Making it in the world of contracting can be daunting and the decision is often huge career move for the individual. Those who do make the jump successfully find the switch from permanent work to temporary contracts very lucrative and rewarding, however it’s a tough environment to break into and it’s certainly not for everyone.
What are your skills?
A huge factor to consider is ‘are my skills needed?’. If your particular skill set is in high demand then the transition will no doubt be easier. Niche skills may require a little perseverance, but this shouldn’t dissuade you completely – if you want to contract you should be no stranger to hard work.
What are you worth?
You will need to asses how much your skills are worth and be flexible with your rate. Use a contractor salary calculator to compare what your wage could be to what it is now. Starting out, employers may not want to take the risk on a new contractor so a reduced rate might enable you to get a foot in the door.
You’re the boss
You are now your own boss, but as your own boss you have to manage your time and workload properly. If a client believes you aren’t fulfilling your contractual agreements they may get rid of you.
Differences to permanent employment to bear in mind
Contractors tend to work until the project is finished. This means that holidays are unlikely when you are on the job. Contracting generally involves more travel and the occasional stay away from home.
To be a successful contractor you will need to be generally personable and easy to get on with. As you will be working on temporary contracts and potentially meeting new people on a fairly regular basis, being able to strike up a rapport with those you are working with is a very useful personality trait.
A successful contractor needs to be adaptable. Different projects will require you to adapt to different ways of working. You may have to adapt your skills to the way a client want the project done.
You will need to have a self-starter attitude. After you are briefed for a project a contractor is mostly left to their own devices so it is essential that have great self motivation and work well by yourself.
Know when your opinion is wanted
Know when to advise and when to keep your thoughts to yourself. Only give advice specifically relevant to your expertise, a client may not want to hear about “how you would do something” in an area of their business unrelated to your project.
Most business hire contractors because of the urgent nature of the work. You will need to be readily available to start work immediately if you do decide to become a contractor.
Some popular contracting professions
As technology continues to advance companies need to keep up, IT contracting is a very popular area to contract in.
Many companies like to employ a an accountant they can deal with directly, accountancy makes for a sought after profession in contracting.