Parasol’s New Year resolutions for contractors

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The beginning of January is traditionally the time where people take stock of their achievements from the previous year and plan ahead for what they want to do in the coming 12 months.

As a contractor, we know this is no exception. That’s why we’ve put together this quick list of resolutions you might want to think about to help you enjoy a successful 2016.

Make the leap

OK, so we know we’re cheating with this one since existing contractors have already jumped from permanent employment. That being said, we just couldn’t ignore those people left behind.

This week marks the first days back in the office after a (hopefully) long Christmas break.  If you’re sat at work wishing you were anywhere else, then maybe you’d feel better as a contractor.

There are many reasons to make the leap, such as an enhanced work/life balance and the opportunity to work for a number of different clients. What’s more, industry surveys consistently show that businesses are relying on contractors to provide important niche skills – so you can be confident you’ll have a steady stream of assignments. This shows no sign of changing, so now is the perfect time to switch.

If you’re thinking about a career in contracting, our Best Advice team can help find a solution that’s tailor-made for you. You can also download our comprehensive beginner’s guide for handy hints and tips.

Maximise your income

Contractors tend to earn more than their counterparts in traditional employment, so you’re already on to a winner. But did you know you could also enhance this further by claiming legitimate business expenses.

From travel to stationery and electronic equipment to accommodation, by claiming back the costs incurred during your assignment you can reduce your tax liability – meaning more money in your pocket.

Financial planning is another great way to make the most of your hard-earned cash. You might want to make investments, or just organise your finances a little better.

Remember the brand of you

As a contractor, it’s essential to create the perfect brand to sell your skills and expertise to potential clients. There are lots of ways to achieve this, such as attending networking events and by using social media.

You could also think about setting up a website to further showcase your talent. This would be particularly useful if you later decide to set up a limited company (see below), as your business would already have a platform from which to promote itself.

Make the most of your freedom

Achieving the perfect work/life balance is the holy grail of modern employment, and contractors get to experience this from day one. Of course, it’s no good having the opportunity if you never give yourself the chance to cash in.

If you were working too much last year, you might want to consider taking some time to enjoy the freedom contracting can bring by extending your Christmas break into the New Year, or even setting aside some time for a summer holiday. You may even make it your resolution to take on fewer assignments.

Whatever you decide, if you’ve managed to build up a decent “war chest“, you should be able to take an extended break with no real financial consequences.

Take more control of your career

If you’ve been contracting for a while, you might feel ready to take on a bit more responsibility in exchange for bigger rewards. Setting up a limited company is the perfect way to do this, as you’ll become your own boss and can enjoy increased tax efficiency.

There are many reasons to start up your own company, so maybe it’s time you took the next step. Don’t worry though, as you won’t have to do it alone. Our sister firm, ClearSky Contractor Accounting is on hand to help you every step of the way.

Over to you

Are you a contractor? What New Year resolutions have you set yourself for 2016? Let us know.