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Dealing with Unsteady Work as an Independent Contractor
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Being an independent contractor comes with advantages and it comes with disadvantages. One of the major disadvantages of being an independent contractor is the issue of steady work. By definition as an independent contractor you are not guaranteed work and you only get paid for work you do. You generally work on a contract basis, so if a company does not have work or they do not want to use you then you could go without work, which means you go without pay.
Reasons for Unsteady Work
Unsteady work loads are a part of being an independent contractor. The reason for this is that the company uses independent contractors because it makes the most financial sense for them to do this instead of hiring employees. Many times it makes more sense because they do not have the work load to support full time employees.
The company may have busy seasons where they will be super loaded down with work and then have off seasons where they may have little or no work. Generally, with employees the company will have to either keep them busy or pay unemployment. With independent contractors, though, they do not have to do this so it makes more sense.
You have to understand that as an independent contractor you are not guaranteed work, so the company can use you as they please. You can accept or reject work and they will not hold that against you because until you sign a contract you are not technically working for them.
The Best Way to Handle Unsteady Work
You have to learn how to set up your work load so that you are not left high and dry. This is especially important if you are working at home as your primary or a major part of your income. You have to think of ways to ensure that you are not going to be left with nothing to do.
There are two great ways to help ensure that you will always stay busy –
Work for multiple companies: The best thing about being an independent contractor is you are free. You can work when you want and you can work for whoever you want. As an independent contractor the companies you work for can not tell you that you have to work only for them. This allows you to work for a few different companies so that you have larger work load from which to choose.
Work in a couple industries: If you have talents in two different fields then work for companies in each field. This is a great idea because when one industry is having a lack of work you can still rely on the other industry.
You are ultimately responsible for finding work and keeping yourself busy. When you do not work you do not make money, so that should be motivation enough for you to learn ways to avoid lack of work due to an unsteady work load. Just be smart and you will find you can avoid unsteady work.
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