How can contractors prepare for Brexit?

Contractor Brexit

We’d understand if this is seen by some of you as a trick question. After all, when no one, right down to the Prime Minister, seems to have the foggiest idea what’s going on from one day to the next, how is the average contractor meant to be able to prepare?

Well, even in the midst of all the Brexit uncertainty, believe it or not, there are still things you can do. But, first, let’s take a look at what’s changed for contractors already since the 2016 referendum.

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More and more young people are looking to self-employment

Young Self-Employed

Contracting is often thought of the arena of people further on in their careers, when they’ve built networks and gained enough experience to be considered experts in their field. However, that looks set to change with recent research by AAT and Survation revealing that 43% of 16-24 year olds have the ambition to set up their own business during their working life.

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What does trust mean as a contractor?

Customer Trust

We recently saw a report on a survey compiled by CV-Library which revealed the most and least trusted professions in the UK. 1,200 UK workers were surveyed and the results were intriguing.

Most trusted

  1. Doctor (61.3%)
  2. Nurse (40%)
  3. Teacher (36.9%)
  4. Paramedic (36.5%)
  5. Police (23.2%)
  6. Armed forces (20.8%)
  7. Vet (16%)
  8. Scientist (14.3%)
  9. Judge (13.2%)
  10. Hairdresser (8.4%)

It seems that we associate trust with professions that are there to protect our best interests (73.4%), are there for a good cause (71%), are reliable (64.5%) and are friendly (16.2%). With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see vocational roles topping the list, particularly those based in healthcare, education and law enforcement.

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We’re all going on a summer holiday – unless you’re a freelancer

Freelancer Holiday

It’s that time of year again. Everyone in the office is telling you where they’re going on their summer holidays. Kerry from Finance is off to Florida, Matt from IT is heading to Ibiza, and Jane from HR is going on a cruise around the Greek islands.

And you? Well, you’re a freelancer so if you can scrape together three or four days off together and all of your invoices are paid on time, you might be able to nab a long weekend somewhere. But wouldn’t it be nice to jet off on a holiday for a week or, dare we say, a fortnight? It might not seem possible with the busy, sometimes hectic, life of a freelancer, but we have some tips to help you on your way.

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Think cyber criminals don’t bother with small businesses? Think again.

Cyber Crime

It seems to be a regular news fixture: large, well-known companies suffer massive data breaches where personal data is obtained by hackers. The type of business and nature of the data often changes, but the stories are always connected through how instantly recognisable the businesses involved are.

So, you’d be forgiven for thinking that as a small business you’d be safe from the interest of hackers. However, the truth is very different. According to the Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses. In fact, attacks on small businesses make up the largest share of attacks in the report.

This suggests that small business owners are lacking in the resources and knowledge required to prevent such attacks, especially when we consider that 21% of the breaches were caused by error, while 15% were caused by misuse.

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The cost of (not having) contractor insurance

Insurance

Contractor insurance can seem like a right headache to sort out. Let’s face it, it’s not exactly a glamorous expense. But you need to have it to satisfy agencies and clients, so you figure you’ll just go for the cheapest premium you can find and that’ll be that.

After all, you’ll never need to use it, will you?

Well… While we would hope your business runs completely smoothly and you never need to use it, experience tells us that some people do have to make claims. Unfortunately, if you’ve opted for a cheaper policy, this can be where you discover to your detriment that you get what you pay for.

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Are you being treated lawfully as a contractor? A tale of Network Rail, Employer’s NI & IR35

Network Rail IR35

Another month, another IR35 story but this one isn’t about the rollout to the private sector, but rather public sector organisations allegedly making unlawful deductions from contractors’ fees.

In this case, the public sector body in question is Network Rail, as reported recently by ContractorCalculator. The accusations pertain to two separate contractors who were negotiating contracts with Network Rail in April 2018 and September 2018 respectively.

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Grids, Likes, Followers and Connections: Which social media platform suits your contractor style?

Social Media

Despite the hype around social media, there are lots of reasons that contractors might be tempted to avoid it altogether for business use. It takes investment in terms of time and, increasingly, money, as platforms tighten their algorithms to restrict the reach of business posts. It’s easy to get wrong, and it’s hard to do it really well when you don’t have a dedicated social media team in-house. But equally, not using social media could be a wasted opportunity for contractors. Our advice? Use it, but use it smartly. Don’t spread yourself too thin, and target one or two key platforms that best fit the needs of your business and get you in front of the right audience. In this guide we take a look at four of the most popular social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. We’ll look at which platforms are most suitable for which types of content, and the types of client they will allow you to connect with, to help you kickstart your social media strategy.

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Local business groups: getting involved

Business Group

Contracting and freelancing can be a lonely game. It can feel like you’re in a bit of a bubble, isolated from the “real world”, and unable to build up collegial relationships. One valuable way to build up your profile, networks and client base is to get involved with a local business group. The broad benefit of joining a group like this is that ever-present business buzzword: “networking”. There are a wide variety of different relationships you might build and opportunities that you might discover. This blog looks at some of the key benefits to becoming part of a business network as a contractor or freelancer.

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We Love Freelancing

Freelancing

Freelancing sometimes gets a bit of a kicking in the press and on social media. If you listen to the naysayers, it’s exploitative, unstable, unsocial, and insecure. Last month on Twitter, journalist Amelia Tate offered an alternative view, saying that she found freelancing “extremely enjoyable”,  very “lucrative” and that it had had a positive impact on her mental health. Hundreds of freelancers joined in to say exactly what they loved about freelancing – here are just a few of the top reasons freelancers love their jobs.

“I see so much negativity about freelancing + I just want to weigh in for anyone considering it that I personally find it extremely enjoyable + v lucrative + have substantially better mental health than when staff. every experience is diff, but would hate for people to be put off!”Amelia Tate, freelance journalist

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