Tips for Becoming a Successful Contractor over the Long Term

job placementThere are many great things about working as a contractor. Not only do you get to choose which projects you work on (allowing you to seek out jobs that genuinely interest you) and put the specialist skills you have acquired to use, but it’s also easy to set your working hours around any other commitments you have. The short-term nature of the roles you work on, however, means that you need to be professional at all times.

In comparison to their counterparts who are permanently employed by a company on a full-time basis, contractors do not enjoy as high a level of job security and, if you are not careful, you could find yourself out of work for several months if you don’t keep on top of things. To ensure your success in the contracting industry over the long term, here are some of the things that you may want to take into consideration.

Stay organised

Whether you choose to set up as a limited company (also known as personal service companies) or are self-employed, working for yourself means you need to think about more than just the particular contract(s) that you are currently on. Indeed, you’ll also need to assume responsibility for making sure you pay the right amount of tax, have taken out a comprehensive level of insurance and that expenses are filed in a timely manner, among other things so organisation is vital.

Even if you feel comfortable doing administrative tasks, you might not have as much time to devote to paperwork as you would like if you’re busy working on projects and tendering for future business. As such, it is a good idea to call on the support of an expert payroll and accountancy company for assistance.

Contractors who choose to use the services provided by organisations such as PayStream, however, can get help with things like tax planning and bookkeeping thus giving them the confidence that they will always meet their legal requirements. This will not only reduce the chances of you being fined by organisations such as HM Revenue and Customs for submitting your tax return late, but will also free up more time for you to concentrate on working on projects and generating income.

Be flexible

Another factor that will determine the success of any contractor is the ability to be flexible. Such professionals should always be looking for where their next source of income is going to come from and will need to be flexible enough to be prepared to travel to wherever the work is.

If possible, it’s a good idea to live in or near a large city and/or communication network so that you are situated a convenient distance from existing and potential clients.

Always make a great impression

Regardless of the type of work you’re doing or length of the contract you are on, it’s imperative that you always make a great impression among those who you work with.

This means that – in addition to being good at the tasks you have been hired to complete – you are polite, punctual and professional at all times. Doing so ought to increase the chances of you being offered contracts in the future and minimise the periods where you’re out of work and, by association, not earning any money.

If possible, you should look to transfer some of your skills to the permanent members of staff at the organisation you’re working with. Not only will you be showcasing your own expertise, but this can also demonstrate to clients that you provide value for money and could give them the impetus to renew your contract.

Demonstrate thought leadership

Finally, a key step in establishing a successful career as a contractor is to showcase yourself as a thought leader within your particular field. This means you need to keep up to date with the latest industry news and should be eager to put forward your views on these developments (either on your own website/blog or by writing guest posts for trade publications). Doing so will help enforce the image that you are professional and always eager to offer well considered advice to your target market.

Regularly attending industry seminars, conferences and trade shows provides a great way for you to showcase your expertise and enables you to establish positive working relationships on a face-to-face basis. Many contractors often work from home or remotely, so taking the time to meet existing and potential clients alike in person could help you to place faces to the names of professionals you have only contacted via email and telephone in the past.

These are just some of the things that ought to be taken into consideration in order to position yourself as a respected and reputable contractor, but what steps would you take? Leave a comment below and share your experiences with us.

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