There can be no doubt that having an arsenal of specific skills at your disposal is a very important part of being a contractor. With so many gaps opening up in the UK economy, specialist workers are constantly being called upon by employers to fill in and get the job done when no one else can.
However, these job skills are not the only things a contractor needs to succeed as an independent worker. There are a number of personal traits that a freelance professional needs in order to reach the top of their sector, whether they work through an umbrella company or limited company.
The ability to adapt
Unlike those who ply their trade as a permanent employee, the life of a contractor is always changing. It could be every three months or every few years, but sooner or later you will be moving on to find a new contract and, ultimately, a new place of work.
The ability to adapt quickly to a different environment is an invaluable trait for a contractor to have. Although you will be familiar with your role and what you are required to do, each workplace will have its own way of doing things and the quicker you can learn this, the quicker you will be able to get on with your work.
As well as this, you will be required to forge relationships quickly with new colleagues. Ultimately, you have been brought into do your own project, but this does not mean you won’t have to interact with others and sometimes rely on them for help, and so making the effort to get to know those around you could make your role much easier in the long run.
You have been hired to fulfill a contract and that means the job has to be done in a certain amount of time. This may mean you end up working irregular hours in order to fulfill your obligation and so flexibility is very important.
Moving from one contract to another requires a great deal of flexibility on your part. You may have just finished one contract and are planning a holiday before the next one.
However, the opportunity comes along and you are presented with the job of your career – what do you do? Most permanent staff do not have to deal with this sort of issue but as a contractor you have to be flexible around your work. This is an extreme example but it is one that highlights how precious a freelancer’s time is.
One of the biggest positives of being a contractor is that you can be flexible about your working hours. This works both ways and can mean that sometimes it works in your favour and you can finish early. Other times you may be required to stay later and get the job done.
Stepping out of permanent, guaranteed work to a life of contracting is not easy at first, and it takes tremendous self-confidence and belief. Chances are you already have this – making that first step is the hardest – but the importance of confidence cannot be stressed enough.
When it comes to securing new contracts and finding work, confidence in your own skills can be the difference between landing the job and missing out to someone else.