The word “independent” has been thrown a lot in a variety of areas from politics to business. Since this post is about business, let’s talk about business. Recently, two stories have come about guys going their own ways: Trey Parker and Matt Stone starting their own production company and Andrew Sullivan starting his own company. After the first day, Parker and Stone’s Important Studios is valued at $300 Million mostly based on South Park and Book of Mormon. Andrew Sullivan’s company raised more than $300,000 in one day based on subscribers (Disclaimer: I’m a founding subscriber of Dish Publishing). What we’re seeing might be the future of work soon.
In the age of the “free agency,” work is temporary and people work for projects, not for the company. In a sense, this should be a relief for employers since they don’t have to pay much to the 1099ers, and the 1099ers have to deal with their own taxes and employers are not responsible of any liability unless it is in the written agreement.
The only downside to being the independent contractor is not the companies screwing you over, vacation time, age, number of clients, or higher taxes…it’s healthcare. While most of the countries allow their citizens to get healthcare, in the United States to get proper healthcare, you have to work for an employer. You can pay for healthcare, but you’re looking at paying $300-400 a month, out-of-pocket, on health insurance and that’s the low end.
Companies are trying to save money and people are looking for work in any form, which makes independent contracting attractive. The problem is healthcare is a big need for individuals with pre-exisiting conditions. If and when the United States goes into a single-payer system, the “free agency” period will explode to new heights and almost everyone will become valuable to a certain employer.
If you’re a job seeker that needs healthcare: you need to play the game set by your employers. Play by their rules and when you perfected their rules.
If you’re an employer: You have the power to do whatever you want and that is your business. Remember in the future: people are not coming for your brand, they want to be swayed by their people. You better hope the people you hire have an strong following like Parker, Stone, and Sullivan.