Leaving the familiarity and security of a permanent role to enter the world of interim management isn’t an easy decision to make.
It requires real consideration of your portfolio of skills and how you can best pitch these to potential clients and once you’re certain on what your specialist offering is you’ll need to be committed to continuously maintaining it.
Contract work is not like the world of permanent employment and the business you’ll be working with isn’t making a long-term investment in you, therefore you’ll need the skills and expertise to hit the ground running – contractors are largely hired to fix problems and provide solutions.
So you need to be sure of your offering and your client’s needs but it’s also a move which can see you reap the benefits, handling your own clients, your own pay, taking control of your work/life balance and the ultimate reward of challenging and varied work.
We spoke to some of our Interim consultant community about their experiences of taking the leap from permanent IT and business change careers to contract and what advice they’d give to those considering making the move…
Steve, Programme Director
“I’ve been able to maintain my delivery focus, but now operate slightly to one side of internal politics, which is helpful because I can focus purely on the job at hand and don’t have one eye on what delivery means for my career in the company. It’s human nature to want to protect or enhance your own status first and foremost, so as a permanent person delivering high stakes programmes, you naturally start to wonder ‘where will this leave me?’. In my experience, it benefits the programme, and ultimately the business, if this complexity is removed, and this is what an independent consultant brings.”
Kate, Head of IT Service Management
“There is greater administration to handle as a business owner which many people may not necessarily think about when making the move, it can often be about the project or the challenge of the work but once you’ve chosen to step away from permanent employment you are essentially managing your own business and all the responsibilities which go with that from obligations to HMRC, to finding reliable professional advisors – accountants, solicitors, insurance to the day to day stuff of how you invoice your client”
Kevin, Digital Delivery Lead
“There’s a real need to be patient when entering the world of interim management, there’s usually a reason why you decided to step away from permanent in the first place, in my case a juicy project I couldn’t resist but it’s important to realise that when that project is complete, the next gig might not come along immediately. There’s a risk involved with that which anyone considering going out on their own needs to think carefully about, this can be balanced of course by being smart about your day rate and not selling yourself short when you do work projects – having a good accountant will help too!”
Graham, Chief Architect
“I’d say to anyone thinking about moving to interim or contract work that you really need to be on the front foot and ‘out there’ looking for opportunities. You’re no longer looking for a ‘job’, you’re now a professional independent consultant managing a portfolio career, so networking effectively and with the right people becomes very important.”
If you do decide to make the leap you won’t be alone over 14m people in the UK are ‘self- employed’ or part of the gig economy with 32% of that figure being contractors and in a survey from McKinsey 97% of respondents were happier than those classed as employees citing opportunities for development, flexibility, assignments undertaken and the ability to express creativity as the reasons for such satisfaction.
The facts speak for themselves, contractors make up a big part of the UK employment market and it’s a route more and more professionals are opting for. If you’re considering the change Laudale can advise further on the steps to take to ensure your move is a successful one.