Skip to main content

7 tips for contractors starting out

Alex Bentley

Alex Bentley | Marketing Assistant

Thursday 25th Aug, 2022

There are times in life when we reflect on the past and think ”if only I'd known…”. Whether it be an embarrassing little blunder or a huge life decision, either way hindsight can be a funny thing. With that in mind, we asked contractors for some advice that they’d give to others starting out in the sector. Here’s what they had to say…

  1. Know your Value

    Never underestimate your worth. We’d recommend researching the standard rate for comparable roles in your industry. This will help you gauge whether or not you are being paid fairly. Make clients aware of your expectations before you take on a contract. This is the best way to ensure you are being treated fairly. It also makes it much easier to negotiate because you know where your limit is and when not to compromise. If you’d like some further advice on contract negotiation, you can read our 5 tips here.

  2. Don't be afraid of feedback, encourage it!

    Praise and criticism go hand in hand and both can help you improve your craft. Sometimes an extra pair of eyes can really help you look at things from a new perspective. Remember that working collaboratively can have massive benefits to the quality of your work overall. No-body is perfect and everyone has room to grow and learn. There’s also plenty of worth in knowing what you’re doing right as well.

  3. Work life balance is important

    When you’re new to contracting it can be easy to get caught up chasing as many contracts as possible, working all hours of the night and putting your career before everything else. Whilst it’s good to have goals and want to progress, taking on too much can consume all of your energy which ultimately affects the standard of your work. If you remember to take some down time for yourself and loved ones, you’ll notice that it actually has a strong impact on not only your quality of life but quality of work.

  4. Try to worry less

    As with anything, it’s easy to let work worries seep into your life. Whilst it may be easier said than done, once you down tools for the day it’s important to try and switch off. One of the best ways to do this is to distract yourself with other activities, whether it’s watching a movie, doing a big food shop or taking a walk outside. If you can, leave your worries at your desk and look at the bigger picture.

  5. Bad days don't make a bad job

    Everyone has an off day from time to time. There will likely be a time in the future when you’re working on a contract that doesn’t particularly inspire you. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the wrong field. Maybe this certain contract doesn’t match how you work and the next one will be totally different, or you can take it as a learning experience and narrow in on the parts of your field that you really enjoy.

  6. Don't measure yourself based on others

    Everyone is different. Be proud of your friends and colleagues instead of comparing yourself against them. You can hinder your own career progression by getting disheartened when someone else does well.

  7. Don't stop believing

    Contacting requires patience and persistence, but the benefits it can bring are huge. Remember why you chose contracting in the first place, whether that be for the higher rate of pay or the freedom and flexibility to do the work you truly enjoy. If you never stop believing in yourself it will give you the power and confidence to drive your own success.

If you’ve made the decision to move to contract work and are unsure of what direction to take when it comes to how you will operate, get in touch with PaySteam on 0161 923 0201 or email for more information.

Read more in:

Related article - 3 tips on how to stand out when going after your next contract

Working as a contractor can be competitive, with lots of contractors all fighting for the same contract. So you need to make sure that you and your personal brand stand out from the crowd in order to demonstrate to clients that you are the person who can add the most value to their business.

So, how exactly can you do this? Here’s our 3 top tips…

Read more
Back to the Top