Looking at the current employment landscape, we’re in the midst of something very exciting. Where technology is accelerating our scope for growth and learning, we’re seeing new ideas and start-ups birthed regularly and endless opportunities arising. Technology is allowing for a more agile and flexible way of working and is giving would be entrepreneurs the tools to unleash their potential.
More people are creating their own stories and gaining autonomy and independence in the work-place. Where full time work with a planned 20 year corporate climb was the respected career path for many, any other ways of working were met with criticism and reservation and perhaps an air of snobbery. Freelancing was seen as something only suited to the starving creative type, quirky individuals who seemed to just get by financially but at least had freedom in their work. The word temping accrued negative connotations and anyone temping were deemed to have no direction in their life and were just working in a role as a stock-gap solution to wherever their career direction would take them next.
Those views are now a thing of the past and the rise of flexible working and the influence of the gig and on-demand talent economy, and the UK’s blossoming start-up industry, has made the 9 to 5 less appealing and the prospect of working self-employed far more enticing. Increasingly, more people are wanting to leave the humdrum of the 9 to 5 behind them and reap the financial and flexible benefits self-employed working, particularly contracting, brings.
But how can prospective contractors make the transition from full-time employee to self-employed contractor easily and without challenge and difficulty? Here are some great tips to help you get started.
Where there’s demand, there’s supply
Whatever your industry or expertise, think long and carefully about how you are going to pitch yourself as a contractor. This can be anything from your job title to the type of work you are going to specialise in. This will require in-depth research and study of the sector that you are thinking of entering. It’s no use jumping in at the deep end and assuming contracts are going to come knocking at your door. Look at your sector closely and see where in your sector there is huge demand for certain roles. It’s no use positioning yourself in a role that is extremely niche and involves work that companies have no need for, let along budget for. Find out where there’s demand and be the supply!
Contracting has great financial benefit for those who choose to follow it as a career path but it is a process that requires patience. Given that it will take some time to set up as a contractor with the various arrangements that have to be made, and taking into consideration other challenges you may encounter such as late payments, it might be a while before you see any traction occur for you financially. It’s best to plan ahead and have a safety net of finances to fall back on to support you in those first few weeks or months. Think about how long realistically it will be before you get your first project and start to see money come in and budget accordingly.
Carrying on from finance, it may be that you’ll want the extra security of another source of income as you make small initial steps into the world of contracting and begin to develop some clout and influence, plus portfolio work as a contractor. This is achievable but requires great time management on your behalf and you’ll need to be adaptable and flexible to all your commitments. For instance, for extra financial assurance you may wish to take on a small part-time job so you know have regular income coming in. With something like this, you may have to dedicate some time outside the hours of these commitments to keep your foot in the door as a contractor. Working as a contractor in a sector such as Tech, you’ll find many companies can be flexible to these needs as some early phase start-ups will allow for contractors to dedicate time to a project in the evenings or at weekends, whilst working remotely. This can be an option for prospective contractors, but it is challenging and does require real commitment, dedication and perseverance.
A portfolio and profile
In any line of work, it’s important you keep a record of your achievements to reflect to prospective contract employers what you can deliver to them as a contractor. Think about registering a profile with a recruitment platform that advocates your services online but also hosts a number of contract opportunities. Also think about having some form of personal online presence like a personal site. Register a URL which is easy and affordable to do and set it up with a simple content management system like WordPress and you can use it as a place to host your successes as a contractor.
Say goodbye to the traditional 9 to 5 and say hello to the exciting world of contracting, by pre-registering with iContract, the new online platform connecting contractors with recruiters. Coming soon, pre-register as a contractor for free here.