Originally published at joebell.co.uk on 17th July 2020
2 years ago, I quit my corporate Front End Developer job and became an independent consultant specialising in Design Systems. In that time I've been lucky enough to work in 2 countries, for the likes of LADbible Group, Sky Betting & Gaming and more…
To mark the occasion I took time to recap what I've learned in a Twitter thread, here's an extended version of that list:
- Build an emergency buffer 🌧
Put all your initial earnings aside until you have a minimum of 12 months salary.
You should have control over your finances, not the other way around.
- Don't fall for an accountant's glossy site 🧮
There are many accountants that claim to offer slick software and “easy-to-use” expense apps but these come at a high price, and often with limited resources to offer personal advice.
Pay for the support, not the software.
- Ask questions, all the time 💬
Being a contractor/consultant isn't about knowing all the answers, it's about asking the right questions.
- Know your tax residency 💸
If you're planning to live somewhere else for more than 6 months you'll be qualified as a tax resident.
Speak to a tax advisor before you leave to avoid unexpected tax bills or the dreaded “double taxation”.
- Treat yourself 🛍
Don't be afraid to take advantage of your expenses to dine out as a "Christmas Party", read books or get the latest hardware.
You’re your own boss.
- Take time off 💤
It's easy to forget, but it's crucial to give yourself downtime. You'll live and work better for it.
- Trust your gut 🧠
If a contract seems "off" or a client is showing signs of toxic work behaviour, leave immediately.
No amount of money is worth the strain on your health.
- Know your price 💵
Speak to recruiters and other consultants about rates and pay attention to the market.
A great place to start is to determine a minimum expectation, and ask your client for ~25% more.
If they try to haggle below your minimum, walk away from the negotiating table. If they want you, they’ll hire you.
- It's OK to say "no" 🙅🏼♂️
If you don't want to work on a project, you shouldn't do it.
For example; although I’m incredibly grateful for the experiences and friendships I’ve had with clients in the gambling sector, I no longer work in this area.
If you’re not enjoying the work or you don’t agree with the company/sector’s operations, you won't be delivering to your best ability.
- Enjoy yourself and make friends ❤️
It can get lonely changing teams all the time, make an effort to connect with others outside work.