Starting out as an independent contractor is an exciting time, but it can also be very challenging. Setting up your business involves a lot of planning if you want to be successful, and there’s a lot of hard work involved in the early days as you get established.
Here are some of the main areas you will need to consider when you first start out as an independent contractor.
Plan Carefully Before You Do Anything
Before you even start your business, spend a good amount of time planning it. What services do you want to offer? Do you already have the necessary skills or will you need to train up? What is the competition like in your area? How will you find a steady flow of customers?
Don’t wait until you are set up and ready to go before you start thinking about these things. You may realize that you don’t have a viable business or that it will take a few years to get the necessary skills, and it’s better to find out now than when you launch your business.
Speak to other people providing the same service that you want to provide (although you might want to avoid asking your direct competition). Find out about the realities of the business and get their advice, and then use this to decide if this is the right path for you.
Consider Getting Insurance
Before you start providing a service, look into the possibility of getting insurance. Liability insurance is often considered a good investment for independent contractors and small business owners because you can find yourself on the wrong side of an expensive claim even if you have not done anything wrong.
If that happens, you could up spending money on expensive legal fees on top of any claims you need to pay out, and that could mean the end of your business.
Fortunately, it should not be too difficult to find a suitable insurance product for your specific type of business. Start by looking at the options for small business insurance at Next-Insurance.com and similar providers, and find out whether they cover your specific industry, then choose a suitable product and enjoy greater peace of mind.
Find an Accountant
Whether you hire an accountant or not is up to you, but a good accountant can not only give you advice and prevent you from making expensive errors, they can also help to save you money when it comes to filing your taxes.
Try to find an accountant with experience working with independent contractors. If you can find one who also has experience in your industry, that’s even better.
Start Building Your Network from the Start
Networking is at the heart of most successful small businesses. By building up your network, you can get more referrals and generate more business over time.
For example, if you are a plumber, you want to get the word out there about your services. People are always looking for a good plumber, and if you’re good, the word will spread.
Set up a profile on LinkedIn and make sure you complete it, then spend time building up your network. Also, attend networking events and simply tell everyone you know about your service so they can spread the word.
Get an Online Presence
These days, even small independent contractors should have their own websites. Luckily, you can get a website set up in a few hours for a few dollars these days, and it does not have to be anything flashy.
Just launch a simple site with details of what you do, your rates, the area you cover, and your contact details, and that will be fine. That way people can find you online when they search for someone with your skills in their area.
Market Your Services Consistently
Before you set up your business, plan how you will market it. This might include advertising in local stores and newspapers, or you could focus on online marketing techniques like PPC advertising, social media advertising, and SEO.
One thing you should do is get a Google My Business profile and fill it out, and this will help to improve your visibility in the search engines for local searches. Here’s a guide to getting started.
Plan for a Successful Business
These are a few of the main factors to keep in mind when you are planning to launch a business as an independent contractor. So start planning today even before you have started offering your services and make sure you are in the best position possible to make a success of your business.