You’ve read plenty of articles and books on how to become a contractor. There’s never been a better time to make a change and become your own boss. Yes, there’s a transition period which may seem a little daunting, but with the right support and effort, you can be up and running in under a week.
The only thing holding you back now is yourself. Why not take the weekend to pull together a plan. It doesn’t need to be complex, just enough to really think about what you need to do to live the life you want. Here are the basic points you need to address to move to the next stage and grab your career with both hands and give it a good shake:
Am I ready to become a contractor or consultant?
- Do I want to work for myself?
- Do I know what I’m good at? This drives what your contractor strengths are.
- Do I cash cushion put aside for gaps in my contract work – you’ll need it before you start to ensure it’s there if there’s a dry spell or a delay to starting work for yourself.
- What am I worth? Do your homework on rates for similar roles.
- How and where do I want to work?
Download and fill in your own Ready to Start Plan. Print it on a large A3 sheet and sketch your ideas, research and findings. Having your goals on paper brings you a step closer to achieving them! Download your own personal copy here.
Before I start my transition:
- Find an experienced accountant that specialises in contractors and consultants – one that offers a company incorporation service and all the support you need to run your business.
- Line up recruitment agents that can find the right contracts for you.
- Make a plan and stick to it – ensure you’re bringing in the contracts you need to earn what you expect and to move your career in the right direction. Outlining this before you start ensures you focus on what’s important straight away.
- Hand in your notice.
- Don’t look back!
Becoming a contractor or consultant can be one of the most rewarding things you do. Doing your homework and planning for the transition will ensure it’s a time of excitement and a positive experience. The more work you do upfront, the smoother the transition will be. We have a series of books that you may find useful:
- Preparing to Set Up Your Limited Company – a helpful guide to setting up a limited company as the most tax-efficient way to pay yourself as a contractor or consultant.
- Day to Day Management of Your Company – a step by step guide on everything you need to know about running your own company from admin, to getting paid and everything in between.
- Tax Optimisation Strategies for Your Limited Company – for experienced contractors that already have a limited company that are looking to reduce their tax bill.
We’d also recommend spending some time looking at the following websites that provide the contractor community with help and advice:
- ContractorUK – for IT contractors in the main, the site provides useful information and up to date news relating to the UK contractor market.
- Contractor Calculator – for UK contractors including advice for new contractors.
- HMRC – advice and service portals from HMRC including IR35, PAYE and RTI requirements.
I’m ready to start my own career
Take the first step to taking control of your career and living the life you really want; start planning now and you can look forward to a brighter and more rewarding future as a contractor or consultant. You decide, you are in control, so why wait one more minute to start on one of the most exciting journeys of your life?