A Tattoo Artist isn’t a “freelancer”. A Personal Trainer isn’t a “small business”.
By 2020 independent professionals will be 40% of the US workforce, yet we have no real, collective, definition for them.

Our economy is changing. More of us are becoming independent workers and making the decision to build our livelihood upon our unique passion.

Are we ready for this shift? Why is there no standard term for this type of business other than “small business” or “freelancer”?

To be clear, we are specifically referring to a smaller type of business than a “small business.”

As defined best in “The Future Working: The Rise of Europe’s Independent Professionals”:

Independent means that the professional is self employed in the strictest sense, working for themselves with no employees.

Professional means that the professional engages in service activities not in the farming, craft or retail sectors and are generally highly skilled and well qualified.

In their research, Prof. Patricia Leighton and Duncan Brown referred to this sector as iPros. While we are inspired and motivated by their research, we find this term to be more fitting to become Apple’s next product rather than the name of the independent professional sector.

Why do we need to name this sector anyway?

1. They earned the right to have a name

Building a business takes patience, guts, ambition, self-faith, talent and strong will to overcome the challenges that will rise along the way.

Businesses grow from one person to thousands of employees over time and are defined accordingly, based on their size. Each of us can choose to work at a small/medium sized business, a full grown enterprise or – independently.

Those who chose to work independently may not realize that they’re shaping the future of employment, but they are. And as such, they deserve a sector name.

2. Outside support can be given more easily when there’s a name

The media highlights enterprises since they have a direct affect on employees and national economy (due to the taxes they pay.) Since independent professionals are about to be almost half of the workforce, it is time to highlight that sector with a proper name.

Society/government brings small and medium businesses awareness with dedicated celebratory days to support and encourage their growth. However, the awareness of the workforce has a gap in it, an unseen part, since independent professionals are too small and invisible to get a celebratory day of their own.

How do you make these individuals seen in a forest of larger trees?

By 2020 the independent service providers sector will become 40% of the workforce, in the US alone. Today, 1 in every 5 purchases is a service purchase.

The fact that the talented individuals go unnoticed and even taken for granted is something for our society to try and fix.

SMB’s as the small and medium businesses are usually referred to, include restaurants, shops, hair and nail salons, advertising agencies and car repairs. These are the places that are small enough to know you and large enough to have a few people to help provide the service you need.

The spotlight must also be on the business of a single professional, who provides a service (usually an offline one) where the only people who are involved in the process are the client and the professional.

Hairdressers, Baby Sitters, Dog Walkers, Nail Artists, Private Chefs and Personal Trainers are a few examples of what makes the independent service professionals sector the one who deserves to be highlighted the most. The only people who can make them visible are the clients who had always been the ones to help them grow, via word-of-mouth.

All business types and sizes have room in this world. Help huge talents shine brighter.

And about that name…

From now on, we suggest that this sector will be addressed as “ISP”. Independent Service Professionals.


Written by Dannie Hetz, Founder and CEO of Superr.

Superr is the first network of superheroes, bringing top ISPs the recognition their talent deserves.