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Have you got what it takes to become a contractor?

become a contractorContracting isn’t for everyone. It’s a risky business, and some people prefer to take the safer route offered by permanent employment.

If you’re thinking of leaving employment behind to become a contractor, you’ll need dedication, motivation and skill.

Here’s our guide to the essential skills and traits necessary to being a successful contractor.

Flexibility is key

The successful contractor will have the ability to move between companies and quickly adapt to the different culture, conditions and ways of working. You’ll almost certainly struggle if you don’t handle change well.

You’ll be able to get on with all types of people and make new friends easily, or at least have the ability to form amicable working relationships easily.

Know when and how to use your knowledge

The successful contractor will have a wealth of knowledge relating to their area of expertise, and will be willing to use this knowledge to help other people without criticising their mistakes.

It can be incredibly useful for permanent management and employees to have such a diverse source of information on hand.

On the other hand, there will be times when your advice isn’t wanted. The successful contractor will be perceptive and tactful enough to judge when this is the case.

Always on the lookout for work

The successful contractor will always be aware of potential new business while working on a contract. If the client has a problem and you can solve it, it has the potential to become new work for you.

Instead of allowing agencies to look for all your work, you’ll constantly seek out new contracts. This way, you can pursue opportunities without having a restrictive agency clause in your contract that prevents you from directly approaching the client for work later on.

It’s all about organisation

The successful contractor will keep a database of current, past and potential clients, and will have permission to contact these potential clients at regular intervals – and will do so.

You’ll always keep clients updated when any of your contact details change, so you’ll never miss out on work just because a client is unable to get in touch with you.

You’ll keep on top of admin and accounts so that you’re always up-to-date and able to keep things running smoothly.

A job well done

Perhaps the most important trait for the successful contractor is the ability to do a job well! In addition to doing a good job technically, you’ll need to be efficient, friendly and easy to work with.

Over time you’ll build up a good reputation and a network of happy clients, and with luck you’ll never be short of work.

So you’ve got what it takes to become a contractor?

If you think you’re up to the challenge, make sure you do some careful research before taking the plunge.

Don’t quit your job until you’re sure there’s a market for your skills. Seek the advice of current contractors and talk to specialist contract agencies in your industry.

If you’ve done your research and made the decision to become a contractor – good luck!


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