What’s your grand plan?

A growing proportion of us – contractors and freelancers are contracting as part of grand plan. So the big question today is what’s your grand plan?

As contractors and freelancers, we’re an innovative bunch – always looking to find new contracts and emerging niches within our specialisms to move into.

We’ve seen some really exciting developments over the years from some of our clients as they move closer to realising their grand plan whether it’s to diversify, move into a completely different sector, or fund a second fledgling business. We caught up to one such entrepreneur for a chat.

Javier is a successful IT developer working in London. His passion for adventure started early, with a move from his native Barcelona to the UK following graduation sparking a few raised eyebrows at the time. Javier wanted to pursue a career in the London finance markets as an IT developer and his timing couldn’t have been better. Following his move, the Spanish economy faltered and he quickly realised that coming to the UK was a fortuitous move. But that’s only half the story, he’s balancing his contracting business with a new venture to realise his dream of combining one of his passions with a new business in his home town.

Javier’s taken his love of cycling and turned it into a thriving start-up business with his business partner back in Barcelona. It’s tough going, spending the main part of the week here in the UK in his IT developer role, before jetting back to Barcelona to run his bike fitting and cycling consultancy studio but he says it’s worth it.

“I want to feed my passion for cycling and contracting is a practical way of balancing this while we make the business a success.”

It’s quite a balancing act, working seven days a week; splitting his time with his wife in Barcelona and his IT career in London. It’s a common theme amongst our entrepreneurial contractors; the medium-term balancing act to be able to satisfy seemingly incompatible passions simultaneously.

Go on, try something new!

Don’t get too bogged down in the what-ifs, sometimes all it takes is a bit of re-prioritising and you can be on your way to a more fulfilling life. How about some ideas to get your creative juices flowing? Here are just a few of the ideas our clients are exploring alongside running successful contractor and freelance businesses.

8 popular alternatives to your full-time job

  1. Property development
  2. Specialist food importer
  3. Vehicle renovation
  4. Writing novels
  5. Training and consultancy in their specialist fields
  6. Photography
  7. Writing non-fiction e-books
  8. Developing mobile apps

Why not turn your passion into a viable business idea? You already have the know-how to run your own company and with a prudent approach, and with savvy investment, there’s no need to gamble the shirt off your back to try something new. With our Livecash facility, you always know how much available cash you have to invest in the next step of your grand plan.

Making your grand plan a reality.

One of the best things about being a contractor or freelancer is that you are your own boss. You can take on as little or as much work as you need to enable you to pursue other business interests at the same time. Think about when you first started out, it may have been daunting, but how much have you learned about managing your own company since then? Why not take the plunge and follow your dreams? With careful planning, it needn’t be daunting to make a life-enhancing change.

Things to consider before pursuing new business ideas.

1. Research your ideas

Passion is great, but is there a market for what you want to do next?

2. Planning and flexibility are great companions

It’s always best to start with a clear strategy outlining your goals, core milestones and deliverables, but it’s also beneficial to have a flexible approach. The bigger the idea, the more flexibility you may need to turn it into reality. Javier takes a pragmatic approach to moving back to Barcelona full-time:

“I plan organically, it’s not economically viable for me to try and make my cycling business my sole income yet. I hope to make the move in a year or so, but if it takes a little longer, then that’s OK too.”

3. Retain your contingency fund

It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of starting something new, but don’t be tempted to dip into your contingency fund to finance it. You should retain at least three month’s living expenses as a contingency fund to cover any slack periods (such as being off-contract) as a normal.

4. Juggling takes practice and dedication

Keeping your skills up to date has never been more important. Keeping your contractor life healthy is critical when using it as a springboard to explore other business ideas. This is particularly so for fast-moving sectors like IT. Javier sees this as a substantial threat “I need to ensure that I am not a pure specialist in technologies that are slowly dying. I look to diversify and work with new technologies in each new contractor role; that way I won’t end up an expert in a dead technology as the world moves on.”

5. Take the time to get things right

After researching the market for your new venture, take the time to get things started. Some ideas are more straight-forward than others – becoming a published author may be a labour of love, but will need less cash investment and business planning than starting up a completely new business. Either way it’s best to speak to an expert to ensure you’re financial plans are solid and that you comply with HMRC guidelines especially if it’s a diversification of your current business. Give your Account Manager a call for a chat, run through your ideas with us and we can help you make the right decisions to get started and make the most of your funds.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get fired up. Grab that idea, give it a good shake and see what falls out! Stop asking “Why” and start saying “Why not!” Summer’s the perfect time to start making grand plans; dream, think, chat, mull over your ideas on holiday. Then come back refreshed, excited and get cracking. Call us for advice on how we can help you get started.

Join the debate, why not tweet us @inniaccounts with your thoughts on having a #grandplan, or drop us an email to hello@inniaccounts.co.uk with your ideas. We’re looking at producing some mini how-to guides for the most popular ideas so get involved!