The shift into the "gig economy" in Canada is growing at a very quick rate, especially in the tech sector. More and more people are choosing to become independent contractors and for many good reasons.
You decide what you do
You decide who you will work for
You decide where you should work
Opportunity to gain exposure to new work environments with every new contract
Exposure to new technologies
Exposure to new ways of thinking
Freedom to take more time off
Opportunity to make a higher income
"Potentially" getting away from office politics
With so many people interested in getting on the bandwagon, I am often asked the question "Where do I start?" The first piece of advice I give to "would be" contractors is to speak to contractors they already know. Ask them what they like about being an independent contractor and to dig down into what worries them about being independent (ie: not finding a role, too much time off between positions, etc.).
Here are 10 additional steps you can take before entering the world of independent contracting:
How long can you afford to be off for between landing gigs?
How flexible are you on your rate in order to land a new role and still be financially comfortable?
Are you comfortable with uncertainty?
Update your resume - keep in mind you may have to have several different versions depending on the position you are going for.
Set up your company. While it's recommended to work through this with an accountant, setting up a corporation is not too difficult. There are many online guides to point you in the right direction, including a number of resources here on the Talent Development Centre. You'll also need to get an HST/GST number and set up a corporate bank account.
Consider getting corporate CGL and E&O insurance. You are a corporation and a professional. Not only will this insurance protect you liability-wise, but it can also contribute to proving your independence and help protect you when being audited by CRA.
Set up a website that can act as a resume, complete with testimonials and samples of your work.
Get business cards to market your business and help with networking.
Update your LinkedIn profile and ensure it is tagged, notifying recruiters and would-be employers that you're seeking new opportunities.
Let your network know you are becoming a contractor and looking for new contract opportunities. Word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing tool, including as an IT contractor.
Align yourself with agencies and get to know them well. Keep them updated as to your status once you land a new role or are becoming available. Ensure you send them an updated resume after each project is completed.
Start networking!! Take every opportunity to get out and meet people. You never know how you will land your next role.
This might seem like a lot to do but it is not. Many contractors have told me that they were reluctant to get into contracting as it seemed daunting to go through the above steps. However, once they became a contractor and landed their first role, they comment that they should have done this sooner!!