If you are working in a permanent role and considering making a move to contracting, you may be apprehensive about whether it will be right for you.
There is a big difference between contract and permanent work, and you need to understand the realities of it before you make the move.
Contract positions are now largely considered inside-IR35; in practice, that means contractors earn a salary through their agency or through an umbrella company.
Despite this, contracting remains highly rewarding and you can certainly earn more money. However, it does take the right skills and a certain attitude to be able to enjoy it.
In this blog post, we are going to share 5 things you need to be a successful contractor (and ensure that you make the right decision!).
But first things first…
What is contracting?
Contracting is akin to being self-employed or working as a freelancer. Rather than working for one organisation, you will provide your services to a company for a set period, before moving onto your next role. This is dissimilar to permanent work where you will have an ongoing contract with your employer until it is terminated by either yourself or your employer.
But why would someone choose to work as a contractor?
The benefits to contracting
There are some great benefits of working as a contractor.
- Flexibility – You can choose what opportunities you wish to be considered for, and what you can let go of. Simply put, you can create a lifestyle that works best for you!
- Upskilling – With each contract role you can pick up an array of skills and knowledge. As you become more skilled, you’re more likely to secure a pay rise in your next project.
- Better pay – Because of your specialist knowledge, experience and niche skillset, you can command a high day rate.
If you would like us to make this into a full blog post, feel free to get in contact and let us know!
However, contracting isn’t for everyone and there is a lot to consider before you decide to make the leap.
What you need to be a successful contractor
To help you make your decision, here are 5 things you need to be a successful contractor.
1) Do you have the right soft skills for contracting?
When you join a new organisation, you must have the right soft skills. Some contractors take the ‘lone wolf’ approach, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing.
You should be able to communicate well with your colleagues, while also maintaining your workload. Furthermore, you should also be able to work well under pressure and maintain a cool head.
Helpfully, there are several ways that you can build sustainable skills and expand your personal and professional development. For example, through online training courses, professional certifications and webinars.
If you want to learn how you can upskill as a contractor, head over to our blog post, How To Upskill As A Contractor (Without Compromising Billability).
2) Do you have confidence in your skills?
As well as having the right skills, you will also need to have confidence in your skills. You will be expected to go into a role and hit the ground running, and you need to have confidence in your skills to be able to do this!
It is often said that in contracting you live by your skills and you die by your skills. If you’re confident in what you do, this will shine through and you’ll have no problem converting client meetings/interviews into lucrative contracts.
However, if you are apprehensive about your abilities, it will make it more difficult to find roles. Contracting clients can be less patient and forgiving if the contractor takes a long time to deliver results. Broadly speaking, the expectations that clients have of contractors (as against, of employees) are higher.
3) How much do you value your job security?
Permanent work is (relatively) secure. You know where you’re going, what you are getting paid and at the end of the day, you’ll have a job to go back to each day. This isn’t the case with contract work.
Although you are given a set time period and it’s unusual for it to be reduced, it can be – and that’s the uncertainty with contract work. It can end at any time and there’s no guarantee that a new contract will start when your current contract ends.
To be successful as a contractor you need to be comfortable with uncertainty. Unless your current client is willing and has the funding to extend your services, you may only work on a contract for 6 months, before you take on another contract. This is what many contractors do and it can be quite an enticing prospect!
Head over to blog post, The 5 Key Ingredients for a Successful Job Application, for five proven ways you can ensure you make it through the sift and have a successful job application.
4) Are you okay with a fluctuating income?
One month you might be dining out every night of the week, the next you could be eating noodles out of a bowl! That’s the uncertainty of working as a contractor.
Some contracts will have a great hourly rate, while others won’t, and you have to be able to manage your money so you can maintain your lifestyle.
You will also be faced with lifestyle choices as some high paying roles may require you to travel a bit. This may mean that you bear the travel expenses, so there are several variables to consider.
5) Are you a solution-oriented individual?
Your employer will expect you to find solutions to problems – and quickly. Furthermore, they will expect you to know when to take action – and when to take a step back. If you are a solution-oriented person, working as a contractor may be suited to you. Employer’s pay contractors well, so they will expect you to be switched on and able to manage your own workload well.
Would you like help finding your first role?
If you decide to take the jump and begin work as a contractor, you can join our talent pool and get first sight of roles that are right for you.
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