With almost two million contractors in the UK and counting, its little wonder why businesses are changing the way they hire staff and talent. Rather than taking on a full-time member of the team, many are turning to the freelance market to access the skills they need on a short-term basis, saving time and money, and pumping billions into the freelance economy.
If you’re a contractor and want some advice on managing your workload, finding clients, and staying sane in an increasingly competitive market, fear not: we’ve got you covered…
Brush up your skills
Whether you’re an IT contractor or work in the construction industry, it’s important that you stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your sector. If your knowledge is out of kilter with the rest of the market, you’ll find it harder to position yourself when applying for projects and you’ll likely be overlooked by someone who is more experienced and in-the-know. Use social media to follow industry trends and focus on your continuous personal development.
Keep your CV in check
This may sound like a simple piece of advice, but it’s very important nonetheless. If you’re jumping from contract to contract and need to impress hiring managers quickly, you should brush up your CV and make sure it’s both targeted and high-impact. Focus on your core skills, showcase lucrative contracts and projects, and use video or images to back it up.
Know how to sell yourself
Unlike employment, where you’re given a set of tasks to complete every day, contracting requires you to sell yourself. You are the product, so make sure you’re operating at your best and focus on the way you look and dress to stand out from the crowd. Develop your interview technique and set a competitive hourly or daily rate to help you secure contracts. We recommend researching the industry standard salary to A) charge what you’re worth and B) be competitive enough to win projects and work over other similarly-priced contractors.
Choose a payment structure
As a self-employed contractor, you have a bunch of options available to you. You can start your own limited company, work as a sole trader, or enlist the help of an umbrella contracting company that will manage your money and deduct PAYE tax and national insurance before they pay you a salary. There are positives and negatives to all of the options to research and weigh them up – a structure that works for one might be different from what works for you.
Plan and save
One of the drawbacks of being a self-employed contractor is that you don’t know how much you will be earning from month to month. That’s why it’s so important to A) have your next job lined up when your current contract comes to an end and B) have savings so that, if work did dry up overnight, you’d still have something to live on in the short-term. Always be on the look-out for new opportunities and put money aside to protect you for quiet spells at work.
Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments and check back soon for more.