Entrepreneurship ‘key to contracting success’

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Freelancers and other self-employed professionals are always aware of the responsibility that comes with working for themselves. It is a well-established fact that contractors are charged with drumming up their own business and finding potential clients. But new evidence has emerged today that an enterprising mindset clearly helps along the way, after a new survey has shown that prospective contractors and freelancers need an entrepreneurial spirit if they want to succeed going solo.

Research from Professional Contractors’ Group (PCG) found that eight out of ten independent workers agreed that entrepreneurialism was an important quality for anyone seeking to take the plunge into self-employment. But according to several members of contractors and freelance workers’ association, that does not necessarily mean they have to consider themselves serious businesspeople.

“You don't need to be a Dragon's Den entrepreneur to be a successful freelancer but there is definitely something that sets us apart - we've all known good people who've tried and failed at contracting,” Ian Walker, a PCG member and freelance active directory specialist, told the organisation. “Entrepreneurship is, to me, the ability to spot the opportunity that others miss, and crucially, to act on it.”

Jon Green, who also works on a freelance basis, agrees. He told PCG that if he became aware of a new business model or product that could make a significant difference to the way his clients work, he considers it his job to bring these new options to their attention. The same is even true if he spots the potential for a joint venture with another client or similar business, he added - anything that could bring long-term benefits to the client’s organisation.

Freelance project manager Christopher Reilly agrees, saying that entrepreneurialism is about providing “added value” above and beyond the terms of a contract. By bringing lasting improvements to a business, he explains, freelancers can demonstrate their own usefulness and are more likely to enjoy repeat business in the future. In turn, this contributes to the continued health of a self-employed professional’s career.

PCG chairman Julie Stewart says that because they are the country’s smallest businesses, freelancers and contractors are in a unique position to share their own experiences to drive success elsewhere. In addition, the “unique vantage point” from which they are able to observe the operations of a range of different workplaces provides them with plenty of expertise and industry knowledge that they can take to their different clients.

“It is clear that for the vast majority of freelancers, success or failure in business is intrinsically linked to their abilities as an entrepreneur,” she added.

“The Prime Minister himself has stated on numerous occasions that fostering entrepreneurialism is crucial if we want to see our economy return to growth – well his Government need look no further for inspiration than our growing freelance sector.”

According to StartUp Britain, small and microbusinesses make up 95 per cent of all private sector British businesses. A sizeable number of these firms are self-employed professionals, whether working as sole traders or through their own limited companies. Since the government has long acknowledged the role that these professionals can play in boosting the UK economy, it makes sense that an enterprising spirit is part of the recipe for success.


By Victoria McDonnell

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