How to win contract work as lockdown eases
Lockdown has been a struggle for many people for a variety of reasons. The self-employed have had a particularly tough break, with work significantly reducing or drying up completely, plus added uncertainty around government support. So, it’s been a relief for many contractors that lockdown has begun to ease and that clients are starting to plan their off-payroll needs once more, even if there’s still a long way to go back to normality. As a contractor, this means spending the next few days or weeks getting yourself ready so you can begin to win work again.
We’ve put together some pointers to help you win some contract work.
REACH OUT TO EXISTING CLIENTS AND RECRUITERS
Obviously, the best place to start is to pick up where you left off. If COVID-19 meant projects ended prematurely, were delayed, or put on hold, reach out to those clients to find out what their plans are and let them know you’re available. Even if they’re not looking to start up immediately, it can’t hurt to get yourself back on their radar. Similarly, if you previously worked with recruiters, give them a call to let them know your availability so that they can look for opportunities for you.
UPDATE YOUR BRANDING
Giving your branding a refresh could be just the thing to get existing and potential clients sitting up and taking notice. Simple things such as a new logo and colour palette can help move your CV to the top of the pile just by looking fresh and innovative. You can hire a freelance designer to do this for you, but if budget is tight post-lockdown, free online tools such as Canva can really help you out, while still keeping a professional image.
INVEST IN YOUR MARKETING
If you’re refreshing your branding, it would be wise to invest in your marketing. “Invest” doesn’t necessarily mean money; it could be an investment of time to get everything spot-on. After all, if you’ve updated your logo, at the very least you’ll be applying it to your website, LinkedIn, social networks, and any recruitment portals you use. So, while you’re there, it would be a good time to update your marketing copy, images, downloadable CV and any other assets that need it. Depending on your sector, there may be some relevant details you want to add regarding working in a post-COVID environment. For instance, can you work remotely? Can you supply your own PPE?
If you do have the budget, you may also want to update marketing assets such as your business cards – but remember that in a post-COVID world, some people may be less inclined to take these off you. You may be better served looking at alternatives such as targeted advertising to get you in front of potential clients, or hiring a freelance marketer to help you out with content marketing on LinkedIn to boost your network.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE NETWORKING
Networking may look very different for a while, but it’s still one of the best ways to get your name known. If you belong to any networking organisations, take a look at how they are going to be handling events going forward – they will likely be replaced with Zoom meet-ups, LinkedIn groups, and newsletters for the time being, but each organisation is different.
We suggest finding out how you can join in remotely – can you chair a Zoom meet-up, advertise in the newsletter, write a blog, or anything else that will put you on the radar of other members? Remember, normal service will resume eventually and you’ll be back to coffee mornings and handshakes, but for now you just need to think outside the box a little.
HAVE INSURANCES READY TO GO
In all honestly, a lot of end clients may not currently know what they want. It’s a new normal that everyone has to get used to. For this reason, you should be ready to go at the drop of a hat should a client decide that they really could do with your services ASAP. We know you’re probably chomping at the bit, but we also know that you need to check your business insurance as you may have let it lapse during lockdown.
As a minimum, you should have professional indemnity, public liability and employer’s liability since most contracts require this. Thankfully, our standard insurance package includes all three. We’d also recommend you look at our IR35 Protect packages. They cover everyone in the contractor supply chain, including you – since the delay to reforms means liability still sits with you, this is no bad thing.
It’s vital that you keep open lines of communication with clients and recruiters during this time. Everyone is still working out what the new normal looks like, and as soon as they do there will be gaps in the workforce – you just need to be ready to fill them at a moment’s notice. We can help with the insurance side of that, so give us a call on 01242 808740 or get a quote online.