Do you know how to spin yourself?

How to spin yourself

No, we’re not talking about some crazy exercise fad or bizarre pastime. Instead, we’re talking about ways you can disguise your perceived “weaknesses” as a freelancer or contractor and turn them into strengths that will make you uniquely hireable.

But what does this look like in real terms?

 

Availability

 

What got us thinking about this was reading about Hannah Martin, co-founder of The Talented Ladies Club and successful freelance copywriter, who was also a parent. In the early days, she found being a mum meant she could rarely be available to work onsite with a client. However, she performed a rather genius sleight of hand by identifying her USP.

 

This was built around being the go-to copywriter if you had an urgent brief, or if you needed work doing overnight or over the weekend. Clients suddenly weren’t bothered by having to brief her over the phone and have her work remotely if it meant they were delivering work to their boss on time. This is a great example of putting a spin on a supposed shortcoming and making it a strength that sells.

 

Experience

 

If you’re a younger contractor and freelancer, your comparative lack of experience can be a bit daunting. The same goes for older contractors who have perhaps only held one or two long-term roles prior to becoming self-employed – you may feel inexperienced compared to people who have a more varied CV.

 

Remember though, a more focused career doesn’t necessarily make you inexperienced, it makes you a specialist. While others may be able to do lots of things, you can do one or two things exceptionally well. It’s just a case of turning how you think about yourself on its head.

 

Fees

 

Fees may not seem like something you can put a spin on. They are what they are, after all. But that doesn’t stop prospective clients (for freelancers more than contractors) attempting to haggle when you give them your estimate for an assignment.

 

Putting a spin on your fees helps prospective clients see the full value of your service and what is included in that estimate. So, instead of simply telling a client your day rate and what deliverable they’ll get at the end – whether it’s a new company-wide email system, a civil engineering project, or simply some marketing copy – make sure they know that they’re also getting your years of experience, your various skills, your problem-solving abilities, your contractor insurance and anything else you consider relevant. This can be the difference between winning a contract and losing out to someone who’s cheaper but not necessarily as talented.

 

Spinning yourself as a contractor or freelancer isn’t about being dishonest – you’re not saying anything about yourself that’s not true. It’s simply about knowing how to market yourself and make sure that your USPs shine through. People can be quick to dismiss things that don’t fit into their way of thinking, so putting a spin on things that could be seen as problematic instead shows that they are, in fact, benefits of hiring you. And that can be no bad thing.

Personality turn-offs that could cost you a contract

Behaviours that could cost you a contract

While it’s popular to say “you do you”, this may not be the case if you’re in an interview situation.

In fact, a recent report from CV-Library and TopCV (based on a survey of 200 employers) found that a huge 75% believe that personality is the most important factor when considering someone for a job, whether that be as a contractor or as a permanent employee. Just to put it in perspective, that’s compared to those who believed it was education (13%) or appearance (12%).

So, you could have all the skills and education, but if there’s a clash of personalities, you could well lose out on the contract.

Personality no-no’s

According to the report there is a top ten of personality turn-offs that are almost guaranteed to get you taken off the recruitment shortlist. These are:

  • Arrogance
  • Dishonesty
  • Being unreliable
  • Close-mindedness
  • Being immoral
  • Ignorance
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Self-centredness
  • A short temper
  • Cruelty

The list of the most favoured personality traits is somewhat self-explanatory. It includes being reliable, having confidence, honesty, being honourable, loyalty, friendliness, and being self-disciplined.

Careers Expert at TopCV, Amanda Augustine, had this to say on the results of the survey: “Historically, assessing job seekers was contingent on two factors – experience and skills – but our new survey reveals that more intangible qualities, such as personality, are determining which candidates rise to the top.”

Of course, the fact that personality traits are intangible can mean it comes down to personal preference, but there are things you can to do make sure you’re at an advantage.

How to make sure you come across at your best

When bidding for a contract, you have a relatively small space of time to convince the hiring manager that you’re the right person for this project. As well demonstrating your experience and skills, you also need to use the time to show off your sparkling personality. So, what do you need to do?

  • Tread the fine line between selling yourself and coming across as arrogant and entitled
  • Be open, transparent and honest
  • Arrive in plenty of time and prepare anything you said you would
  • Show yourself to be open-minded and well-informed
  • Be kind, polite and pleasant – it costs nothing

While this might seem obvious to most people, it’s easy to get carried away in an interview environment, especially with the race-to-the-bottom business culture so often demonstrated on the likes of LinkedIn and in popular culture. It’s not necessary to be an awful person in order to get ahead and, as this report shows, it can actually damage your chances in very real terms.

 

Of course, there are other things that can also damage your chances at securing a contract and not having the correct contractor insurance is one of them. If you’re ready for renewal or need to buy for the first time, our expert team can help. Simply call 01242 808740.

How to be assertive as a contractor

How to be more direct at work

Here at Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, we recently had a conversation with an IT contractor that gave us insight into a scenario that we think may be fairly commonplace. How to be assertive when contracting.

The contractor told us that a couple of projects she had recently worked on had overrun past their deadline due to her clients holding things up internally. This was due to things like long turnaround times on sign-offs, delays in providing information and other hold-ups. She said she felt as if she should have pushed back to her clients, reminding them of the deadlines and asking them to speed things up. However, she didn’t feel confident to do this as she is a contractor and didn’t feel she had the same influence as a permanent employee.

So, we’re here to tell you what we told her: never be afraid to be assertive.

 

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You can count on Kingsbridge

Customer Reviews

When you’re purchasing contractor insurance, you really are taking a leap of faith. You’re depending on that company to treat you fairly, to not hike up premiums, to help you if you need them to, and to not wriggle out of claims. For these reasons, you need to choose an insurer that’s trustworthy – not just in their own eyes, but in the eyes of their existing customers.

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Chasing payments during the summer holidays

Payments

Being a freelancer is amazing. You work when you want, how you want, and for who you want. But there’s one little thing, one tiny, insignificant niggle that seems to bother most freelancers: getting paid on time.

A lot of clients are good and will pay when they’re meant to. There are even rumours of seemingly magical ones who pay (dare we say it?) early. However, there are far too many who let the payment due date slide by unacknowledged. For freelancers, this can make life incredibly difficult, but it can also be pretty soul destroying when instead of doing actual work, you’re chasing up clients again and again and getting nowhere.

This is bad enough no matter the time of year, but during the summer holidays it can be massively exacerbated by people being off work or working remotely more often. So, we’ve put together some suggestions on how to make sure you get paid between July and September, regardless of the summer hols.

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IR35: What would you do?

IR35

There have been reports in recent weeks that some well-known financial service companies, including Morgan Stanley and HSBC, will cease to work with contractors outside IR35 rules once the reforms are rolled out the private sector on 6 April 2020. This is presumably so they do not have to go to the trouble of preparing for the reforms and ensuring the legislation is implemented.

This could result in contractors being issued with an ultimatum: become a permanent employee, operate through an umbrella company, or cease working with that client altogether.

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A quick guide to self-employed expenses

Expenses

Expenses can be the bane of a contractor or freelancer’s life. On the one hand, it’s great that you can claim certain things back to offset your taxes. On the other, it’s one more thing you need to keep track of.

What’s allowed? What isn’t? Are you claiming too much? Not enough?

It’s enough to send even the most conscientious contractor running for the hills. So, we’ve put together this quick guide to some of the most common queries, pointing you to the best resources.

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Do IR35 changes apply to me?

IR35

IR35 reforms are set to hit the private sector in April 2020 and a lot of contractors are still none-the-wiser as to whether or not it will directly affect them. It can be hard to gauge because to know if it will affect you, you need to know if it will affect the businesses you work for.

We’ve pulled together a quick guide to help you understand if IR35 reforms will affect you or not. However, this is by no means exhaustive and we recommend chatting with your clients as well.

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Why you might want to return to self-employment

Self Employed

So, you were self-employed for a while, but then got lured back to the bright lights of regular employment.

Perhaps it was for a great career opportunity, perhaps it was for the guaranteed monthly salary, perhaps it was because you wanted to take advantage of a maternity or shared parental leave package, perhaps you were just sick and tired of doing your own admin.

Whatever the reason, you went back and spent some time as an employee and you’ve been enjoying it. Let’s face it, it’s quite nice not having to do your own taxes every year.

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I’m a Celebrity…and I’ve been caught by IR35: What lessons can we learn?

IR35

Lorraine Kelly. Christa Ackroyd. Eamonn Holmes. Robert Glenister. Kaye Adams. No, it’s not the latest Strictly line-up. The above TV stars are just the visible few of the potentially large number of well-known names who are likely to have been caught-up in HMRC’s ongoing IR35 crackdown.

As anyone with half on eye on the news will know, some have fared better than others. Lorraine Kelly, or rather ‘Lorraine Kelly’, avoided a substantial fine by claiming that her happy-go-lucky TV persona was just that – a brand, and not a reflection of the real person. Kay Adams was judged to be sufficiently detached from the BBC to be outside IR35. Ackroyd was not. Glenister lost due to a combination of a lack of understanding and flimsy, poorly prepared legal arguments. Holmes’ case is still going through the courts, with £2m of tax at stake.

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