By possessing the right skillset and IT know-how, anyone can become an IT contractor. However, it takes a special kind of worker to become a successful IT contractor.
Simply showing up to the location and doing the work isn’t enough! You have to be confident, flexible, and most importantly - complete work to a ridiculously high standard.
So, if you’re thinking about becoming a contractor, or you already are and just want to raise your game, you’re in the right place. Below, you’ll find a rundown of the eight main things successful IT contractors always do. Incorporate some into your work habits and see if they pay off!
1. Stay up-to-date with technological trends
Technology is advancing every single week. For you, the IT contractor, this means staying on top of the latest trends to ensure you aren’t missing out.
For example, keeping up with the latest security software will mean you can deliver the best protection to clients. Similarly, an intimate knowledge of new operating systems, like the recent Windows 10, means you can perform work in that area.
2. Adhere to a suitable dress code
I’m not saying you should rock up to a job in a suit and tie, but you shouldn’t go too far in the opposite direction either. A pair of tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt simply won’t cut it.
Somewhere in the middle - smart-casual - is the way to go. You want to look professional, but not so professional that you appear to have fallen out of Downton Abbey. Plus, your clothing must be safe enough to use in certain situations. Baggy sleeves could get caught in the wiring of a motherboard, for example.
3. Create a flexible persona
Most of the time, you’ll be working in your local area. But on those occasions where you’re requested to travel a little farther, you absolutely must be flexible enough to do so. If the client is paying you, you can’t reject the work because you aren’t organized enough to travel a sizeable distance.
So, make sure you are! If it means you have to work a much longer day, compensate by taking the following morning off. If the client knows you have come a long way to help them out, they’ll be extremely grateful and will know they can rely on you in future.
4. Take on board criticism
Look, it’s impossible to deliver a perfect job 100 percent of the time. Sometimes, the client won’t be happy. If this is the case, ask them why, and ask them for feedback. You could pick up something valuable to use at a later date.
So, don’t be afraid of criticism. Take it on board, and use it to become even stronger. Everyone makes mistakes at some point, and you are no different!
5. Build a solid network of clients and partners
Even though contractors are typically lone wolves, making friends should be one of your biggest priorities. I’m not talking those friends you’d take to the pub, either. I’m talking those friends who will shell out the brass for you to work for them!
The best way to do this is to simply do a good job. If you perform some work that pleases the client, they’ll be more likely to come back to you next time they have a problem. This ensures you a steady stream of work all-year round, no matter how much you need.
You should also be sure to market yourself effectively by using social media and a website. Format your pages with basic SEO best practices, so you shoot to the top of rankings when people search for IT contractors. If you’re easy to find, your network will grow.
You should also use contracting agencies to your advantage. They’ll be able to keep track of your availability and can funnel you work they receive from clients.
6. Convey themselves effectively, and stay confident
IT isn’t a subject that most people are well-versed in - it’s rather complex with a lot of jargon. To combat this, you must be great at communicating with both people in the industry, and people outside the industry.
This is especially important if your client is not very IT-literate. To be able to explain the problem and the solution in plain English will put them more at ease. Plus, it’ll help them understand what they’re getting for their money.
You should also be confident in your skills, and shouldn’t hesitate to perform an operation because the client may not understand it. Confidence and communication go hand-in-hand, and you’ll need to possess both in spades.
7. Meet the job description fully
If the client expects something of you, you must deliver it to the letter. Not meeting expectations, no matter how good a job you did, is disappointing.
This means you may have to sacrifice some of your own instincts, unfortunately. If the client wants it doing a certain way, but you think it would be better another way, always go with the client. Always deliver what they’re paying for.
At the same time, you must be sure to deliver what you say you are going to deliver. Don’t tell the client their PC system will be ten times faster than it was before, if it won’t be. Tell them exactly what the solution is and what they can expect, then do it. Honesty is always the best policy.
8. Go beyond the call of duty
Sure, you could just complete the job at hand, wave goodbye and call it a day. Or, you could stick around, and ask the client if they have any other work that needs doing. If they do, you just landed another paycheck, while boosting your relationship with the customer.
And if they don’t have any additional work for you to do, they’ll appreciate you asking. In either scenario, you look like a much more friendly investment in their eyes. Everyone likes a hard worker, and if you show that you’re willing to do more than just a basic job, your reputation will skyrocket.
Source: Vine 3