I’ve lost count at the amount of people who I’ve heard say ‘I really wish I could work for myself’. These people are often employed by someone else, in jobs they don’t enjoy, getting paid less than their worth and dreaming of being their own boss.
So what’s stopping them?
Plenty; there’s the fear of change – they are safe in their current role and are worried about losing that security, or they worry they won’t be able to manage their own finances and taxes or simply that they won’t be good enough.
If you're stuck in a job you don't like, what's keeping you from becoming your own boss? Do these excuses sound familiar? Are you too afraid to break free and start your own business? Well, it's time to stop procrastinating and start making a name for yourself. Here are the top five myths about becoming a contractor and why you shouldn't be afraid to work for yourself.
Myth#1 I’ll lose the security of my permanent role
Growing up, we all assumed that we’d get a job in a great company with great benefits where we could work our way up the corporate ladder. Unfortunately we all know now that job security is a myth. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that the average tenure of employment has steadily fallen since 1970, with the number of employees working for two years or less increasing significantly.
Once you get into the mind set that nothing is permanent, you'll start to understand why being employed isn't necessarily as safe as you think.
Myth#2 I won't earn enough money
Worrying about finances is the biggest reason I hear from candidates for not wanting to become a contractor. It’s completely understandable to be worried about the finances; they have mortgages and bills to pay. A successful contractor is always aware of their earnings and taxes, but that’s not a bad thing is it?
Once they’ve worked out the finances, money is biggest reason for people to become a contractor. Contractors normally receive significantly more then their permanent equivalents ‘I earn much more working as a contractor which makes a huge difference to me.’ Ross, Paid Search Account Manager, Havas Media Group. The main reason for this is that as a contractor your client isn’t liable for the overheads they would incur for a permanent member of staff; pensions, training, recruitment, etc… so these costs can be added to your rate.
Myth #3 There's not enough work out there
In May this year it will be two years since I set up the Freelance and Contract Digital Marketing Desk here at Aspire, and in that time I’ve taken on 281 jobs and placed 236 candidates into roles. But don’t just take my word for it, in April this year ‘THREE times more freelancers expect an upturn in business this year than a decline, according to a survey of the growing self-employed workforce.’ Michael Bird, Economics Reporter at City AM.
We have a wealth of jobs but regularly struggle to find candidates across the following verticals; Paid Search, SEO, Email & CRM, Social, Strategy and Media Planning & Buying.
Ultimately though the best thing to do is to look at the job boards and listen to your peers; is there a shortage of skills in your industry? Is there a real need for contractors? Could you be earning a lot more as a contractor?
The number of people taking up contracting is increasing rapidly, Michael Bird, Economics Reporter at City AM ‘The number of people in self employment has risen significantly during the years since the financial crisis, from 3.84m in mid-2008 to 4.46m in January this year.’
Myth#4 Work life balance, contracting will take over my life
Contracting is tough, you’ll have to work harder while you’re in an assignment because ultimately the buck stops with you, but it also gives you control of your work life balance. Many of our contractors work 5 days a week for three or six months then take a month off before starting their next contract.
‘I now have a much better work life balance then I would otherwise have had because I can take periods of time off between contracts. Depending on the contract and the clients need but I sometimes take on part time contracts, or if I’m doing 5 days a week I know it’s only for a concentrated time then you can take a month off after you’ve finished.’ Penny, Freelance Strategic Planner, Acxiom
Myth#5 Becoming a contractor is really complicated!!
Often potential contractors will put off taking the first step because they don’t know where to begin when it comes to the paperwork! For example; setting up as a Limited Company, creating and chasing invoices, getting tax benefits, claiming expenses or even working out what to charge, this is where we come in! The big shock is – it’s really easy – and we will guide you though it quickly and effectively. We can even provide you with a payroll service who can look after your taxes and accounts for you.
If you are interested in hearing about how you could benefit from being a contractor or just to explore if it’s feasible for you, then let me know and we can talk you through how to go about becoming a contractor.
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