With the coronavirus turning the jobs market on its head and changing the way we think about work, the chances are that you’ve considered going freelance or offering your skills and time on a contract basis. And you wouldn’t be alone: data shows that there are around two million self-employed professionals working in the UK – 1.77 million of those are working as full-time contractors, with 234,000 working on a self-employed basis as their second job.
But before you take the plunge, we’ve put together some things to know…
- A good portfolio will help you
A good contractor will not only have the skills they need to sell themselves to clients, but a portfolio to back it up. Companies need to know what you’ve done in the past and what successful projects you’ve worked on; before you quit your job, gather as much information as possible and take screenshots of projects you’ve worked on. Build up a decent resume.
- You’ll need to do your own accounts
One of the drawbacks of working for yourself is that you’ll need to do your own accounts and register as self-employed. This can be stressful and time-consuming, especially if you’re not very good with numbers. One alternative is to work with Evolve Contract Services, the best umbrella company on the market for beginner contractors looking for an easy way to work.
- Finding work is easier said than done
You might have the skills and experience, but persuading hiring managers to choose you over someone they’ve already worked with can be tough. You’ll need to grow a thick skin and accept that you’ll need to apply for many jobs and contracting opportunities before finding you break – working with a contractor recruitment agency could be a great option.
- Networking is so important
Make sure you start networking as soon as you decide to become a contractor. A LinkedIn account will help you reach out to potential clients and share your skillset and expertise. Keep networking even when you find work; your next role could be around the corner.
- You shouldn’t undersell yourself
Set a day rate for yourself and don’t let yourself work for less than that. The truth is that you will need to make compromises and work on projects that you don’t want to or feel overqualified for, but if you’re clear on what you’re worth, you’ll always earn a decent wage.
- It’s a competitive market out there
On the same note, be prepared to negotiate. The market is increasingly competitive and with the coronavirus pandemic expected to result in up to 47 million job losses, you won’t be the only one thinking about going freelance. Understand where your strengths lie and look for ways to stand out from other workers in your niche; if you’re strategic, you’ll come out on top.
- Contracting can be rewarding
Finally, don’t let our naysaying put you off from contracting. Though challenging, contracting can be incredibly rewarding – you’ll meet new people, learn new things, and earn more than you would in a typical 9 to 5 job. You’ll find the right balance between work and play, and perhaps eventually grow your contracting career into running your own successful business.
Whatever you choose to get up to, we wish you the very best of luck in your new career!