Whether you own and operate your own business, work as an independent contractor or freelancer you may be worried about staying busy and paid during a difficult economic times, and with Brexit ahead in the UK this uncertainty is in many contractors top concerns. Ten80 have put together a list of the things you can do to ensure you are fully utilised.
If you are an independent contractor you would ideally be working for multiple clients so that if one source of income dries up you have other ones to fall back on. Contractors can look for ways to broaden your customer base through offering more services which can expand your client base or mean more work through current clients. If you rely on just one company for most of your work you risk putting yourself in a dangerous position because you are relying too heavily on that business succeeding.
If you are not networking while you are operating your own business you risk not having a pipeline of work and contacts to approach when things are quiet. Always ensure you stay on good terms with past clients and keep your circle open. This could result in referrals, and sometimes as a consultant some companies may even try to recruit you after you have worked with them. Ensure you join groups in your industry and be active in them (on LinkedIn this is easy to do, take ten mins out of your day to join and comment in groups in your circle).
If you look for ways to improve your skills this is a sure fire way of impressing clients. Take advantage of online platforms like Udemy to take courses connected to your industry. Look to attend different events and conferences in a client’s industry. For example, if you work mainly for the financial industry, find a relevant networking event to attend. These events are perfect opportunities to ask people about how they use the service you provide. If you want to stand out to clients, look to add value to their business. You could even get permission to promote their company and help them find more customers.
An emergency fund is even more important when you are a contractor, if you want to keep the business open you should have funds to cover the costs for at least six months if work does dry up temporarily. Ensure you have enough funds to include all the costs that make your business run from day to day. Having this in place will mean that if there is a dip in work you will be able to stay in business while you focus on looking for new clients, and won’t have to stop being a contractor and go back to being employed.
Neil is co-founder and CEO of ten80. With a strong background in SAP, Neil has worked as an end user, a consultant and as a contractor. He set up ten80 to allow clients to access the best SAP resources worldwide, and save money in the process.
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