Keith Tully, business recovery expert at Real Business Rescue, shares his tips for winning contracts while working from home
Working as a contractor is a popular method to earn a living. It gives you complete autonomy and control over each element of your working life, including where, when and how you complete a contract. This particular style of working is favoured by parents as it allows you to maintain a physical presence at home which is valued if you have young children.
On the flip side of being able to work from home with no limitations, working as a contractor can consist of volatile working hours, payment schedules and gaps in employment. Due to the short term nature of contracting work, you need to actively keep an eye out for jobs. As a self-employed professional and work-from-home parent, your work may require you to travel to a temporary workplace or client base from time to time.
If your work can be completed remotely, you may decide to establish a home office, hot desk at a co-working space or pitch up at a café spot. The pleasure of working from home enables you to use technological platforms to spot potential jobs, market your skills through a portfolio and publish evidence of your previous work for the attention of prospective clients.
There’s a vast pool of professional platforms which can be used to secure contract work, depending on your sector, skills and previous experience. If you’re looking to actively search for available contracts, there are many routes you can take by marketing your services and establishing relationships through the following:
Recruitment agencies: Signing up to the services of a recruitment agency can mean cutting down or even erasing the gap between contracts which also means confirmation of a steady stream of income.
Recruitment agencies work directly with the hiring body (your end client), which means that the agency will function as the mediator, negotiating your terms, rate of pay and the length of your contract. Once the relationship is formed with the recruitment agency, they will typically contact you with information on any upcoming contracts, allowing you the opportunity to accept jobs from the comfort of your own home. Working through a recruitment agency will typically consist of a fee which will be deducted before receiving payment from the agency.
Direct clients: You may find that maintaining a relationship with previous clients can be lucrative if you can convert them into returning customers. This can be a cost-efficient way of running as it cuts out agency costs and reduces the amount of time spent introducing yourself, drafting proposals and adapting to a different working environment.
Sector dedicated job sites: Depending on your sectors, such as IT, Security, Consulting, Media and Marketing, you may find sector-focused websites which advertise the latest contracts and freelance job opportunities. Using dedicated sites as such may save you from filtering through irrelevant job roles and securing a role faster. It may prove worthwhile to register directly with end clients as many larger enterprises will have dedicated contractor talent pools you may be able to apply for.
Creative freelance platforms: As a work from home parent, you may be on the lookout for one-off projects to juggle around childcare, school holidays and family outings. Platforms such as People Per Hour, Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr are all dedicated marketplaces for creative freelancers to pitch proposals, apply for projects and connect with clients.
By using an array of platforms and strategies to secure work, you can widen your exposure to an even larger client base. Before embarking on this journey, ensure that you have a watertight portfolio and personalise your experience to each contract that you’re applying for. Refer back to the clients’ proposal by dissecting sections and responding to this in your proposal, showing that you have a thorough understanding of the clients’ needs.
The pleasure of flexible working is one cherished by parents as it allows you to switch between your professional and personal responsibilities flexibly. By expanding the methods through which you reach out to individuals, businesses and entrepreneurs in need of your services, you increase your chances of securing projects and contracts without the commitment of stationing yourself at a static 9-5 workplace.
Keith Tully, partner at Real Business Rescue is a business recovery expert providing restructuring and turnaround support to businesses in financial distress. Keith has over 25 years’ experience in the field of insolvency and is a licensed insolvency practitioner.