Contractor work can be an excellent way to increase your income and launch your career. Working for someone else is not the only path to success; however, it is important to know what to avoid, what you should expect, and how to deal with the obstacles that will inevitably come your way.
Contractors Need to Be Self-Starting
Can you get work done on time without someone constantly following up with you? Bookkeeping, filing paperwork and marketing yourself as a contractor all require you to be your own boss in a not-so-fun way on a regular basis.
Contractors Need Strong Time Management Skills
As previously stated, you will be making your own schedule. Accurate estimation of time needed to complete work is essential, as well as when that work can be completed, and balance both of those factors for multiple clients.
Contractors Furnish Their Own Tools and Supplies
One of the downsides of being your own boss is that you also have to supply everything that makes your business run. Computers, postage, internet access, software licenses, and a slew of other necessities will be up to you to supply. You also get to repair, replace, and upgrade all of those tools when they break or become obsolete.
Contractors Must Be Able To Ride The Wave
Clients will not always make payment bi-weekly like a regular job. You will need to budget accordingly. There will be feast and famine periods of time on a regular basis. If you can plan for this as clients pay your invoices, you will do fine as a contractor.
Contractors Need Strong Interpersonal Skills
Working as a contractor means working with numerous businesses and individuals all at the same time. Each client and business contact are going to have a different personality, so you will need to be your best people person and take criticism gracefully in order to continue to establish and build strong business relationships.
Contractors Need To Be Smart About Money
If you struggle with budgeting, being a contractor may also be a struggle. Every time you get paid, you need to be thinking about taxes, savings for slower business months, and potential unexpected business expenses.
If you can complete a self-examination like this and you believe you can be a good independent contractor, then go for it. The perceived sense of security most people have in a regular job is illusory, and bi-weekly paychecks are not nearly as important as being able to pay your bills and save for your future. If you take a proactive approach to money management and train yourself to be the boss even when it’s difficult or unpleasant, then contracting is right for you.