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At ContractingWISE we have many years’ experience helping contractors at all stages of their journey. We know that contracting isn’t a breeze, so we’re here to provide information and support so that you can spread your wings and make the best of opportunities that come your way.
What steps can I take to make contracting to work better for me?
1. Review your terms and check your rates
Perhaps you’ve been contracting for a while, either for the same client or a number of different clients. You may have secured contracts with or without the assistance of a recruitment agency.
No matter your contracting background or how you secure your contracts, there is almost always going to be an opportunity for you to improve the terms you are engaged on in your favour. The perfect chance to do this is when your contract is up for renewal or extension. Take a look at your terms and your rate. If you’ve provided the same service for some time, your relevant skills and experience will have grown. It’s feasible that the increased level of expertise you can provide warrants an increase in rates and improved terms. If you feel the time is right, then it’s up to you to take the first steps to renegotiate your terms.
2. Never stop learning
As a contractor, your skills and knowledge are your key assets. You work not only to support yourself financially, but to broaden your experience and skills base. If you’re working a contract that doesn’t have much scope for self-improvement, make sure you supplement your work with some external training and upskilling.
Whether you choose to study another professional qualification, or simply brush up on some existing knowledge such as use of technology, there is a large range of resources out there. There are plenty of online learning sources including MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), meaning you can put in as little or as much time as you like. It can be hard when dedicating endless hours to your contract to channel energy into a learning experience, but you will reap the rewards when it comes to signing a higher value contract, or renegotiating a better rate of pay at your renewal.
3. Work sustainably
On this occasion we don’t mean environmentally, although that’s always good practice. Remember why you started contracting? Maybe you wanted more flexibility in your role, maybe you wanted to earn more money. Whatever the reason, remember to keep the balance right. When your current contract comes to an end you will need to be energised and enthusiastic to start your next contract. Don’t sacrifice a future contract by overworking your current one.
4. Network and build relationships
On each contract that you work, make sure you build strong working relationships with the client. A personal recommendation from either a past client or colleague can often hold you in good stead for securing future contracts. To find out more about building strong client relationships, read our tips here.
5. Update your CV
Your CV can become stale quickly. Not just in appearance but also in content – particularly if you have been vigilant about your skillset. Taking time to review your CV can also throw up areas that you may have overlooked and be able to capitalise on and capture new contracts. Review our CV tips for information on producing a stellar CV.
6. Review your agency
Agencies need good, reliable candidates to assist with their placements. If you are doing all you can to work with them, make sure that they are doing the same with you. It’s good to register with more than one agency so if the work dries up with one you have a fallback position with another. We will soon be releasing some top tips for choosing a good agency.
7. Reconsider your setup
It may sound like a hassle if you’ve been contracting for some time, but maybe you could benefit from a different structure now that you’re an established contractor. Take some time to read the facts, advantages and disadvantages of using an umbrella company or limited company setup.
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