Advice for those who are new to the world of contracting

2 minutes, 34 seconds Read

If you’ve decided that now is the time to change your career and explore new paths, turning to contracting could be an option to consider. Not only do you get to choose your hours and work for businesses that you’re passionate about, but you’ll likely earn more when you’re a freelancer than you would being employed by a company. Below, we’ve put together a few words of wisdom to ensure your transition to the world of contract work is straightforward.

Know your worth

Before you start pitching for positions and projects, get a good understanding of your skills and value to potential clients. Identify your core skills and experience, and see what other contractors are charging in your area. It’s a good idea to have a ballpark estimate so that when you’re pitching your services, you can give them a rough idea of the cost. Remember that you’ll need some flexibility here – you might need to work for less than your ideal salary or hourly fee in some cases just so you can secure work and stay employed in quiet spells.

Don’t do it on your own

It’s natural to want to become your own boss and do everything by yourself, but it pays to work with experts. The best umbrella company, for example, can “hire” you and pay you via PAYE, deducting tax and national insurance, which eliminates the need for an accountant or to worry about your own bookkeeping. A contractor recruitment agency, on the other hand, will find opportunities and put you forward for roles you’re interested in/passionate about.

Buddy up

Contracting can be lonely at times, especially if you’re working alongside full-time employees who already have a rapport. Where possible, buddy up with other contractors who you can work with on upcoming projects. You’ll find it much easier if you have someone that you can confide in. What’s more, you should make a concerted effort when entering a new role to introduce yourself to the team and make friends – days will pass faster, and you’ll be able to ask questions and get to grips with the inner workings of the organization at a quicker rate.

Be prepared to move

One of the best ways to stand out in the crowded freelancer market is to be flexible and willing to relocate for temporary positions. This usually involves being put up in a hotel or rented accommodation, and though it’s not ideal, it often means you can command a higher salary and claim back expenses for food and entertainment. If you’re able to do so, make sure you’ve got the availability to move at short notice – pack a bag and make your family aware of short-term contracts which could prove to be more lucrative than standard ones.

Do you have any other tips for first-time contractors? Let us know and check back soon for more tips and tricks on living your best contractor life, including finding work as a freelancer.


David Cohen

Rachel Cohen: Rachel is a sustainability consultant who blogs about corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices.

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