NAIWE Benefit Partner BOTH Creates “Declaration of Independents”

BOTH, one of NAIWE’s benefit partners, invites all self-employed professionals, freelancers, solo practitioners, independent contractors, and contract talents to sign its “Declaration of Independents.” BOTH is a firm that provides back-office support for writers, editors, and other independent professionals, and they believe that freelancing and flexible work arrangements are the wave of the future.

To learn more about BOTH, how they can serve independent writers and editors, and about the benefit they offer to NAIWE members, you may want to read about our January 2010 interview with BOTH founder Erik Vonk and listen to it at The Freelance Life.
Here’s the press release:
both-pro-descriptAn employment agreement is no longer the instrument of choice to connect the supply and demand in talent, skills or competencies. BOTH supports a bold move in support of efforts to reduce misconceptions and fears around flexible work arrangements.

Saint Petersburg, FL, March 03, 2010 — BOTH, an acronym for Back Of The House (, is inviting all self-employed professionals, freelancers, solo practitioners, independent contractors, flex-workers, staffing employees, solopreneurs and contract talent to form a community with a common interest in the recognition, facilitation and support of the long existing reality of Flexible Work. By signing the “Declaration of Independents” on the BOTH website, independent professionals become a member of a community which will be kept informed of all important legal, tax, regulatory, political and societal developments and of efforts to gain support for flexible work and which will serve as a platform for networking and collaboration in the near term future. Membership is free.

Companies are seeking synchronicity between revenues and expenses. Global competition is forcing financial strategies that promote “Asset Poor, Flexible Cost” approaches. These trends are diminishing the ability of companies to offer long-term security, entitlements and benefits to employees. Workforce specialization, on the other hand, fosters mobility. As a consequence, an employment agreement is no longer the instrument of choice to connect the supply and demand in talent, skills or competencies, nor is it an appropriate conduit to “life enablers,” such as health and retirement benefits.

Erik Vonk, Founder and CEO of BOTH indicates, “At least 25% of the workforce has a ‘contingent’ work arrangement instead of an employment agreement. The old sense of job security has long been replaced by a prevailing confidence in income security. Nevertheless, going ‘solo’ has its challenges as alternative work arrangements are surrounded by unclear regulatory and tax frameworks, while access to individually underwritten health and retirement benefits is limited.”

Based on BOTH’s research, at least 50% of the over 15 million people currently unemployed will find their way back into the workforce as independents, not bound by, or dependent on, an employment agreement. Yet, this tsunami of additions to the ‘contingent’ workforce, which already includes 1 in 4 working Americans, is met with stern warnings of crack downs from the Federal Government and the IRS, and promises of increased scrutiny and audits of compliance with vague, outdated and often contradicting regulations.

At the same time, in spite of unprecedented Government spending on Stimulus Plans, no major effort has been designed to remove barriers to flexible work arrangements, which offer the quickest and most efficient way to (re)connect the supply and demand in skills. Even health care reform of epic proportions does not – as far as is publicly known – disconnect health insurance from the place of work, promote interstate insurance commerce or support consuer driven, individually underwritten plans. In fact, all the political rhetoric behind economic stimulus and health care reform seems to point in the opposite direction, i.e. toward increased and renewed dependency on the place of work for all “life enablers.”

BOTH supports the notion that it is time to break with Industrial Revolution era conventions that assume lifetime employment and a sacrifice of self-determination in exchange for job security, benefits, status and entitlements.

“Self-employment, contracting for work individually or running a solo practice can be easily accommodated by simplification of the tax code and deregulation of the insurance industry. To get there, the notion that “self employment equals tax evasion” needs to be replaced by the recognition that self-employment and entrepreneurialism equal revenues, also for ‘Uncle’ IRS,” Erik Vonk said. He continued, “BOTH was founded to create a viable alternative to outdated employment conventions and to support working on a project basis, or as an independent vendor, as a reality that should be recognized, supported, enabled, regulated and taxed as a viable alternative to a J.O.B.”

About BOTH

BOTH facilitates working independently by transforming work arrangements into vendor relationships whereby, at the same time, all support functions, benefits and entitlements – traditionally part of a corporate infrastructure – are substituted by a personally owned, “portable” back office, fortified by tailored, permanent health and retirement plans and managed by a Personal Advisor.

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