4 Business Tips for New Independent Contractors

Independent Contractors - Sell Yourself

As a new independent contractor, you now have the freedom to choose any assignments you want. You are your own boss, and it’s your choice if you want to broker a deal with any business in the world. Here are four business tips to aid you in your new career as an independent contractor.

Sell Yourself

By becoming self-employed, you’ve bet on yourself. The way to prove that you made the right call is by pounding the pavement to find lots of work. At this point, you must understand that you only have one product to sell, and that’s yourself. Learn how to hype your skills in a manner that entices strangers to become new business allies. The more people you get to buy the brand of you, the quicker your bet on yourself will pay dividends.

Name Your Price

One of the touchiest aspects of working as an independent contractor is figuring out what to charge for your services. Sometimes, you’ll miss the mark badly, asking much more from a client than they’re willing to spend. The reverse is true as well. Occasionally, you’ll wince when you learn that you could have charged much more for your services since the client valued your work more than you realized.

Don’t live in fear of incorrect pricing, though. Every industry has a market rate you can research to decide where you fall on its scale. If you have a great deal of expertise and experience, price yourself in the middle at first then raise your charges once you’re established. Conversely, people who are new to the profession should offer the lowest rates possible in order to build their reputation through rapid growth of a body of work.

Pick the Right Clients

As the sole proprietor, you’re the fall guy if anything goes wrong. You’ll want to avoid clients who tend to berate or diminish you. These business relationships can burglarize your time, reducing your billing hours as well as your enthusiasm for the job.

On the other hand, if you enjoy a great deal of job satisfaction working for a client, consider offering more work at a slightly lower rate. You’ll make up the money in volume while adding some job security in a situation you know fosters a positive work environment. For example, if you own a car and enjoy meeting new people, you can partner with Uber. Finding the business opportunities that enrich your work life is the secret to successful independent contracting.

Keep in mind that you can protect yourself by forming a limited liability company. Once you form this LLC, you won’t be personally liable for any debts that the company accumulates. You can think of your limited liability company as being a safety net for your personal finances, as it means that you won’t have to take on all of the risk yourself.

Your company could also help you out with your taxes, as you are only responsible for paying tax on the salary that the company gives you, rather than all of the income that the company creates.

Treat Your Employee Well

There’s only one employee at your company. You must make certain that this person enjoys all the opportunities that anyone in a business should. That means investigating the implementation of a simple 401k program. Healthcare insurance is a must as well. That way, if you ever become sick or injured, you don’t experience financial disaster. Finally, every good worker needs vacation time. Don’t forget to give yourself a few days off here and there plus an annual vacation. Otherwise, you risk burning out.

Becoming an independent contractor is exciting. You no longer answer to anyone but yourself, and that’s liberating. As long as you follow the steps above, working for yourself will be your dream job.

Image via Flickr by Kate B. Harding