Working as an independent contractor has a lot of perks. Especially in a place like Vancouver, BC.
You get to make your own hours which means that you can hit up YYoga at any time during the day or go for a hike with friends in Deep Cove whenever you like. You have easy access to world-class restaurants and galleries and, without having to clock in, you can be sure to avoid the crowds.
But it’s not all workouts and martinis (or craft beer), there’s a lot of stuff that comes with the whole “Independent contractor” moniker that lots of newbies don’t know they don’t know.
First of all, you have to be incredibly organized with your time. If you’re not, you run the risk of disappointing your clients or worse, not making enough money to stay in business.
There are lots of sites on “the google” that will tell you how much to charge for your services but not many that will be upfront about what it really takes to be a successful online marketing professional. So here’s a list to get you started. (this is, by no means, a comprehensive template for starting your own contracting business but rather a couple of tips and things to consider before you do.)

  • know your expenses – you have to know how much you need to make before you can figure out what to charge.
  • have a process – if you don’t know about project management, learn. It will be the single most important tool you use to successfully shepherd a project from concept to completion. (and it will make you look like a pro)
  • learn from the pros – if you don’t have a Marketing degree, you’ll need to get some learnin’ under your belt. Find the best people and ask them for help. Go to Lynda.com and take as many courses as you can. ALWAYS BE LEARNING should be your mantra so you can stay ahead of the competition.
  • network like mad – kind of like the last point, networking and learning from peers is critical for success in any business. Find a meetup or business group that meet in your area and join in.
  • my dad, a successful life insurance salesman for 50 years, has a great saying: “Always be closing”. ABC. It’s a bit different with Social Media because it’s not “sales” per se but ABC is a good thing to keep in your head. I would say STP (solve the problem) would be more applicable, but you get the gist.
  • be authentic – you’ll hear this a lot…like A LOT! but you really do need to be yourself and be honest in what you want. The minute you have an ulterior, non-transparent motive, you’ll lose the client.
  • finally, be brave – contracting is not for the faint of heart. You will have months where you make $0 and others where you make 10x what you need. Plan. Be smart.
  • I love being a contractor. I love the freedom it provides and the crazy creativity that comes from being able to step out of a structured environment to think. If you need structure, it may not be for you but if you are the type that thrives on expanding the traditional notions of work, you may just love it.

    Written by jax