If you are like me, then you like having security. Let’s imagine the most basic form of security — having a house and a family. As great as they are for moral support, they require upkeep. Chances are you are not like me and you are you, but we both might agree that finding out that you might be out of a job in the coming weeks is a real downer.
If you have been paying attention then you might know that the idea of a permanent job is no longer permanent. The norm is changing. Workplaces are becoming augmented and automated. No job is completely safe and having just one skill is leaving you behind the pack.
Its time to boost yourself.
This is why more and more people continue educating themselves in adulthood — the workplace of the future is demanding it.
Today’s workers expect to move between roles, companies and even career fields. A new workplace makes you adapt to new tools and conditions. A rather welcoming sight that keeps us millennials from getting bored. Another way of really boosting your skill development is becoming a contractor.
There is a plethora of benefits and it comes with its faults too, but the positive perks outweigh the negatives.
First, lets talk about the money.
Working as a contractor you get to regularly do what you only do during a job interview once — name your price. You will become better at this the more you do it. Contractors have much higher pay rates, because the businesses hiring their services do not have to pay the vast amounts of taxes they pay for their employees. As a contractor you can use the pre-tax money to buy work equipment, books, company cars and even compensate business meals and fuel. This varies in different countries. Just consult your accountant first on how to do it properly.
By naming your price you can change your lifestyle. Some can choose to have less clients, but work at very high pay rate and focus themselves to do work at a higher level of quality. Others could set their price lower and have more opportunities.
Secondly, the next important resource you get to control is time.
The ever so precious notion of time and the cliches that follow it. Controlling your time might mean having the flexibility of taking your kids to school or driving your spouse to work. Usually contractors are expected to put out certain results within a time frame. When and where is up to you.
You may want to wake up at 9 and start working at noon. Your freedom of the flexibility over your time depends on the contracts you choose and the agreements you make. Deadlines are another thing. Just don’t overbook yourself. This leads to our next perk..
..choosing your contracts.
While talking about security in the beginning of this article, this is where I was planning on getting to. You might think that job security means having a contract at a profitable and well-established company. But what if they start using smart systems that can be taught to do most of the work you do now? (Spoiler: you’ll be thanking them like air plane pilots did for the invention of the auto-pilot feature.) Those who embrace and learn these new systems will continue working alongside them, but the others might be out of a job soon.
Another risk is downsizing. You can’t always see it coming and when it does, at least you get a hefty paycheck out of it. Maybe that could be money that would help you at the contracting gig.
As a contractor you have the luxury of choosing your contracts based on the certain agreements you make. You are also treated as a partner and not just as an employee. And if they start demanding more than the exact requirements you can just tell them that you wish to renegotiate the agreement with a premium on the new assignments.
Having the freedom of choosing which contracts also comes with ‘how many’. The common saying floating around is that its no longer safe to have all your eggs in one basket. This is the most important aspect about job stability now. Either knowing exactly when your contract is ending and having other work lined up or not losing your whole income when one client decides not to continue with your services. There is a lot of temporary work out there too and no-one would prefer hiring a permanent employee over a contractor for that. Also you can offer remote services to other countries and as a contractor you are much more attractive to potential clients.
Finally, consider the personal growth.
Running yourself as a business requires you to put thought into the aspects of work that you didn’t think of before. You will learn how balance your accounts, have a clear overview of your money flow, communicate your needs, how to plan ahead and elevate your self-worth. You’ll probably work a more than you do at your day job, but it comes with a pay-off when you find that you have the resources to employ someone to lighten the load.
Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you. Create that business and open up a company bank account. Advertise yourself as a contractor of this or that. Don’t wait for a bright idea or an A-HA! moment. You don’t even have to quit your job just yet. Make some money and see how it feels. Take a couple of lessons on how to run a business. Your personal finances will thank you for it too.