Thinking of becoming an IFS Contractor?

Welcome to the fifth edition of my IFS blog. 

This month’s is based around contracting as a career.

Recently, I have seen an increase in IFS professionals contacting me about leaving their current permanent role to pursue a career as a contractor.

I am talking to people on a daily basis who are asking for my advice and to understand the challenges/risks of joining the contract market.

This blog aims to share my knowledge around that exact topic and the pros and cons of becoming an independent contractor.

Photo sourced from argentus.com

Benefits

Nearly all of the contractors I speak to on a daily basis started in a permanent position, however, there tends to be five common reasons why they decided to take the leap…

1. Financial

Contracting pays more than the permanent market, particularly for the premium skills in demand. Some IFS contractors earn six-figure incomes by continually learning and understanding the highest in-demand skills. It is the most common reason for entering the contract market and can be extremely attractive for permanent employees who are looking to earn more money without climbing the managerial ladder.

But, obviously remember, nothing in world of contracting is guaranteed. Always have a buffer stored away in case the worst was to happen, and I would always advise before jumping into the world of temporary work, have at least two, ideally six, months’ worth of savings on hand while you build your reputation.

2. Failed Promises

Sometimes bonuses, pay rises, or promotions fail to materialise or are out of step with employees’ expectations. They then start questioning their loyalty and consider the contracting option as they feel undervalued and unappreciated. When you are contracting there are no more broken promises. Everything is signed off each week or month and you get paid what you are worth.

3. Lack of job satisfaction

Often permanent employees look to expand their working parameters to pick up new knowledge or skills but are simply not offered the opportunity. Contracting can provide the freedom of choosing where to work and what area to work in, so you are always in complete control.

Photo sourced from myventurepad.com

4. Dislike of corporate policies

It’s not uncommon to find corporate politics in a work place, with examples of employees at management level using staff as pawns in building their ‘empire’ to rise the corporate ladder not too hard to find. However, as a contractor, you can step away from any intra-business hierarchal boasting and focus your attentions solely on the project.

5. Flexible working – more holidays

Contracting provides the freedom to take longer holidays between contracts (should you want to do this – some contractors I know work flat out all year long with little holiday!!). The main risk here is, however, ensuring you have enough money each month to pay your bills whilst you are not working, and that work won’t be too hard to find when you decide to return.

Also bear in mind that becoming your boss comes with risks as well as reward.  

Photo sourced from joshrimptoncoaching.com

Barriers to overcome

If you have a marketable skill that an organisation would benefit from using on a project basis, then you can become a contractor.

Some people who are contemplating joining the contract market do not think they have the relevant skill set and will therefore not find opportunities. People think they are too junior, not qualified enough or not experienced. In many cases, this is simply not true.

To join the IFS contract arena, you need to have recognised and potentially niche skills that are in demand in the market – this way you make yourself appealing to customers.

However, also bear in mind, when selecting a contractor for an assignment, clients are looking for someone who has been there and done it and can hit the ground running. They want to know their contractor can run the entire project from start to finish without having to be told what to do. So, if you have just been trained up in a new IT or engineering skill, stay a while with your current employer and work on a few projects to gain experience. 

Photo sourced from theodysseyonline.com

Now you’re now sold on contracting, what next?

Starting a limited company.

In the UK this is incredibly cheap. All you need is to incorporate a company, open a bank account, buy some business insurance, get your life cover arranged, a mobile phone, some computer hardware and software, then find an accountant and you are in business. Potentially, that can all be done in a few hours.

All in all, if you have got the right skills and experience, then finding contracts right now couldn’t be easier. 

Photo sourced from journeywithheart.com

If you want to talk about the possibility of getting into the contracting arena, please get in contact and I will happily discuss in more detail.

I would also love to hear your stories about why you took the plunge, so feel free to comment below the line.

Thanks for reading, see you next month!

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