Becoming a contractor – Preparation part II

Build your network

Networking is a necessary part of landing your first clients as an independent contractor. Networking can mean many different things – but as long as you are getting to know others who could be potential clients—it doesn’t matter how you go about doing it. Consider attending networking events in your industry specifically designed for meeting other businesspeople and learn about the latest trends. Try joining a professional association and attending those meetings, or volunteering for a good cause and meeting new people along the way. Practice speaking about your services, and get advice from other industry professionals.

Finding a mentor is another way to obtain valuable business-related guidance and advice.


Build Your Online Presence

Social media presence is helpful to stay in touch with your network, to reach out to your online audience, establish yourself as a trusted authority within your industry, and market your future business.

Use LinkedIn as a virtual resume and as a platform to network with people you are interested in working with. Quite a lot of your potential audience is on LinkedIn.  Start by joining some groups relevant to your industry. Look for discussions to which you can actually add value.

Twitter and Facebook can also be used to maintain professional relationships and share interesting articles.

Blogging is another way to showcase your knowledge. Starting a blog may be helpful to practice writing about topics you are considering centering your services around. Blogs can be used to educate and engage a target audience and can even lead to connections and future work.

Create a professional-looking website that can easily be found by search engines.


Develop Your Personal Brand

Developing a strong brand is an essential part of preparing to become self-employed. Brands are an important way for you to connect with your audience.  From your brand, future clients should be able to quickly and easily ascertain exactly what you do and what services you offer.

When building your personal brand, think about: who is your target audience, what makes your business unique, what it is that your brand will stand for, what your brand values are and, what you want others to feel when they see your brand.  Branding is connected with marketing and developing a social media presence, so be sure to incorporate your branding and messaging across all social media channels.

Branding allows you to market yourself effectively as well as build credibility. These are things that may help you secure future contracts or open doors for new work opportunities.


Find a contract

Be aware that you will have to spend quite a lot of your time just searching for contract jobs.

The most popular method of finding a contract is online searching.Search engines or online job boards are good way to start.There you can find the work you are looking for and apply for contracts from a variety of different clients and agencies.

You can check job listings on the end clients’ websites and follow relevant topics on forums, newsletters and social media sites such as LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is also a handy tool for building your network and keeping in touch, as both online and offline networking is valuable ways of finding new contracts


Prepare for interviews

Job interviews for contractor are bit different than those for employee.

Your interviews will be more focused on what you can deliver and your exact fit to the job specifications than your potential to learn and how will you fit in the team. You will be hired on the basis of your expertise.

You need to present yourself as a problem solver more strongly than for regular jobs. Employers usually hire a contractor because they lack specialist skills in company.  So, for them it is important how credible you are, your previous success in the niche and your skills.