10 reasons to become an independent contractor

Once upon a time not so long ago, our forefathers would leave school or college, find a job and then stick with it until retirement time came around.

Luckily, those days are behind us.  Nowadays,  more and more people are making the switch from permanent employment to freelancing.

Are you thinking about making the move? Here are 10 reasons to strongly consider it.

1. A more flexible lifestyle

While the first year or two of contracting can sometimes be rather stressful, once you’re in the swing of things you are undoubtedly able to enjoy a better quality of life. You have the freedom to choose your own contracts, locations and hours. You can decide when to take a holiday and plan and save for it in a way that works for you. If working from 6 am until 2 pm and then spending the afternoon with your children works best for you, you can start doing that. Contracting lets you figure out the best way to work, according to your unique routines, skills and characteristics. You are no longer pigeonholed and can design and work towards the lifestyle you want.

2. More money

As a freelancer, your earning potential increases; contractors generally earn more per hour or project than those in full-time employment. So the same amount of time is literally worth more money and, if you’re a really hard worker, you could be raking it in. (And let’s not forget about overtime pay.)

3. Varied experience

You are likely to gain all sorts of experience that you might not have gained working for one employer. This bulks up your CV nicely and allows you to grow your skill set. Remember to update your CV or portfolio every time you do something new or that showcases a different skill or tool.

4. Less tax

With the right advice, you could save a bundle on tax. There are tax benefits available to you whether you opt for setting up your own limited company or working under an umbrella company.

5. Less Politics

More often than not, you are spared the office politics because you’re not around long enough to get involved. You are also less likely to become emotionally invested in anything other than your own bank account, so there’s less chance of melodrama in your work life.

6. More friends and contacts

You are not going to be staring at the same faces day in, day out, year after year. You will most likely meet loads more people and make more friends (even if it’s just on Facebook). If making friends at work is not your thing, think of it as networking – you will get to do a lot more of it as a contractor than sitting in the same building with the same people every month. And with more contacts, comes more contracts.

7. You are your own boss.

If you like to sleep in in the morning and work until late at night, then you can do just that (depending on the type of work you do, of course). If you wake up feeling like death warmed up and decide to take the day off, you simply work that day in when you’re feeling better. Nobody can tell you how much “leave” you have per year but you – you get to decide when to take holiday and how much to take. You no longer need anyone’s permission to go to dentist, the bank or even your daughter’s netball game. And if a job comes along that is not aligned with your values, you can turn it down and find another gig, without disrupting your whole life. It’s all in your hands and while you have more responsibility, you also have all the control.

8. Less meetings

Because you’re being paid by the hour, you probably won’t be dragged into every drawn-out meeting that is held about the project. So your time is also better spent – working and earning!

9. Trade exchange opportunities

Many contractors are seeing the value in trade exchanges – something that’s simply not possible when you’re in full-time employment. Haircuts for taxes, dog grooming for IT assistance, a hot stone massage in exchange for a life coaching session… There are many communities popping up online where professional people exchange services or products without any money ever changing hands.

10. Manage your own development

As a freelancer, you can plan and save towards putting yourself through any training that will benefit your business. Because you choose your hours, you can work around your study time. You also get to decide exactly what you want to study, without having to OK it with management. Instead of trying to grapple your way up the corporate ladder, you decide where you see your career and business going and take the steps towards fulfilling your own goals.

If contracting sounds like something you might like to work towards, make sure you have a plan in place and don’t put any financial strain on yourself. For professional advice and assistance, visit www.1stcontactumbrella.com.