Have you ever considered setting your own hours, choosing your projects, and taking control of your professional life? Welcome to the world of contracting. But is it the shiny career badge it seems, or a fickle hallucination in the employment desert? We’ve put together some thoughts on why contracting could be your next career move.“Go Contracting” they say. Why? Flexibility and Freedom Ever dreamed of taking a mid-week break or choosing your working hours? Contracting offers unparalleled flexibility. It’s almost like being the director of your own movie – you call the shots. No more 9-5 grind; you set the pace and create a work-life balance that suits you. Earning Potential Remember hearing tales of contractors earning double or even triple? It’s not a myth. Contracting often offers lucrative packages, especially if you possess niche skills. You can also work on multiple projects simultaneously, multiplying your income streams. A super crude guess on what you might go for as a contractor is to simply change your annual salary number to an hourly (ie 100k pa might mean $100 an hour). Diverse Opportunities Variety is the spice of life, and contracting is the buffet. From tech to construction, contracting spans across industries, presenting a plethora of opportunities. Ever felt boxed in a role? Contracting lets you wear multiple hats, enriching your professional skills.The Realities of Contract Work Inconsistency in Jobs Here’s the kicker: contracting can be unpredictable. Unlike a steady job, projects come and go. Imagine the tide – sometimes high, sometimes eerily low. Are you prepared for those ebbs and flows? Lack of Job Security When economic tides turn, contractors often feel the first pinch. Without the cushion of company benefits or severance packages, the landscape can get rocky. Responsibility for Your Own Taxes and Benefits Remember the joy of automatic tax deductions from your pay? Wave it goodbye! As a contractor, you’re your own HR. Health benefits, retirement plans, and taxes fall squarely on your shoulders.Comparing Traditional Employment with Contracting Stability vs. Autonomy It’s the age-old battle: stability or freedom? Traditional jobs offer a steady pay cycle, but at the price of set hours and routines. Contracting is the wild west, offering autonomy but demanding grit and hustle. Benefits: Company-provided vs. Self-sourced Health benefits, retirement funds, paid leaves – the golden trio of employment perks. Traditional roles often offer these, while contractors must forge their path, seeking external providers or forgoing them altogether. Career Progression Remember the corporate ladder? Traditional employment offers a clear hierarchy, but contracting is more like navigating a jungle gym. It’s not about climbing; it’s about expanding, evolving, and learning.Essential Skills for a Successful Contractor Self-discipline and Motivation Without a boss breathing down your neck, it’s easy to slack. Successful contractors are self-driven, with a sprinkling of discipline and a dollop of motivation. Networking and Relationship Building It’s not just what you know, but who. Building a robust network is crucial in the contracting world, ensuring a steady stream of opportunities. Negotiation Skills Ready to play hardball? As a contractor, you’ll often find yourself negotiating contracts. It’s an art, and mastering it can mean the difference between a good deal and a great one. Talking to a friendly recruiter can help here – both in doing that for you but also arming you with the knowledge of where you might sit in the $$ range.Taking the Plunge into Contracting Is It Right For You? Like ice cream, careers come in many flavours. Contracting is enticing, but it demands resilience, adaptability, and a dash of entrepreneurial spirit. Before diving in, introspect and evaluate. Is this the career dessert you crave?ConclusionContracting, like all careers, has its highs and lows. It offers unparalleled freedom, enticing earnings, and diverse opportunities. However, it also presents challenges in job security, benefits, and self-management. As with any major decision, weigh the pros and cons, seek advice, and listen to your gut. Whether you choose the path of contracting or stick to traditional employment, ensure it aligns with your goals, skills, and passions.The most common questions we are asked How do I start as a contractor? Begin by identifying your skills and the industries they apply to. Build a strong network, create a portfolio, and approach potential clients or agencies. Are there any hidden costs in contracting? Yes, consider costs like health benefits, retirement plans, and potential downtime between projects. How can I ensure a steady stream of projects? Networking is key. Maintain good relationships with past clients, attend industry events, and continually upgrade your skills. Is contracting suitable for all industries? While contracting is widespread, its density varies. Industries like IT, design, and consulting often have more opportunities compared to others. Can I shift back to traditional employment after contracting? Of course. Many contractors transition back, using their diverse experiences to offer unique perspectives in traditional roles.