Be your own boss this New Year, with our steps on taking the leap from humdrum permanent to self-employed success

Be your own boss in 2017

As we all settle back into our usual working routines, the Christmas break seems nothing more than a distant pleasant memory. How many of you started the year by deciding that 2017 would be the year you’d become your own boss?

 

It’s not uncommon to be full of determination when New Year Resolutions are made, but after a week of being back in the routine, maybe looking after children, and getting on with your day-to-day responsibilities, your dreams of solo greatness can easily flitter away….

 

So what can you do about it?

Intouch are here to save your resolution! We appreciate how life can get in the way of taking the leap, so this blog is here to show you how easy it is to take small steps towards reaching your goal in 2017.

 

Step 1 – Consider your professional worth

Wouldn’t it be great if you could continue with your career, but work when you want, for who you want, whilst charging a day rate of your choice (within reason of course!). Contracting allows you to do just that. Handsome day rates that traditionally outweigh those you’d expect in permanent employment are just some of the bonuses, so you owe it to yourself to see just how much you could be earning doing your current role, but for a whole range of clients instead of just one.

 

Take a look at a few different contractor job sites to see what types of going rates are currently being offered for your level of experience and qualifications. This should inspire you with what your dream could look like financially.

 

Step 2 – Understand what the market is asking for

Are you professionally in demand? Hopefully from your research in step one, you’ll have gotten a ‘feel’ for what people are currently recruiting for, and whether you’ve got the goods.

 

If the answer is ‘no’ but you’re not far off, don’t let this deter you. Consider updating your skills to match what’s required, and whether your professional presence would make you employable. Step three explores this in greater detail…

 

Step 3 – Get your self-promotion up to scratch

If you came across your own CV, LinkedIn profile or business website, would you hire you? When in permanent employment, updating these areas usually falls by the wayside as you may not be actively on the lookout for new work in the same way as if you were freelancing or contracting.

 

Ensure you get these areas updated, and keep them that way. Be sure to advertise any skills you’re currently updating, the types of work you’d be interested in, and possible availability. If you have any personal side projects you’ve also been working on, be sure to showcase them. They’re your platforms so don’t be afraid to show off professionally.

 

Step 4 – Try a bit on the side

If you’re not quite ready to take the full leap into contracting, why not dip your toe with some extra work in the evening or weekend? Start off small, maybe a short-term contract with a client you’ve previously worked for. They will already be confident about your calibre of work and you’ll probably be more comfortable with them too.

 

When you near completion with your first contract, consider how it went. Did you look forward to getting home from your permanent role when you could complete more of it? If this sounds like you, then you know the contractor’s life is for you.

 

Step 5 – Seek professional advice

Traditionally when people think of being self-employed, they think it means you’re totally alone to try and make the best of it. For contractors, this couldn’t be further from the truth!

 

With the support and professional guidance of a contractor accountant such as Intouch Accounting, you’ll know exactly how to make the most of your contractor income to ensure you’re maximising your take home pay. Not only that, we’re able to advise you on all aspects of contracting from an accounting point of view, to ensure you’re getting the most from your Limited Company.

 

Intouch are here to answer all of your questions

Whether you’re ready to take the leap into contracting and need advice on setting up your Limited Company, or are in the very first stages and need to talk to a professional about your options, our team of expert advisers are here to answer all of your questions. Get in touch today!

 

If you’d like to keep reading, take a look at our top New Year Resolutions for the ultimate contracting success in 2017. Download them for free now.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

Self employment advice: The different ages of contracting

Self employment advice: Why contracting is a career for life

 

Over the past few weeks, I have been taking a journey through the different ages of contracting in conjunction with IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed. The four-part series ran on the IPSE website and aims to provide self employment advice and shows how contracting can provide many lifestyle and financial benefits at different stages of life.

 

Whether you’re fresh out of college or university and looking for that first job, or a seasoned professional with a lifetime of experience under your belt, setting up a Limited Company and contracting is a career that can grow as you do.

 

Age 18 to 30; Stepping onto the ladder

In the first of our ‘Ages of Contracting’ series, I explore why contracting can be a great choice for people taking their first step onto the career ladder.

 

The Flex Appeal Report carried out by The Recruitment & Employment Confederation, shows many young people start contracting age 18 – 24 to find work and make money quickly. Other reasons to contract at this age include the flexibility to fit study or hobbies around work or to fund your way through further education.

 

Those in their mid to late twenties who have perhaps been contracting for a few years might feel ready to consider setting up as a Limited Company.

 

If you’re entrepreneurially minded and earning over £25,000 per year, choosing the Limited Company formation route can open the door to even more potential benefits. These include:

 

  • being your own boss in control of your working conditions
  • greater take home pay
  • cut out competition for jobs by starting your own business
  • the satisfaction of building your own enterprise from a young age

 

Contracting through the Flexible Thirties

In the second article of the series, I show how contracting can open the door to new opportunities once you reach your thirties. Whether it’s taking a career break to travel the world or settling down, the flexibility of contracting can provide a greater work / life balance without sacrificing take home pay.

 

It’s also a great time to become your own boss. Recent research by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) found almost 50% of employees are considering setting up a Limited Company. Again, flexibility and financial independence are strong motivations for going Limited.

 

Samantha Bell, 41, contracted throughout her mid to late thirties and has since launched her own successful marketing agency, DML Strategic Communications Ltd.

 

In article two, Samantha shares some of the lessons she’s learned along the way, including:

  • keep an eye on the future and where your next contract is coming from
  • look out for new problems that need solving for the client you are working for
  • be positive and professional at all times
  • make sure you know what only you bring to the role

 

Age 40 to 54; Consolidation and change

By the time you enter your forties, you may well have over two decades of experience and contacts behind you. If you were advised to make the most of your income and savings throughout this time, you should by now be able to reap the rewards of all those lucrative contracts.

 

In article three, I show how this can be a good time to audit your income vs outgoings to see whether self employment opportunities exist to ease your foot off the pedal or even change direction completely.

 

David Martin, who contracts in his mid-forties, believes confidence is the key to success:

”My advice for anyone considering a career in contracting is to go for it and have confidence – if you are successful as a permanent employee and enjoy meeting people then with the right attitude you will succeed at contracting.”

 

 

Age 55 and over; Flexibility, freedom and planning

In the final part of the series, I discuss the opportunities and challenges facing contractors in their mid-fifties and beyond.

 

Far from being worried about the future, research suggests those aged 55 to 64 are less stressed and more content than those still in the early stages of their careers.

 

Travel is a key objective for this age group, so it is no wonder that the flexible nature of contracting appeals. Contracting can also enable working in different environments and with a wide range of people, which helps to keep a career fresh if you’ve been doing it for a few decades.

 

Approaching retirement

If you are thinking about slowing down but don’t want to stop working completely, contracting provides a great way to reduce working hours without going straight into retirement.

 

Other reasons to carry on contracting in later life include:

 

  • making the move into retirement less drastic
  • the possibility of supplementing a pension with additional income
  • the opportunity to negotiate the number of hours and the type of work
  • greater freedom for those wanting to pick and choose the roles they will most enjoy.

 

It’s never too late to get advice

Whether you’re thinking about travelling the world, settling down or building a nest egg for the future, follow these five steps to make the most of your earnings and savings potential:

1. Speak to a reputable Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) to ensure your money is working hard for you

2. Make the most of tax free savings, such as ISAs

3. Build up your pension pot

4. Review your investments – such as stocks and shares, or additional properties

5. Speak to your contractor accountant to ensure your salary/ dividends split is the most efficient for your needs.

 

Whatever your reasons for contracting at different times of life, it pays to seek advice on getting the most out of the potential benefits. To find out how we can help, speak to one of our expert contractor accountants today on 01202 375562 or email enquiries@intouchaccounting.com.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.