Avoiding “newbie” mistakes as a contractor

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Starting your contracting career is an exciting venture and you’ll be eager to get stuck in to working as soon as possible. However, taking a step back and properly preparing yourself can help you avoid falling in to “newbie” contractor traps.

To help, we have identified four potential pitfalls contractors should be aware of:

Underselling yourself

As a contractor, self promotion is vital in getting your name out there and growing your brand. Over time you will build a strong reputation and relationship with companies, but when you’re starting out, it’s up to you to do the necessary legwork when chasing assignments.

Networking is an essential part of this, as it allows you to connect with a wide range of contacts. These range from potential clients, right the way through to leading figures in your industry.

Effective networking techniques include attending industry events, joining relevant social media groups and participating in discussions.

Accepting any offer

When the first assignment offer comes in, it’s tempting to accept out of fear nothing else will come along. Try not to be hasty and make sure you are happy with everything the job entails. The last thing you want is to be stuck doing a project you hate and potentially missing out on something better.

Misunderstanding expenses

Claiming legitimate business expenses is a great way to help boost your take home pay, but the system shouldn’t be exploited. There are strict rules concerning what charges can be reimbursed, while failure to comply could land you in trouble with HMRC.

To find out what can be claimed for, see our expenses page.

Not protecting yourself

Like a permanent role, the road to contracting is sometimes rough and having some savings to fall back on is a great safety net if you have a slow month. Retaining enough money to cover your bills and day-to-day costs will help alleviate stress when searching for your next contract.

Have your say

Are you a contractor? Do you know of any more contractor newbie mistakes? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

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