Mon 25th Apr 2016
Contracting can be a rewarding way to work. Making the move from a permanent employee to a contractor is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you are thinking about it then we suggest you take some time to consider the following -
Understand your skills
It is important to be realistic about your abilities and how the skills you have would be required by industry in which you wish to work. Are your skills in demand, and are you at a similar standard to the competition. Understanding these elements will allow you to predict your income levels from becoming self-employed. Failure to appreciate them can see you unable to gain contracts as you appear too expensive, or working for too little as you sold yourself too cheaply.
Maintain you skills
As a contractor you do not have the opportunity to rest on your laurels. You will be required to hit the ground running, and therefore expected to be up to date with all areas of your job.
Lay the foundations
Building your profile can take some time, so it is advisable to do some ground work first. Consider taking on projects alongside your permanent job for a while if you can. Build yourself a reputation whilst you figure out whether it is something you would like to do full time.
The right step at the right time
Think about the industry, when are contracts at their peak? Try to plan your switch for a time where there is extra work available. You do not want your first few months to be during the slower months when people with much more experience are bidding for the same jobs.
Make use of your contacts
Are you able to contract for your current employer? Could that offer some safety net for the first few months? It could have mutual benefit as your current employer retains some of your skills whilst a new recruit is being trained.
You don’t have to be all alone
You can be a contractor but still have the support of a back office to help manage your payments and manage your tax – in a similar way to an employer. Umbrella organisation NWM manage your work invoices and pay you via PAYE – which means no nasty surprises at the end of the tax year.