When I first opened my business as a solo PR pro in 1995, independent communications consultants were a rare breed. While forward-looking clients (primarily at PR agencies) embraced the benefits of working with experienced and flexible outside counsel, other colleagues still had trouble perceiving indies as anything but dilettantes trying to make a few bucks on the side. Nearly 20 years later, most of world has recognized the critical role of professional independent consultants – and those who haven’t need to get on board or get left behind, as evidenced in a new study from MBO Partners.
The fourth annual State of Independence in America workforce study shows that independent work in America has developed into a mega trend, with 30 million now regularly working as independents, a number expected to grow to nearly 40 million in the next five years.
As is the case for the vast majority of our Solo PR Pro community, the research also confirms that today’s independent workforce is not just between positions or ”passing through.”
The MBO Partners study found that the majority of solopreneurs work as independents on a full-time basis, 82 percent are satisfied with their position, and 76 percent plan on remaining independent in the future. They also found that solopreneurs spend an average of 9.4 years in their self-employed businesses.
These data points help combat any lingering perception that most independent practitioners are in a transitory blip between traditional jobs – decision makers should recognize that most solo PR pros are well-established, experienced and savvy professionals.
Follow the Money
We have more than just strength in numbers – the study’s insights into the financial impact of consultants is enough to give even the most old-school business executive pause. MBO Partners found that solopreneurs have a significant impact on the U.S. economy, providing employment and financial support for millions of Americans.
According to the study, solopreneurs:
- Generated more than $1.1 trillion of total revenue over the past year
- Spent more than $150 billion on non-payroll/contractor expenses (in fact, the top one-third of the solopreneur population spent $92 billion hiring the equivalent of 2.2 million full-time employees)
- Are the primary income source for over 10 million American households
- Are a major source of new employer small businesses
As Gene Zaino, CEO and President of MBO Partners, states, “the independent workforce is not just here, but here to stay.”
If you’re a business looking to tap into the benefits of working with a highly skilled independent communications consultant, be sure to checkout our Find a PR Consultant tool, which can help you find your ideal match.
If you’re a solo PR pro, have you encountered any hesitance from prospective clients because of your independent status? How did you handle? Let us know in the comments! And if you haven’t already signed up for our free twice-monthly newsletter, please do so below: