As with everything, it can be challenging for some to adapt to change and adjust to something new. Here at Icon Accounting, we understand that for individuals starting the contracting process or their first contract opportunity, the same can be applicable. It will take time to adjust to how contractor’s work and operate, and successful contracting necessitates a shift in perspective and mindset. We are confident that with experience, first time contractors build this mindset, along with an essential skillset which ensures them a successful contractor career.
For those beginning their contracting journey, here’s our top tips for getting started with a contracting mentality:
Remember you are your own brand
Customers like to work with contractors who can provide a solution to their needs. Evaluate your contract role, the project requirements, and understand how your experience, skillsets and competencies can make a contribution to the success of this.
Keep your standards at the forefront of your mind
Don’t compromise on your standards; as you are your own brand, you need to ensure you safeguard it. The contracting industry can be fast paced, and there will be contract deadlines which need to be met. In meeting specific deadlines, don’t let the standards of your work slip, set your standards and the level of such that you aren’t prepared to compromise on.
Place value on relationship building
As a contractor, relationships are everything. Building strong links with fellow contractors, recruiters and potential customers can be a great way to ensure future work, even if you are not presently working with them. They might be willing to work with you down the line on new projects, recommend you to others, or make you aware of other career opportunities that are available. Building strong relationships can also allow you to expand your thinking, learning from others and discussing your tricks of the trade can lead to better practices.
Recognise the importance of up-skilling
As a Contractor, you mainly rely on your own abilities to generate income. It plays a significant role in what sets your work apart from others. Upskilling demonstrates your commitment to continually developing your knowledge while ensuring that your skill sets won't become outdated. Try to upskill as often as you can or as often as the market you work in demands. There is no specific timeline advised, but every six months is a nice target.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Deciding to switch to contracting doesn’t mean you have to learn the process by your own. Becoming self employed and your own boss is a learning process, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help. For instance, an accountant can significantly improve your situation, by assisting you with a portion of your everyday financial responsibilities. Accountants can help you create a financial plan that you can comprehend and adhere to, as well as guide you through your financial (tax) processes.
It's crucial to set limits for how much work you'll take on and the time you are willing to work day-to-day. Not only that, but it is important to create boundaries between your work and your personal life. Making time for the important things in your life —family, friends, pastimes, creative outlets, and general relaxation— is equally crucial. Therefore, make sure to create clear boundaries between work and your personal life, establish strict office hours, and try to avoid working after hours, this includes checking your work email (we are all guilty of it..).
Now that you are armed with some of our top tips for getting into the contracting mindset you will be able to drive straight into your next contracting role.