Being a Business Leads to Greater Success


PICA exists to make you more successful. We want you to be your best, earn more money, and keep more of what you earn. The key is to think of yourself as a business rather than a temporary worker, a “hired pair of hands”, a contractor, or as staff augmentation. By setting yourself up as a business you will be taken seriously, treated with more respect, paid differently, and likely, paid more. You’ll also be able to keep more of what you earn by paying less tax and saving more for retirement. All of PICA’s content, webinars and events are based on this premise: That being a business leads to billing more and keeping more of what you bill.

This section of PICA’s resources is focused on the mechanics of being a business, whether you’re just starting out, or you’re more established and need to expand your business. Foundational concepts are listed first, followed by resources by lifecycle stage. 

PICA members have access to members-only content in this section, as well as webinars, virtual Q&A events, and PICA Office Hours. Non-members and members alike can access free content below, and tune in to our monthly Facebook Live chats.


Foundational Concepts for Every Independent Professional

As an independent consultant, you should operate and present yourself not only as a senior professional but also as a business owner. This will help you to be paid more and keep more of what you earn.

Lifecycle Stage Title Description
What/Who is a Professional Independent Consultant? As we go to market or talk about ourselves, we need to convey three key elements. This article explains what they are and offers suggestions to help you "walk the talk".
2-minute video: Why Friends Don't Let Friends W-2 Be sure you understand why it's better for you as a self-employed professional to be paid on a 1099 tax basis instead of a W-2 tax basis.
Tax Status: 1099 vs. W-2 How you are paid by clients impacts how you pay your taxes, along with how much tax you owe. This article explains why being paid on a 1099 tax basis is a huge plus.
Temporary Employee vs. Independent Contractor Whether you call yourself a consultant, contractor, or freelancer, the only status that matters is how you are classified and paid. Be sure you understand the various labels and terms so you know how to position yourself for success.
Beware of Staffing Agencies Understanding why third-party firms are usually bad for consultants is crucial. They can cost you money, even if you're paid on a 1099 tax basis. Be informed and improve your profitability!
Costly Mistake: Paying a Consultant as a Temp Worker Be sure you understand the 4 reasons why paying an independent consultant on a W-2 tax basis is bad for both you and the client.
As we go to market or talk about ourselves, we need to convey three key elements. This article explains what they are and offers suggestions to help you "walk the talk".
Be sure you understand why it's better for you as a self-employed professional to be paid on a 1099 tax basis instead of a W-2 tax basis.
How you are paid by clients impacts how you pay your taxes, along with how much tax you owe. This article explains why being paid on a 1099 tax basis is a huge plus.
Whether you call yourself a consultant, contractor, or freelancer, the only status that matters is how you are classified and paid. Be sure you understand the various labels and terms so you know how to position yourself for success.
Understanding why third-party firms are usually bad for consultants is crucial. They can cost you money, even if you're paid on a 1099 tax basis. Be informed and improve your profitability!
Be sure you understand the 4 reasons why paying an independent consultant on a W-2 tax basis is bad for both you and the client.

Resources to Help You Be a Business

Lifecycle Stage Title Description
To Be or Not To Be an Independent Consultant If you're just thinking about "making the leap" this article by PICA's Chief Advocate will help you think through the pros and cons.
Creating a Foundation for Consulting Success PICA's Chief Advocate offers tips on two interrelated topics: what to keep track of so you pay less tax, and how to set up your business for success.
One Easy Step to a Professional Image If you're using a personal email account for business, you're making a mistake. This blog by PICA's Chief Advocate explains why and how to easily fix it.
Business Insurance What you're likely to need and what clients often require; get familiar with the 10 most common types.
Getting Started Checklist Use this checklist to lay a foundation for a professional business.
Registering Your Business and Getting a License You may need to register your business and get a business license in order to operate legally. Find out what you likely need and get actionable tips on how to do it.
Registering Your DBA (Doing Business As) Find out if you need a DBA and if so, how to get one.
Invoicing Your Clients The more streamlined your billing process, the sooner you're likely to get paid. Find tips, templates, and other considerations here.
Business Structure: Sole-Proprietor, LLC, Corporation or Other? Understand the benefits and tradeoffs of the three most common business structures for consultants in terms of liability, taxes, ease of use and client perception.
If you're just thinking about "making the leap" this article by PICA's Chief Advocate will help you think through the pros and cons.
PICA's Chief Advocate offers tips on two interrelated topics: what to keep track of so you pay less tax, and how to set up your business for success.
If you're using a personal email account for business, you're making a mistake. This blog by PICA's Chief Advocate explains why and how to easily fix it.
What you're likely to need and what clients often require; get familiar with the 10 most common types.
Use this checklist to lay a foundation for a professional business.
You may need to register your business and get a business license in order to operate legally. Find out what you likely need and get actionable tips on how to do it.
Find out if you need a DBA and if so, how to get one.
The more streamlined your billing process, the sooner you're likely to get paid. Find tips, templates, and other considerations here.
Understand the benefits and tradeoffs of the three most common business structures for consultants in terms of liability, taxes, ease of use and client perception.

Related Tools, Services, and Events

Lifecycle Stage Tool/Service/Event Description
Webinar: Understanding 1099 vs W-2
Offered several times a year; see Calendar
A tax professional explains why and how this foundational concept is so vital.
Webinar: Keeping It Legal as an Independent Consultant
Offered several times a year; see Calendar
Understand the basics of operating as your own micro-business.
Webinar: Insurance Basics for Self-Employed Professionals
Offered a few times a year; see Calendar
Do I need business insurance? If, so, what kind, and how much do I need? What types of insurance will my clients expect me to have? This session is hosted by PICA's insurance partner, CoverWallet, and is open to all PICA members who sign up.
Live Q&A: Getting the Right Type and Level of Business Insurance
Offered a few times a year; see Calendar
Business insurance needs change along with the type of work you do, and the type of clients who hire you. Get your questions answered in this live Q&A session hosted by PICA's insurance partner, CoverWallet. (Available to PICA members at the All-In level.)
Partner Service: LegalZoom
Register your business or set up an LLC; start here. Discount of 15% available to Pro+Legal and All-In members.
PICA members at the Pro+Legal or All-In levels get a 15% discount on LegalZoom products and services, including Business Advisory Plan membership, which allows you to work with LegalZoom's network of independent attorneys.* (Note: Activation is required.)

Webinar: Understanding 1099 vs W-2

Offered several times a year; see Calendar

A tax professional explains why and how this foundational concept is so vital.

Webinar: Keeping It Legal as an Independent Consultant

Offered several times a year; see Calendar

A tax professional explains why and how this foundational concept is so vital.

Webinar: Insurance Basics for Self-Employed Professionals

Offered a few times a year; see Calendar

Do I need business insurance? If, so, what kind, and how much do I need? What types of insurance will my clients expect me to have? This session is hosted by PICA's insurance partner, CoverWallet, and is open to all PICA members who sign up.

Live Q&A: Getting the Right Type and Level of Business Insurance

Offered a few times a year; see Calendar

Business insurance needs change along with the type of work you do, and the type of clients who hire you. Get your questions answered in this live Q&A session hosted by PICA's insurance partner, CoverWallet. (Available to PICA members at the All-In level.)

Partner Service: LegalZoom

Register your business or set up an LLC; start here. Discount of 15% available to Pro+Legal and All-In members.

PICA members at the Pro+Legal or All-In levels get a 15% discount on LegalZoom products and services, including Business Advisory Plan membership, which allows you to work with LegalZoom's network of independent attorneys.* (Note: Activation is required.)

* Excludes subscription renewals, third-party products and fees and attorney-assisted products. Discount code will be sent after PICA verifies membership.