The Independent Contractor’s Quick Guide to Starting 2011 Right

Independent Contractor? Get your ducks in a row for the coming year and allow your business to thrive! Whether you’re new to contracting or have a long and lucrative career behind you already, it always pays to ensure you are on top of your game. Deon Smit, Payroll Manager at 1st Contact Umbrella, highlights 4 areas which – if managed properly – can greatly improve your chances of success as an independent contractor.

Tax and Admin

While this is probably the most boring part of your job, it’s also one of the most important.

“A vital aspect of any business is the administration, which includes tax. The way you handle your tax can undoubtedly make or break your business, but more importantly – if your tax affairs are dubious, you could face actual jail time,” warns Smit.

If you’ve been resting on your laurels in this department, don’t take any more chances. Make this your very first business priority in the New Year.

ACTION:

If you have registered a Limited Company, maximise your profitability with the help of a team of accountants who specialise in Limited Company tax. 1st Contact Accounting provide accounting services specifically for Limited Companies and can also assist with the hassle-free setting up of a Limited Company. Visit www.1stcontact-accounting.co.uk for more information.

If you are registered with a reputable Umbrella Company, like 1st Contact Umbrella you will already be enjoying absolute legal compliance and the knowledge that you are making the most of the tax laws and increasing your take home pay.

By having all your tax and administrative matters under control, you can spend your time and energy working – and earning!

Marketing

How much energy do you give to finding top jobs with excellent pay?

“Many contractors don’t look past the current job. They work until the contract ends and then try to find the next job instead of planning ahead.”

ACTION:

Let 2011 be the year you are in demand. If you haven’t done so already, set up a website, print business cards and start networking. If you can afford to, budget these items in and get professional help. Your 1st Contact accountant or umbrella payroll consultant will advise you on how best to claim back these expenses and increase your take home pay. If it’s simply not in your budget, there are many highly affordable and free services to get you going.

  • Create a LinkedIn profile and start connecting with like-minded individuals and asking your clients for recommendations.
  • Join online groups and forums and attend events related to your line of business.
  • Set up a free website with any of a number of free providers including WordPress, Withtank and Weebly.
  • One of the most important tools you have at your disposal is your CV. Why not give it a good makeover this year and make sure it’s up-to-date and represents you accurately and in a positive light? If you don’t know if your CV is good or not, or how to format it properly, 1st Contact Job Assist can help you to ensure your CV is up to par and able to secure the best contracts available.

Let 2011 be the year you make a name for yourself.

Insurance

Are you covered for Professional Indemnity, Employer’s Liability and Public Liability?

“If you are not properly insured, you need to prioritise this! Most agencies, as well companies who utilise contractors, require you to have the right professional cover.”

ACTION:

If you do not already have the required cover, seek advice from a specialist insurer, such as Sable Private Wealth Management. They provide a simple and instant solution to professional indemnity and public liability cover and can give you all the advice you need for both building and protecting your wealth.

If you are registered with 1st Contact Umbrella, your insurance needs are already taken care of!

Performance

Could you be “the best in the business”?

“At the end of the day, the thing that sets one contractor apart from the rest is the quality of their output. There are many ways to improve performance and in so doing ensure repeat business.”

ACTION:

Start by making a commitment to yourself to up your game in this coming year. Without the right attitude, you won’t see the results, so it’s important that you put yourself in a working frame of mind!

  • Increase your knowledge base – sign up to newsletters and keep your eye on current affairs in your industry; read autobiographies, magazines and blogs related to your line of work; go to lectures, conferences and seminars and learn as much as you can.
  • Improve your skills – are there courses you can go on to increase your skill set? Use the internet, your mentors, books and studies – anything you have access to – to be better at what you do.
  • Expand your service offering – are there skills you could learn that would allow you to expand your offering to include other services related to what you already do? You could increase your earning capabilities and the companies you work for could save on further outsourcing.

The only thing stopping you from being the best in the business is what you do from now on!


We wish you every success in the coming year and hope that your decision to be an independent contractor pays off in every way.

For any advice on tax and admin issues, setting up a limited company or securing work as a contractor, visit www.1stcontact-umbrella.com.