Do you want to build a long-term career as an independent contractor? Compared to decades past, it’s much more common for new workforce entrants to choose a life away from the corporate structure and traditional arrangements.

A typical independent contractor works alone or as part of a small partnership, offering services and goods to consumers or other businesses. It’s important to understand that most ICs are solo practitioners, but many work in partnerships or for companies that withhold not taxes from their paychecks.

Many people prefer the relative financial security and tradition that comes with working directly for a corporation. However, independent contractors thrive on making their own way without formal boss-employee relationships.

What does it take to succeed in this kind of working environment, where you essentially act as your own supervisor, pay the employer portion of taxes, and set your own hours? Unless you have an ideal workspace at home, expect to find a shared office arrangement.

In some cases, co-working spaces are better than working from home in terms of productivity. Additional traits successful independent contractors have included college degrees, a strong dose of self-discipline, excellent computer skills, and good writing skills.

If you’re aiming for a long-term career as an independent worker, review the following essential traits before taking the first step on your journey.

College Degrees

Don’t fret if your bank account is not fat enough to cover college tuition and fees. Vast numbers of university applicants search for college scholarships online as a way to deal with the high cost of attending school.

The major benefit of scholarships for college students is that there’s no need to pay them back. Unlike loans, scholarships don’t come with repayment obligations. Plus, applying online is a quick and easy process. Most who opt to hunt for college money attempt to find multiple scholarship opportunities they can apply for.

It’s a fact that most successful indie contractors are college educated and learn a large portion of their business-related skills while studying for their diplomas.

Access to Shared Workspace

Having access to a shared workspace can help make solo contractors much more productive. Since 2000, more companies and building owners have been offering common space for people who need short-term office basics, like desks and restrooms, at a reasonable price. The benefits include:

  • Avoiding the isolation of working from home 100% of the time
  • The chance to network with other indie professionals
  • Having supportive infrastructure for equipment and devices

Self-Discipline and Computer Literacy

Corporate workers don’t need the kind of self-discipline that solo entrepreneurs do. Because they’re often alone or working on projects with open-ended deadlines, it’s easier for independent contractors to fall behind and lose the motivating factor that comes with structured work hours and large office teams.

Many people find that setting fixed work hours is an effective way to improve time management skills and stay on schedule. There’s no need to be an IT guru, but if you opt for an indie career path, it’s critical to be computer savvy, skilled at manipulating apps, and good at troubleshooting when technical problems surface.

Those who work alone must know how to navigate online directions for setting up Wi-Fi connections, pairing devices, and coordinating peripherals.