Like any career, being an independent contractor comes with its fair share of pros and cons. On one hand, that independence means that you get to be your own boss, which is rewarding and exciting. But it also means that you’re going to have to learn how to market yourself.
As an independent contractor, there are certain steps you can take to help you build up your professional status, attract potential new clients to serve, and help you become a better business overall. Read on to learn about 5 great tips for establishing a great reputation as an independent contractor.
1. Understand Your State’s Licensing Requirements
In order to be a reputable independent contractor that can work a variety of projects, you will want to make sure that you are following all the rules and regulations at the federal, regional, and local levels. Homeowners don’t trust unlicensed contractors, so making sure that you have the proper licensing is the crucial first step to building a good reputation.
In most places, independent contractors have to be licensed by the state in order to work in that particular state. For example, the primary licensing requirement in North Carolina might be different from the requirement in Vermont or California. Understanding the laws in your area will make the process easier and help you out if you are working remotely.
2. Have a Place to Showcase Your Work
In any industry, employers like to see the past work that you have completed. It helps them to get a feel for how you approach projects and the kind of work you can produce.
This is especially true for independent contractors. It is important to showcase your work in a way that helps communicate your work ethic and personal style. Having a portfolio either physically or online are both ways to showcase your work and make it easily accessible to potential clients.
3. Make Yourself Available
When you are an independent contractor, you are responsible for contact between yourself and any of your clients. This means that you have to make yourself available so that people who are interested in hiring you know how to find you.
Making sure that your most important contact information, such as a work email and phone number, are readily available via your resume or website is always a good standard practice. You can also have a “contact me” option available on your website.
If you have the materials and time, business cards are another great resource to invest in. They are small, portable, and can be referred to time and time again.
4. Network and Market Yourself
Although it varies depending on what field you are in through your contracted work, networking is never a bad idea. Networking allows you to establish contacts and connections in your respected field, increase your visibility, and help you to get work in the future.
Even if you consider yourself to be less of a “people person”, basic networking is an important skill to practice. Whether you reach out through sites like LinkedIn or at in-person events, the more connections you have, the better.
Along with that comes marketing yourself. As an independent contractor, you have to learn to sell yourself and your strengths to potential clients.
5. Hone Your Skills and Show Them Off
If you have decided to become an independent contractor, it is because you believe you have a special set of skills that people need. To build and maintain a great reputation, you’ll need to keep those skills sharp.
You can never stop improving, learning, and growing. Even as you are hired and find work, you should continue to brush up on your technical and professional knowledge. If you have received formalized and special training for your field, employers love to see that. It helps you stand out and it communicates to the world that you are both qualified and dedicated.