If you’re considering an interim career, there’s a lot to think about! The positives are obvious, you’re now the boss, in the driving seat and in charge of your own career, work-life balance, income and the opportunity to take on challenging and varied work. But what about some of the more practical aspects of taking the plunge into the interim talent pool?
We take a look at 7 practical considerations when starting out in the interim market…
1. Setting up
Setting up a limited company is the first thing on your task list if you’ve decided to enter the interim market but it’s not as daunting as it sounds. There are plenty services firms – like accountants – that can help you form a limited company at Companies House. It’s a quick and simple process, and you’ll get a copy of your limited company document which you’ll need when you undertake your first assignment.
2. Get the right professional advice
There’s a lot to learn when you’re starting out and enlisting the right professional advisers will help you to navigate your business journey. In particular, we recommend engaging a good accountant, these can assist with the day to day aspects of running your own business, from bookkeeping to billing, through to the bigger tasks like VAT, end of year accounts and compliance.
3. Ensure you’re insured
We can’t stress this enough, you’re not an employee anymore and so you’ll need the correct insurances in place including professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance. The amount of cover will change depending on the assignment and your client, so you’ll need to check this before signing a contract. At the very least, your contract is usually null and void if you don’t have the correct insurance in place.
4. Balance competitive and appropriate
It can be tempting to be flexible on rate when starting out to ensure you land that important first assignment. But there’s a balance here – you should ensure you’re pitching at a market rate and not selling yourself short. Also, you’re no longer just paying yourself a salary and, whilst the tax benefits can be significant, you’re covering additional costs of business. Your day rate should also pay consideration to the client, how the assignment will look on your CV, the duration and if you’ll need to spend time away from home.
5. It’s about track-record
As an interim, you are a very often short-term solution to a problem which currently exists, so it’s important to adopt the right mindset right from the beginning. Your track-record is the best PR, and you are now totally judged on the value you add to the client. Interviews are likely to be much more focused on skills and whether or not you can add value quickly and less so on longer-term culture fit (broadly speaking).
6. Even when ‘not working’ you should be networking
There’ll be times when you won’t be on assignment or in the market for a new one just yet, but you should still make time for networking. Rather than something you do only when you’re looking for a new role it should become a habit, you’re representing yourself in the marketplace so keeping a foothold in the market and letting people know when you’re available is crucial.
7. It can be tough!
We don’t mean to end on a downer, but whilst becoming an interim manager is a great career choice for many, just as with a permanent role, it’s not all hearts and flowers. As someone appointed to provide a solution, high-performance is always expected. You’ll often be coming into an environment which is already stressful, whether that’s a project gone wrong or managing a team of unhappy employees, you’ll need to become adept at managing these situations and handling pressure when the business is relying on you for a solution.
And our bonus advice in our set of practical tips:
As an interim manager, you’re there to deliver and as such the very nature of being an interim is about being practical and pragmatic and getting the job done.