks again for stopping by, I appreciate your comments a great deal. Take care.

Mike


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

Economic growth without social progress lets the great majority of people remain in poverty, while a privileged few reap the benefits of rising abundance.

John F. Kennedy

Entrepreneurship maybe the only way for some, especially those of us that are over 50. Entrepreneurs can turn a new page for the nation. Hopefully, we've learn a lesson from this downturn, humility, humbleness, selflessness and to remember from whence we came.

I would prefer taking the plunge and working as a independent contractor than allowing a stranger with only self interest to hold my economic life in their hands.

Excellent hub, bookmarked, voted up, marked useful and shared. Thanks Mike L.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

pmccray, thanks for your comments. I agree with you completely--the lessons of the economic downturn is not that "greed is good." It is also true that short-sighted business practices will not benefit ANYONE long term, except perhaps the guy at the very top, who is already planning his exit strategy after driving a business into the ground. The entrepreneurial spirit is not a "grab it all, own it all, drain it all" proposition. It is about win-win scenarios.

I agree completely that entrepreneurship might be the only option for people over 50, Most of us don't fit the business model for corporate America, who wants employees half our age at half the price. It is preferable to sell our skills than our time--at least if we want to succeed in the end.

Thanks for your comments and insights--I agree with them completely.

Mike

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Learn more about self-employment with information from Amazon.com

    More by this Author

    • Functions of Effective Leadership
      53

      What is leadership? What makes someone a leader? These are questions that are asked everywhere two or more people gather for a common purpose. From primitive tribes thousands of years ago to the management of...

    • How to Return Anything for a Refund
      28

      Are you frustrated with the returns policies used by the stores you shop from? You aren't alone. This article is a practical and illuminating guide that will help you when you need to return an item for a refund. It...

    • The Decline and Fall of the NBA
      29

      What happened to the NBA I used to know and love? During the 2009-2010 season, I watched the Washington Wizards play the Boston Celtics and witnessed an amazing spectacle: the Wizards failed to rebound during the entire...


    Click to Rate This Article
    working