Contractors do better business when they work as a business!
Contractors choose this particular life and workstyle for a variety of reasons; not least of which is the freedom, flexibility and enhanced earning potential that it opens up for them. For most, however, those benefits are restricted because they do not treat their one-person business like a small business.
If a contractor can start to ‘think’ like a small business owner they can begin to realise the true freedom, maximum value and most profitable return from their endeavours.
Whether you are a freelance contractor, a small business owner, or the CEO of a massive corporation, the most important thing you can do each day is to ‘think’. Most people don’t – they are far too busy doing!
Invest time in thinking and reap more time and better returns.
Thinking, planning, taking control of your admin and having a business strategy sounds like those airy-fairy things that innovative tech companies, design consultants and Google employees spend their time doing… But you, as a contractor, would do well to take heed. An hour engaged in the intelligent management of your business could save you days of frustrating, wasted effort later, and make you more money now. It has to be time-well-spent, however.
Let me give you an example you will probably recognise:
It is time to do your accounts or tax returns. After hunting through draws, searching around files (real and electronic), pulling out some hair and finally giving up, you send all the paperwork you can find to your accountant. After a while they come back with queries and highlighted gaps for you to address. Another searching and stressing session ensues and eventually you might just manage to shut the door on it for a few more months; and be left trying to find the money for the bill. Sound familiar?
What if you had a life and user-friendly, work as you go, in real-time, and find everything when you need it system to hand? And what if that system didn’t need more than a few stress-free minutes from you each day? (Don’t worry, this isn’t a sales pitch.)
Create a process once and it will repay you every day…
Thinking, planning and creating processes and self-management systems sounds scary for most contractors, but it is so rewarding once it is done. Imagine having more time, less stress, peace of mind and a clear focus on the present and your future. That is how smart businesses think – rather than individual one-man-band contractors.
Processes do not have to be complicated and good ones always pay back. We recommend FreeAgent for contractor’s online/cloud accounting because it does all that I describe above and much more. Once it is set up (and we can help with that), you will be amazed at the control and information it gives you. Seriously, it is like having a financial assistant working in your business – for free. (This is not a sales pitch – I just thought you should know.)
Other areas where contractors should start thinking like a business are:
- Admin support: think about using a virtual assistant to help with your admin – low rates and high returns.
- Plan ahead: don’t wait until your contract is up before, renewing, renegotiating or finishing – get ahead of the game and get the best new/next contract for your life goals.
- Structure your business well: talk to a specialist contractor accountant about the best way to run your business – in some instances the standard response is not the bright one.
- Join contractor organisations: groups like IPSE are there to support contractors, give them specialist advice and make their lives easier – join them and use them.
When you, as a contractor, start to think like a business you genuinely can sleep better at night, feel refreshed every morning and be confident that there are no nasty surprises waiting for you in the days ahead.
If you want an accountant who will support you in getting the most from your contracting career, please get in touch.