Want to try your hand at contracting? Heard all about the perks of joining the contingent workforce? BUT plagued by fears and doubt?….We’re not saying that your fears are irrational or unwarranted and you definitely aren’t alone. But there are steps you can take to put you on the road to a successful contracting career, leaving your fears far behind you.
Here we’ve put together a fool proof guide to slaying your contracting fears…
Common Contracting Fears
#1 Lack of Security
Fact: It’s true…contract work can mean frequent job hunting and no guarantee of a new contract to move to once the last one has completed. But even as an employee job security is a myth. And in fact, in uncertain economic times contractors are favoured as they allow employers to be more flexible with head count.
#2 No Ladder to Climb
FACT: A change in attitude to contingent workers has affected the type of work being entrusted to them. Today, organisations are looking to contractors to fill highly skilled positions and perform strategic delivery roles, essential to their business.
#3 Dreaded Taxes
FACT: Although unavoidable, taxes can be far less scary for contractors than regular employees. Contractors have options in terms of how their remuneration is arranged and what business structure they operate under and can take advantage of tax deductions, not available to employees.
FACT: Independent contractors have a lot to offer. And with contractors now climbing the corporate ladder, employers are accepting the fact that this group of workers need to be viewed as part of their company culture and therefore kept as engaged and well managed as their employees.
#5 Money Worries
FACT: Not only are contractors generally paid a higher rate, most contractors are paid by the hour; submitting a weekly invoice and paid for every hour they work.
#6 Being consumed by work
FACT: When it comes to work-life balance, contracting allows for a level of flexibility not achievable within the traditional employer/employee relationship. Independent contractors can control where, when and how they work.
Plan of Attack: Making your Fears Redundant
– Be organised & disciplined
Being a contractor provides flexibility, but freedom can be a newbie’s worst enemy. It will be up to you to determine a schedule that works for you, then stick to it. Being organised and managing your time effectively will be helpful in monitoring your performance as well.
– Plan ahead
As well as being your own boss, as an independent contractor you are essentially your own HR department, with your career path in your hands. Look ahead and plan accordingly. This also applies to your finances. Forecasting can help you potentially balance out your workload over time, and if not, give you an idea of how to manage your budget to get you through any dry periods.
Contract workers are prized for their skills and talents, so keeping your skills constantly updated is very essential if your want to remain competitive.
– Get online
Getting in touch with potential employers has never so been so easy as it is today, thanks to online contractor/freelancer specific job boards and outsourcing platforms.
Networking is an important skill to have as it can produce many opportunities in your professional life. There aren’t a lot of successful people that made it to where they are without the help of a strong network of peers, colleagues, and other contacts. Whether it’s to help you score your next contract or simply to have some moral support as you progress in your contracting career, a strong network is never something to be overrated.
– Sell, sell, sell
As a contractor, you should aim to minimise the downtime between contracts and be at work when you want to and not when the market wants you to. Learning and applying sales techniques enhances your chances of securing a contract at the rate you deserve, even at a time when the market demand falls.
– Don’t do it alone
Managing paperwork, tax, and administration can prove to be a little bothersome and time consuming for some contractors who opt to set-up their own Company or operate as a Sole Trader. Those who would prefer to have their administration taken care of for them, can elect to contract via a Contractor Management Company (CMC). CMC’s, such as CXC Global typically take care of all administration, such as invoicing clients and payroll; statutory obligations such as income tax and superannuation; plus insurance coverage like Workers Compensation, Public Liability and Professional Indemnity.