Given that Uncle Sam has declared this National Small Business Week, it seems as good a time as any to introduce a blog dedicated to solopreneurs – freelancers, contractors, sole proprietors, mom-and-pops, 1099ers and other independent business people.
We’ll be reporting for and about solopreneurs – all of you working in the so-called gig economy, acting as your own boss while serving multiple clients. We’ll explore the financial, entrepreneurial and lifestyle stories surrounding solo entrepreneurs.
We’d love to hear from you, too. We want to know your experiences, concerns, triumphs, secrets to success, frustrations, obstacles.
This is a very “soft launch,” one post to say we’re here and to report on a new survey shedding light on freelancer issues. We’ll have more soon. In the meantime, grab a cup of coffee at your favorite cafe, co-working space, kitchen table or desk, and learn what 600 independent workers had to say about their professional lives.
Invoice2Go, a company with a mobile invoicing app, recently surveyed customers who identify as freelancers or microbusinesses of one type or another.
More than 90 percent say working on their own gives them more career control and earning potential than working for a traditional employer, the firm notes.
“The upsides of such control far outweigh their top concern over inconsistent income,” an issue noted by 67 percent of survey respondents, who cited “inconsistent cash flow/earnings” as their top concern, the company says.
Invoice2go, citing data from microenterprise loan fund trade group the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, says businesses with five or fewer employees comprise more than 90 percent of U.S. companies. However, 85 percent of those who own such businesses say they’d fare better with more resources, such as improved access to health care and lost-income protection, the company’s online survey finds.
Thirty-one percent of microbusinesses cited a lack of benefits such as employee health and retirement plans as a top issue.
“The punch line here is that work and income opportunities have evolved, but current programs designed for small businesses aren’t serving the needs of the micro businesses, a rapidly growing category,” Invoice2go CEO Greg Waldorf says.
“Nearly 40 percent of our respondents left traditional work to strike out on their own, and we estimate more than 80 percent of all Invoice2go users have less than five workers, with plans to remain that way,” he adds. Invoice2go hopes that the government “will begin to take note and to support the specific needs of the smallest of businesses.”
More microbusinesses may be on the way, as 64 percent of survey respondents believe competition is increasing.
It’s interesting to see how survey respondents identify themselves:
- Freelancer – 21 percent
- Contractor – 16 percent
- Side gigger – 8 percent
- Microbusiness – 54 percent
Does the survey ring a bell with you? Let us know. – By Dinah W. Brin, Editor, The Gigamist