Many contractors would benefit from creating a professional image for themselves and their companies; to help stand out from the crowd, and impress potential clients.
Demonstrating that you are contracting as a real business will also enable you to expand into other areas in the future, and will also provide a pointer to show that you are truly ‘self-employed’ as per the employment status rules which underpin the IR35 legislation.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of ten things you can do to help portray a professional image:
Create the right image for your company
1. Create a professional-looking website, and pay a web designer to create a company logo. Aside from your web design and hosting costs (which will not be substantial), you can use a free content management system like WordPress to run the site.
2. Secure a sensible and future-proof domain name and set up a dedicated business email address. Always buy the .com and .co.uk variants of any domain name you are interested in. At Contract Eye, we use GoDaddy to host our 50+ domain names – they’re very reliable, and fairly well priced.
3. Use a company letterhead and print some smart business cards. This is a rapid and inexpensive process if you order via an online supplier such as Moo.com.
4. Use a professional signature on business emails, containing your website address, logo (if applicable), and other contact details.
5. Join business social networking sites to promote yourself and your company. Linkedin is a must for IT contractors these days, as it enables you to keep in touch with past colleagues with ease, and be found by potential recruiters for future assignments.
7. Try writing articles on subjects you are an expert in for online and offline publications, and answer questions on web bulletin boards (or FAQs in LinkedIn).
8. Brush up on your web marketing skills to promote your website in Google in the organic listings. Consider PPC (Adwords) if you’re looking to promote a business service or product in a hurry.
9. Take time to keep your own CV up-to-date and relevant. Consider uploading a version of your CV to your new website, and provide the URL to your LinkedIn profile.
10. You are selling yourself and your services to clients, so a professional image and good preparation can make all the difference between winning and losing that next contract!