The number one question I am asked is “how do you start contracting?” and to tell you the truth it always feels like weighty advice to give. Am I emphasising the right aspect, am I pitching it with the right amount of enthusiasm whilst being honest about the risks? I felt I needed the advice of experts and went to my network of contractors to ask them what they wished they had known before they started contracting.
For me, and this is echoed below, the best tip is to get networking, go to events, roundtables and conferences. Get your name out there, add relevant contacts on LinkedIn and contribute to industry or market discussions. I’d also advise, unsurprisingly, to connect with a few good recruiters that you trust. Share what you are looking for and what you can offer, and a trusted recruiter will open doors for you.
I think contracting has always been popular and that will not change in the foreseeable future. It remains popular in the public sector world, especially due to the considerable amounts of work taking place in the digital and agile environments. Contractors typically like the short term nature of the projects, enjoying both the pace of the contract and the flexibility of the downtime once completed.
Those who have not experienced the contracting market are always intrigued about contractors and for a professional with only permanent experience to date, it can feel like an uncrossable divide. Maybe this guide will help inspire others that want to take the leap but also highlight the extra considerations you need to take in order to shift to a career built on contracting.
To find out what contractors wish they knew when they started contracting, read my guide to contracting now.