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From the Desk of the Executive Director

Ken Phillips is co-founder and Executive Director of Independent Contractors of Australia. He is a published authority on independent contractor issues and directs research on related commercial and trade practices issues. Through his numerous articles in newspapers and think-tank and academic journals, Ken is known for approaching issues from outside normal perspectives and is frequently sought out for media comment.

International Policy Discussion

Sunday, April 06, 2014

This video explores the freelance landscape across the world with Ken Phillips representing contractors in Australia, Professor Patricia Leighton outlining her research into the rise of independent working across Europe and Simon McVicker discussing freelancing in the UK More...


Turn yourself into a brand

Sunday, December 15, 2013

If you don’t ‘brand’ yourself when you’re self-employed, your capacity to be your own business and make good money is diminished. This is an important message I took from a presentation at the Pan-Asia small business conference in Macau in November.

The presentation by Dr Paul Temporal of Oxford University explained how successful global companies create and maintain brands. More importantly, he identified precisely what a brand is. The messages Paul was delivering are as applicable to self-employed, small business people as they are to large businesses. More...


Political card tricks

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Small business people lose out under Abbott government. Incompetent big business wins

Last week the Abbott government did two things that signal it as a big business, big union, big government operation. This is probably surprising to most people who thought the Coalition was a union hater. But not so!  More...


There’s no stopping China

Sunday, December 01, 2013

ICA board member John Findley has been doing business in China continuously for some 30 years. He’s been saying for ages that China’s growth is not going to stop. Here’s my analysis from a recent conference in Macau.

All those Western market analysts who are worried about, and reacting negatively to, the ‘slow down’ in China perhaps need a good lesson in reading Chinese economic tea leaves. I received such a lesson in Macau last week when attending the International Small Business Pan Asia Congress.  More...


Freelance workers: hits and myths

Friday, November 29, 2013

Human resource management systems and the professionals who run them are failing to manage a big percentage of their workforces.

This view comes from the admissions of senior HR professionals at a series of workshops and seminars I’ve attended recently. More...


Australia got caught out by Freelancer.com

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The launch of Freelancer.com onto the Australian stock market last week created great excitement. Upon listing, its 50 cent shares skyrocketed to $2.60 settling at $1.60. Commentators referred to it as potentially Australia’s Twitter.

The story underpinning the share market hype reflects not just a new age technology but rather a transformation in the way business and work is organised. Freelancer highlights how the transformation is expanding and will continue to overpower human resource practices inside large organisations, labour and tax laws and the very idea of what constitutes a business.  More...


Hospitality penalty rates killing our weekend cafe society


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Penalty rate hikes in awards, particularly weekend and public holiday rates, are causing Australia to undergo a backward revolution. It's a step into the past by stealth. Restrictive trading hours are being imposed through the mechanism of business-breaking cost hikes. More...


The 9th SMEs in a Global Economy Conference 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Rising to the Global Challenge: Entrepreneurship and SME development in Asia"

Some reflections on a regional small business conference held in the capital of Laos, Vientiane. November 2012.

Last week I attended a regional small business conference in the capital of Laos, Vientiane. Friendly people. Great value for money! Lao culture very much alive! If you visit, I’d recommend riding a bicycle around town. It’s dead flat with lots of interesting side streets, restaurants, temples and so on. The traffic appears slightly chaotic but in fact moves at a surprisingly gentle, courteous pace.  More...


The super self-employed taking over the world

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The great communist-era Premier of China Zhou Enlai was once asked what he thought were the implications of the French Revolution. He famously replied that it was too early to tell.

In this same tradition the French President, socialist François Hollande, has tried his own revolutionary tactic but it has backfired big time. In seeking to repair France's teetering public finances, Hollande decided to whack France's entrepreneurs with big new taxes. Two weeks ago Hollande announced that anyone who sold their small business would have to pay 60 per cent of the sale price to the government. More...


Small business snookered by social media rule

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

There’s no question. The internet has liberated people and, in particular, for people who are or want to be self-employed it has opened up undreamt of business possibilities. It’s exciting and it’s only the beginning.  More...



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