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Contractors 'would rather be experts than entrepreneurs'

Aimee Horgan-Briggs

Aimee Horgan-Briggs | Marketing Assistant

Monday 3rd Sep, 2018

The UK's limited company contractors would much rather be classed as experts than entrepreneurs, new research has found.

As a limited company contractor, do you class yourself as an entrepreneur? Or would you rather be referred to as an expert? If that's the case, then you're not alone, as recent research has revealed the majority of contractors and freelancers in the UK would much rather be classed as experts than entrepreneurs.

This is just one of the findings of a report published by the Association for Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) and the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA), entitled 'Working well for yourself: What makes for good self-employment?'.

The report provided an important insight into how limited company contractors view themselves and their place within the wider workforce. Let's take a look at what it uncovered and see exactly why contractors would rather be 'experts' than 'entrepreneurs'.


Expert vs entrepreneur

The report authors asked contractors about their main motivations in working for themselves, with almost two-thirds (64 per cent) saying that being able to expand and use their knowledge and skills was a key career priority for them. In comparison, 50 per cent cited increasing their annual earnings, and 16 per cent said they'd like to hire other people.

This therefore suggests that most contractors work for themselves as it allows them to use their hard-earned expertise and do something they enjoy, rather than for purely financial reasons.

It was found that the majority of limited company contractors are happy with this from their professional lives, with 81 per cent of self-employed individuals reporting general satisfaction with their careers compared to just six in ten of traditionally employed workers.

Commenting on these findings, Director of Policy at IPSE Simon McVicker said: "A timely and incisive report, this confirms what anecdotal evidence has been telling us for a long time: work satisfaction is generally very high among the self-employed. After all, why else would so many more people be choosing to work for themselves?

"Determining how the self-employed measure career progression is also hugely important. From this report, it's clear that rather than seeing themselves as the next Richard Branson and wanting to build up a business empire - as policymakers are prone to think - most freelancers actually just want to hone their skills and become experts at what they do."


What else is important to limited company contractors?

Overall, the average career satisfaction level for the UK's contractors and freelancers came in at 7.3 out of ten. IPSE and the IPA found that there are three key areas influencing this score: contractors' work-life balance, their relationships with their clients, and payment culture.

The chance to achieve a better work-life balance is one of the reasons why many people choose to become contractors in the first place. However, this isn't automatically guaranteed - you do have to put in some effort to stick to set finish times and allow yourself a break to allow this to become a reality.

Client relationships also require nurturing, but by setting realistic expectations and following the 'under promise, over deliver' mantra, you should be able to keep them happy. Remember, regular communication is key to successful working relationships, so whether this is direct or via frequent posts on your business social media channels, let your clients know that you're there and working to keep them reassured.

Payment culture can be a little more challenging to deal with, as late payments from clients can be damaging to limited company contractors who are relying on that money. There is help available to assist  you, so you can keep on top of your limited company finances, such as PayStream’s limited company service, My PSC. The service includes the My PSC app which provides you with a real-time overview of your accounts at just a few clicks.

Related article - Pride and enjoyment 'most important to UK workers'

Everyone has their priorities when they go to work, and it appears for many it is not all about money. For some, of course, that's just what it is. There are those who simply want to do whatever it takes to climb the career ladder and enrich themselves. Others, at the opposite end of the scale, may take whatever job they can get at the start of their working lives, or to end a period of unemployment.

Read more here
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