There are more self-employed people in the UK than ever before. Close to five million individuals in the country now work for themselves, accounting for one-third of the workforce. If you're hoping to join the growing number of people looking to make the switch to becoming a limited company contractor, it can feel like a daunting step. That's why we've compiled this guide, providing some tips on how you can get your new limited company off the ground:
Know your market
Before doing anything else, it's vital to do some thorough research into the market you are planning to enter. What skills are currently in-demand and are there any niches you could fill? Learn as much about the current landscape as possible and use this knowledge to develop a service offering that will attract as many contracts as possible.
Set a realistic pay rate
Once you have a clear idea of the kind of skills you will provide and the clients you'll offer them to, it's important to think carefully about how much you'll need to charge. Remember that you'll only be paid for contracts you take on and the availability of work may fluctuate throughout the year. You need to cover all of your overheads and tax requirements (more on that later) yourself and will also need to support any holiday time or sick pay. It's advisable to do some research into the rates charged by contractors with a similar skill set and use this as your benchmark figure.
A limited company contractor's contacts are their most useful asset. Take stock of any links you already have in your industry and start spreading the word about your services. Use your existing contacts to start networking and gain introductions to potential new clients. Utilise social media and LinkedIn in particular, but do not neglect traditional networking methods, as a face-to-face meeting is often still the most effective means of securing a contract.
If you're not doing so already, try to keep abreast of the latest goings on within your industry. Subscribing to relevant publications and joining any professional associations can be a useful means of keeping up with developments and making contacts. Having your ear close to the ground can prove lucrative, as knowing about the latest industry developments before your competition could be the difference between securing a contract or not.
Get a firm grip on your company finances
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of becoming a limited company contractor is coming to terms with the various tax regulations you now need to comply with. Many people have limited experience in this area and it can appear very confusing for the uninitiated.
One way to get around this is to utilise the services of a professional. PayStream's limited company services are ideal for all limited company contractors, however it's particularly useful for those who are new to working in this way because it provides a safe pair of hands providing help and advice as and when needed. The service will help with the admin involved in running a limited company giving the contractor time to focus on seeking and winning contracts. Find out more about how we can help you here.
Build your brand
As a self-employed contractor, you are your own marketing and sales department. Support your skills set offering with a consistent brand image that covers your website, social media profiles and all communications with clients. Your brand is how people will perceive you, so make sure it highlights all of your key strengths and skills.
Establish a good working environment
It can take time to adjust to self-employment. Make things easier for yourself by establishing a good working environment. Ensure you have a workplace that is set up to help you be productive and try to get into a regular routine that provides you with a good work-life balance. It can be easy to devote almost all of your time to work when you take on the responsibility of self-employment, but the most successful, and happiest, contractors are those who manage to strike the right balance between work and home life.