The last few weeks in lockdown will no doubt have been a tough time for many contractors. While some may have found themselves turning to government schemes for support if they are unable to work remotely, even those of us lucky enough to be able to work from home could have found ourselves with more time on our hands as clients scale back operations.
With the prospect of a light at the end of the tunnel getting a little brighter each day, however, you need to be ready for when the economy gets going again.
Whether you’ll be looking to pick up exactly where you left off, or will need to search for new opportunities, here are a few things you can be doing with your time to make sure that when lockdown ends, you’re in the best position to hit the ground running.
Update and improve your online presence
We can’t predict what opportunities will be available in the post-lockdown world, so it’s important you’re presenting as professional an image as possible if you need to be out impressing potential new clients. This is therefore the perfect time to be reviewing and updating your online profiles, which will often be your shop window.
Ensuring your LinkedIn page is as professional and accurate as possible is a good start, while if you have a personal website, it’s a great time to make sure it’s up-to-date, SEO-optimised and gets across all the right information.
Build up your credentials
As part of improving your image, taking steps to illustrate your talents is a must. On LinkedIn, for example, consider getting previous clients and colleagues to endorse you. It’s also a great time to get in touch with previous clients to see if they’re willing to give you a testimonial or review that can highlight your skills, experiences and achievements.
Keep up client communications
Reminding previous and existing clients that you’re still here is another great use of your time in lockdown. This doesn’t have to be pushy – keeping in touch on a social level to see how they’re getting on can help build relationships and keep you in your clients’ minds. As well as getting in touch personally, keep your name out there by commenting on blog content, sharing social posts and offering your expertise where appropriate.
Hone your skillset
The lockdown is also a great opportunity for you to dedicate more time to your career development. Are there any professional qualifications or certifications you’ve been working towards, for example? You’ll likely never have a better opportunity to really focus on these and take the next steps forward. Depending on the evolving requirements of your sector, you may even be able to use this time to pick up a new skill that can add another string to your bow when it comes to your CV.
Prepare for incoming rule changes
Finally, it’s also an ideal time to ensure you’re familiar with any new and evolving legislation that’s likely to affect your role as a contractor in the years ahead. In particular, getting to grips with all the complexities of new IR35 rules coming into effect in 2021 will be essential. One survey taken shortly before the lockdown, for example, found almost four out of ten contractors said they did not have a good understanding of the implications of the upcoming changes, so making use of any enforced downtime to dive deeper into what it may mean for you will be time well spent. Something we put in place this year to help contractors with the new IR35 changes, is a new service called Flex. This new service allows contractors to seamlessly switch between Limited and Umbrella working as and when needed, meaning you are able to continue working the contracts you want, without the added headache of changing accountants depending if its inside or outside.
Making sure your time in lockdown is as productive as possible ensures you’ll be in the best possible position to pick up new clients once the country starts to open up again. And if you need support working through issues such as legislation changes, having the right expert partner on hand to offer advice can make things as easy and stress-free as possible. Get in touch with Brookson One to find out how we can help you.