Despite our best intentions for setting new goals and completely overhauling our working practices at the start of a new year, the first few weeks are usually taken up with replying to emails received over the Christmas break and trying to pick up the pieces of a daily routine once again.
But now that 2018 is in full swing, it's time to take a proper look at what the year is likely to have in store for the UK's limited company contractors, freelancers and other self-employed individuals. From the arrival of GDPR to more millennials taking control over their careers, how will the next 12 months impact the nation's self-employed?
More self-employed, more competition
Self-employment has steadily become more of a norm among the younger generation, and the passing of another year will mean that more millennials are entering the workforce and creating their own styles of working in order to suit their lifestyles.
As a result, there'll be more competition among personal service company contractors and freelancers for contracts, so those who are already working for themselves may need to up their game to ensure that they stand out from the crowd.
Contractors need to find their niche and look for gaps in the market and see where they can offer their skills and expertise. This means more proactivity is needed, such as adding to their skillsets by attending training courses, going along to networking events and making the first move when it comes to working with new clients.
The rise of co-working spaces
At the same time, more self-employed workers in the economy means they need somewhere to work from, so contractors can expect to see collaborative co-working spaces becoming increasingly popular over the course of 2018.
These are a fantastic addition to towns and cities that contractors and freelancers should take advantage of. They provide workers with a chance to get outside of their home office, which is needed sometimes in order to spark creativity and give ideas a new perspective.
Organic networking opportunities like this can lead to new contacts and even new future assignments, and are helping to create more of a community feel within the self-employed sector.
GDPR is coming
One of the biggest events set to affect businesses in 2018 is the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force from Friday 25th May. Although companies have known about its upcoming arrival for quite some time, many have not begun to prepare for it yet and could therefore be putting themselves at risk of a significant financial penalty.
Limited company contractors will need to comply with the new legislation too, but they may also find that its arrival will create new opportunities for them. If they have experience of handling large quantities of data in their current line of work and have helped one of their clients to get their heads around GDPR, they could offer their expertise in this area to other prospective clients as well.
Brexit draws ever nearer
March 2019 has been set as the deadline for the UK's official departure from the EU, so businesses know they have just a little over a year in which to make sure they are in the strongest possible position to navigate the economy post-Brexit.
The approach of Brexit has already seen demand for accounting and finance contractors increase markedly as firms look to get their affairs in order ahead of the event, and this is only likely to step up further during the coming year.
All in all, there should be plenty of opportunities for limited company contractors and freelancers to apply for throughout 2018, but it's important that self-employed workers are making themselves stand out from the crowd if they want to be in with the best possible chance of securing them and boosting their profile for the year ahead.