As an accountancy service dedicated to supporting you as a contractor, we’re always discussing current trends in the market, providing general updates and advice. But what we haven’t really touched on is what it actually takes in you, as a person, to be a successful contractor. Below we’ve rounded up some top characteristics commonly attributed to successful contractors and how you can adopt them into your work ethic.
Networking to success
A large part of being a successful contractor is the ability to grow your professional network and build lasting relationships. Positive referrals and word-of-mouth can boost your career to that next level.
The best way to achieve this is to form strong relationships with existing clients, as contract renewals or a glowing reference are more likely to occur if you become a trusted and respected member of the workforce. In-line with this; take the time to get to know the permanent staff you work alongside, as this can help cement yourself within the company. What’s more your co-workers could end up becoming managers or even turn to contracting themselves, which can improve your network even more.
Additionally, contractors often befriend other contractors which can really help with their career. Recommendations from experienced and respected consultants can really work in your favour and many job seekers are able to secure coveted positions through their network; successful contractor friends who have already worked with a client can have a lot of influence.
Did you know?
If you’re ever in the position where you’re helping out a contractor friend and believe they need guidance and support with their finances; if you’re already signed up to us and want to recommend our services, we’ll repay you. If you love what we do and want to refer a friend, we’ll reward your loyalty with a bonus of up to £250!
Get your fees just right
To risk reminding you of the childhood story Goldilocks – don’t charge too much and don’t charge too little. For long-term success, sky-high fees can often lead you to be overlooked, or even let go when things are tough for a business. Thus, it’s important to charge reasonable fees that are commercially affordable and that you can justify with the skillset you provide.
However, don’t take this to mean that you should under-price yourself either. Don’t underestimate your professional worth, as this not only means you won’t earn the pay you deserve but also implies to clients that your ability isn’t at the level you claim it to be. By charging fees that are too low, you could actually hurt your career prospects as clients may snub you or place you into projects that are too junior for your skillset, thus holding you back from growing to your true potential. As reported in a previous article, it is a ‘candidates market’ out there. Skilled staff are desperately needed, and pay rates are on the rise. Therefore, to be a successful contractor, you must acknowledge your value but equally be fair and reasonable with your rates to potential clients.
Organise, plan and budget
A big attraction to becoming self-employed is that you can effectively be your own boss. Thus, organisation and discipline are essential characteristics to have to be a truly successful contractor. You need to plan your time carefully, set deadlines and make sure you stick to them. It’s important to plan ahead to keep all your affairs in order both project-wise and from an administrative standpoint.
Successful contractors always make sure their next contract is in the pipeline, as it helps sustain the momentum and progression of your self-employment career. While you’re in one contract, arranging another can put your mind at ease knowing that another project will be ready for you.
Equally, you should put a clear budget in place taking into account taxes, company expenses and personal household expenses. In addition, as contractors don’t get paid for any time off they take whether it’s for holiday or sick leave, it’s important to keep on top of your finances and budget accordingly with these factors in mind. Most successful contractors maintain a rule of thumb to have at least three months, or preferably six months worth of earnings saved to cover any short-term illnesses or unplanned time off they may have.
Contractors are also advised to invest in an income protection policy to safeguard against loss of income from more serious accidents or illnesses. Additionally, you should protect your business activities from any potential issues that could arise with the right insurance.
To be a truly successful contractor, it’s best to avoid allowing your finances, taxes and general bookkeeping to pile up, for your own peace of mind. At K&B Accountancy Group and Cloud9 Umbrella we can help you stay organised by managing the administrative side of being a contractor, so you can just concentrate on doing a job well done.
If you’re working through a PSC, K&B Accountancy Group can help your business run smoothly. Our contractor accountants can support you with everything from your self-assessment tax returns to dividend payments, PAYE, VAT and any tax legislation changes that may occur. We keep you on the right track so you can focus on what’s important. In addition, we offer packages to provide reviews, help and advice for complex legislation such as IR35, to protect you from any legal action.
If you’re new to contracting or simply don’t want the hassle of managing a limited company, Cloud9 Umbrella can do this all for you. You’ll be taken on as an employee and we’ll provide compliant PAYE payroll services for you. You will also be covered by employment insurances including £10 million Employers’ Liability insurance, £5 million Public Liability insurance, and £2 million Professional Indemnity insurance, so you won’t have to worry about attaining this. Furthermore, with Cloud9 you get the same benefits as a permanent employee in regards to statutory sick pay, holiday pay, maternity and paternity leave and pension contributions, if necessary.
Are you a contractor looking to switch from your existing accountant? Our simple and straightforward approach to changing accountants ensures contractors, consultants and freelancers have a hassle-free opportunity to switch. The switch is FREE without the need to pay for any ‘catch up’ or retrospective accountancy fees for the previous year’s accounts and corporation tax return*. Sign up here. *T&Cs apply
New to contracting, working in the public sector, caught inside of IR35 or simply don’t have the time to run your own limited company? Cloud9 Umbrella can take the hassle out of contracting and look after the administrative burden for you. Take it easy this summer and let them take care of things by processing your first payslip free of charge and if you love the service, get another month free too! * Find out more and sign up today! *T&Cs apply
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