How to succeed as an independent contractor

21st February, 2018
How to succeed as an independent contractor

Moving from a permanent role is a big step, but you can easily succeed as an independent contractor with these helpful tips from ContractingWISE.

Firstly, an important tip for contractors in any industry is to always go the extra mile and exceed expectations on your contracts. By delivering more than is required, you will prove your worth and soon become a valued and respected member of the team. The client will find they can’t do without your skillset and you will build trust and respect between you and the client.

By building a strong client-contractor relationship, you should find that when your contract is due for renewal you can ask for improved terms and conditions to reflect your efforts and the crucial role that you play in the business. If you’ve demonstrated hard work during the contract, this should be enough to justify any increase in fees you charge.


A common mistake: don’t charge too little

For those who are entering the contracting world for the first time it might be tempting to charge less than other contractors in order to win your first contract. However, this approach won’t do you any favours. You need to ensure you earn enough to uphold your standard of living, if you earn too little you might not be able to see the contract through, which ultimately will be a strike against your reliability.

The amount you accept in pay tells a client how much you believe you are worth. By charging too little you could run the risk of being seen as underqualified. There’s no point in selling yourself short, even if you are just starting out as a contractor.


Don’t charge too much

Although you shouldn’t charge too little, there’s also the danger of charging too much.

Setting your rates is a balancing act. Recruitment agencies will generally tell you how much you are worth in the contracting world, but setting the rate is down to you. By overcharging, the client may believe you are not as experienced or as qualified as your fees will indicate. Another danger of overcharging is the client may end the contract early if there are budget issues or problems with a project.


Take time to network

All contractors should network, especially with the permanent staff that they work alongside. These colleagues could potentially be in the position to hire you in the future, or they may themselves turn to contracting and thus become your competitor.

It is important to network with other contractors, since they may recommend you for another job if the opportunity arises. This word-of-mouth recommendation can carry a lot of merit in many industries.


Boost qualifications

One of the benefits of being an independent contractor that will help you succeed is that you never stop learning. As an independent contractor you will likely have professional qualifications under your belt and you should always be looking to boost your qualifications and updating your skills – both important considerations when understanding why companies employ contractors.

Indeed, having the correct certification for your role will be necessary when looking for a new client – regardless of the industry or stage of your career, employers will only hire those who have proof of relevant qualifications in order to be offered a contract.

For a role where a professional qualification is not required, holding qualifications may help to increase your rate of pay.


Don’t stretch yourself too far

As an independent contractor, especially those who are starting out, it is tempting to take a lucrative contract and then work long hours to complete it. With this approach you run the risk of burning-out and then not enjoying the financial rewards of your hard work.

By pacing yourself through your contract you will be prepared physically and mentally to forge a long-term successful contracting career. Holidays and ‘down-time’ are crucial; it’s important to go the extra mile to impress your clients, but don’t forget to make time for yourself.

Finally, the biggest and best tip for enjoying a successful contracting career is to enjoy it. It’s simple advice but people who love their job will succeed in the long run.


Next Steps

We hope you found these insights from ContractingWISE useful!

At ContractingWISE, we are always here to help. To find out more about how to make the most of your contracting career, give us a call.

You can contact us by calling 0203 642 8679 or request a free call back.


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