Fusion has written a little guide to help you avoid the mistakes made by many new contractors.
Don’t forget you’re an expert
As a contractor, you’ll have a certain skillset that makes you an expert in a certain area.
Try not to forget that you’re an expert, and don’t be embarrassed about letting people know it. It will make your life easier and more rewarding – you’ll get great satisfaction from knowing you’re great at something that most people can’t do, and clients will know they’re getting a great service.
What you’re worth
As a contractor, if you underestimate how good you are, you’ll end up charging too little because you won’t have the confidence to ask clients for more – this defeats one of the biggest benefits of contracting, which is earning more money.
The opposite is also true. You can’t ask for too much money or you won’t get any clients – they’ll just go to a cheaper client.
You need to look at your market. You won’t get very far if you’re asking for lots more money than other contractors in your industry are charging.
Work on a PC? Back up your data
Make sure any work you do on a PC is backed up regularly. Your career as a contractor could be ruined if you lose all of your work. External memory is inexpensive, and there are plenty of free cloud backup services such as Google Drive.
And even if you don’t work on a computer, you’ll probably still have things such as invoices and receipts to back up.
Manage your time properly
Keep a diary of any projects you need to complete, and work out what time of the day you’re best at doing certain tasks – you might want to do the boring admin stuff in the morning, and more creative things in the afternoon, or vice versa.
Don’t be a spendthrift
Money will be tight in the early days of a contracting career.
That means you shouldn’t be extravagant with your money – when you need to purchase a piece of equipment for example, ask yourself if you really need the most expensive and up-to-date version, or if you’ll be okay with the older, cheaper model instead.
Trust your instincts
When you start out contracting, the idea of finding your first client can be very exciting.
But you shouldn’t just immediately accept the job if it doesn’t feel right. Maybe there’s something about the client that seems dodgy, or maybe you don’t really have the skillset required to perform the task being asked for.
In these situations you should use your instincts. It might seem like a wasted opportunity to say no, but avoiding the nightmare projects is well worth it.
Good luck on your new contracting career
Now that we’ve shown you a few of the more common mistakes new contractors make you should now be in a better position to avoid them and build a successful contracting career. Good luck!