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Contracting: It’s not all about the money.

Dave Chaplin, CEO, ContractorCalculator:

Highly skilled contractors generally earn good money. They have a skill that’s highly valued by their clients, maybe because it’s very specialised or in demand, and they get rewarded with great money accordingly. That’s market forces for you.

But when it comes to contracting, high pay is just a by-product of what contractors do, and, make no mistake, the money is a very welcome by-product! If you look at most successful entrepreneurs and business people, even when they’ve made more money than they could reasonably spend in several lifetimes, they still keep working and doing the big-money deals.

Why is this? Because they really enjoy what they do and get a buzz out of doing the deals; the money spits out as part of the process.

Contractors are no different.

By choosing contracting, you don’t have to put up with all the stuff that goes with being a permanent employee. Contractors can’t be told to do something that’s not in their contract. And if the client gets difficult, because they maybe don’t understand what contractors do and how to manage them, the contractor can walk, perfectly legitimately.

Rarely will you find contractors choosing money over a challenging or stretching project. In IT contracting, for example, those at the top of their game are unlikely to choose a £600 a day boring contract on legacy maintenance over a £500 a day project at the bleeding edge of the latest software. Over a certain level, the money simply doesn’t enter the contracting equation.

When I wrote the Contractors’ Handbook: the expert guide for UK contractors and freelancers, my objective was to make contracting as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. I wanted to be able to give permanent employees afraid to make the move into contracting the confidence to do just that.

Because successful contracting is just like anything in life: if you can combine your work, your passions and your personal objectives, then being a contractor won’t feel like being in a job at all. And the more you enjoy it and the higher skilled you become, the more money will be produced as a by-product.

So, that’s the contracting lifestyle: giving you a great combination of everything you want or are aiming for. And the money is just the cherry on the top.

Published: 22 December 2008

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