The road to contracting

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No career change is easy, and some people find making the switch from permanent employment to contracting a bit daunting. It is not only a different style of working, it’s a whole new lifestyle. This may explain why some hesitate before making the leap.

Like a permanent worker moving to a new role, contractors also go through temporary upheaval when they first become a contingent worker. Fortunately, having support from a professional umbrella company can make the transition a lot smoother.

This was a point made by one contractor when we asked members of our LinkedIn group to share their pearls of wisdom with newcomers. He said: “If you have worries about tax and paperwork, join an umbrella company. Parasol served me well for almost nine years.

“If you want or feel confident about going down the limited company route, find a good accountant who can guide you through the required steps. I'm now with ClearSky (Parasol’s sister company) and they have eased me into the process. Their package system means they will provide more or less support as you become more confident.”

Contracting gives you the freedom to work on a variety of projects, pick and choose your assignments and create a working schedule that suits your personal life.

One of our contractors benefits from this flexibility, saying: “I started contracting about 10 years ago. About six years ago I left contracting to do a perm role, but after a year I went back to contracting and never looked back.

“I have been very fortunate to find good contracts within the UK. When I was a perm, I found I was missing the flexibility as a contractor, picking the types of contracts that suited my skill set and of course the money. There seems to be plenty of work out there. Ask others and see what they say, I'm sure they will say the same as me. Good luck with your choice!”

Have your say

Are you considering becoming a contractor? Perhaps you’re a seasoned freelancer with some pearls of wisdom for newcomers. Let us know your thoughts by getting in touch via Twitter.