Today’s topic is “Solopreneur. Am I actually an employee?” I talk with Jeffrey Cochran, SPHR, a Human

Resource consultant with HR Perspective and Recruiting (, addressing regulatory compliance and employee satisfaction.

  • Legally, a solopreneur may work as a sole proprietor, LLC, or LLP
  • Problems arise when other entities, e.g., the IRS (tax dollars) or Labor Department (Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)), don’t recognize their legal status and categorize them differently.
  • IRS looks at relationship between individual and consulting client from 3 areas, Common Law Rules
    • Type of Relationship (contractual agreement)
    • Behavioral control over individual (work hours, work space, work flow)
    • Financial control over individual (who’s paying for process, tools, weekly check, etc.)
  • The Department of Labor uses the FLSA to judge whether or not the individual is an independent contractor
    • Economic Reality Test (20 points)
    • Contractual Agreement with a scope of work
    • Controls similar to the IRS criteria
    • Work is invoiced
    • Working with multiple clients
    • Potential for both profit or loss
    • 1099s
    • States can decide an individual is am employee, e.g., California and Uber and Lyft drivers
  • For those working in the gig economy these concerns are important to pay attention to
  • More information can be gathered at the Department of Labor’s website ( as well as the IRS’s ( web site
  • How these issues arise and get the IRS’s and DOL’s attention.
  • How to avoid these issues
  • Future topics are discussed. Stay tuned!

Jeffrey can be reached at 614-565-8073 and

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