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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.

How Turnbull can realise his innovation dreams

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Dear Prime Minister,

It’s fantastic that that you’re excited about ‘being alive’ and that you’re encouraging Australian’s to get out and ‘do things’. Yep, it’s people power that makes our society and economy vibrant and strong. If anything, you’re asking us to be entrepreneurs!

But I want to put my piece of caution to you as you drive us down the innovation road. 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...


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...


Desperate solutions for a broken union brand

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Australian unions are on the attack against self-employed people and it's all because unions are under pressure. Their attack has unfolded as part of a brand defence campaign.

From a marketing perspective the trade union brand has taken a beating in the last year or so. The misuse of member funds in the Health Services Union kicked off the issue. The New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption is exposing allegations of senior Labor/union operatives playing lead roles in corruption. It's anticipated that a lot more will be exposed.  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...


Old work hour habits won't die

Monday, August 20, 2012
The Federal Court decision last week to uphold the legality of industrial relations deals that restrict the use of contractors and labour hire adds further concern about the declining productivity in Australia. And the court's ADJ Contracting decision contrasts sharply to a recent discussion paper from the Australian Institute of Management arguing that flexible work improves productivity.  More...

Managing in a Flexible Work Environment Commentary

Sunday, August 12, 2012

This is a commentary on the Australian Institute of Management discussion paper, Managing in a Flexible Work EnvironmentMore...


Harnessing the power of independent thinkers

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Last week while Prime Minister Minister Julia Gillard was conducting her Economic Forum in Brisbane, I was in Wellington New Zealand attending the peak international small business conference of the year. The two events provided an interesting comparison in light of Robert Gottliebsen's comments yesterday (When staff cuts aren't enough, June 18).  More...



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