The 2021 Independent Remote Contractor: An emerging post-COVID trend!
In 2021, many top remote employers are looking for contractors, but you may be wondering if life and work as a contractor is the right choice for you. Let’s take a moment to consider what it means to be a contractor as well as the challenges, opportunities and lifestyle benefits of being a contractor.
There are different types of tech contractors
Many articles that you will read about contractors only focus on one type of contractor: the freelancer. However, some contractors are not freelancers; instead, they work for a staffing agency or follow new, post-Covid trends. So let’s talk about your options here!
- The Freelancer
- The Contractor paid by a Staffing Agency
- The 2021 Independent Remote Contractor (Post-Covid Emerging Trend)
Life as a Freelancer
This lifestyle has the greatest financial risk yet it also has the most freedom and perhaps skill growth potential. You are your own boss, and you can seek out exciting job assignments. Along the way, you can travel and “follow the money” to the highest paying opportunities. It’s also a chance to network. Imagine how many talented people you will work with at each new position, and you have the chance to make a great impression and become regarded as an expert in your field by your many new peers. You also have the opportunity to negotiate your rates as your skills and reputation grow. You become your own brand, essentially. You’ll need to market yourself, continually update your resume and portfolio, and aim for mastery.
The challenge? You’ll always need to keep your eyes open to job opportunities because you never know when the next assignment will be available. You also need to pay for your own healthcare, save for your retirement independently, and remember that you’ll need to pay what you owe in taxes because there’s no company taking care of that for you.
Overall, if you value variety, independence and are willing to take risks for high rewards, being a tech freelancer may be a good lifestyle fit for you!
Life as a Contractor paid by a Staffing Agency
The key difference is that you are an employee of the staffing agency, and they will help match you with positions at companies. The staffing agency will take care of your salary and health insurance; they may offer additional perks and benefits like moving costs and annual sick days. When your position ends at the company you contract with, your staffing agency can connect you to other positions.
The downside? You are limited to the companies that your staffing agency is willing to work with and your staffing agency will be less flexible in what it can pay you (they need to make money too!). Ultimately, you may still need or want to consider working as a freelancer at some point in your career.
The 2021 Independent Remote Contractor (Post-Covid Emerging Trend)
In 2021, a new kind of an Independent Remote Contractor is emerging. You accept engagements which combine the best of the two worlds above. When it makes sense, you freelance. When it makes sense, you work with agencies. Above all, you focus on networking and partnerships to build stability and security. You look for remote-first companies and build connections there.
You understand that companies are investing in your learning curve. With your focus on learning and connections, you are calm because you don’t need to constantly be on the lookout for new job offers. You look for positions that offer vacation days and holidays, so you can spend time with family and friends. A new kind of company is hiring for these professionals: the remote-first company. They have no office. Their team is distributed across tens of countries and at least two continents. The remote-first company is also one of the highest performing. You will be in the middle of the action in a growing tech market.
The pandemic transformed the future of work and it’s the new normal. The need for technology, innovations and advancement is ever-growing. Smart cities, self-driving cars, space missions. Name it and they need tech talent.
From an administrative point of view, the most common setup is to register yourself as a company or a software development agency in your city and country of residence. Contact a local accountant and book a consultation. They can advise you on the best setup that fits your needs.
What’s the Best Part of Contract Work?
Personal growth! You are working with growing companies who need your skills and expertise. You’ll have new opportunities to encounter exciting, cutting-edge technology and innovative services. Each new assignment has a learning curve, of course, but your skillset will grow as you learn. Ultimately, you will build your reputation as an expert in your field as you meet other talented industry professionals along the way. We learn through new experiences, and you, as a contractor, will have plenty of new experiences.
Another possible benefit? Many contractors are converted to employees. That consultant position may eventually become a full-time job offer. You have the freedom then to accept or continue on your path as a contractor.
There are different types of contractors: (1) freelancer and (2) those who work for staffing agencies, and (3) the 2021 independent remote tech contractor.
Contractor Lifestyle Benefits
- Financial and career independence
- Job variety
- Networking opportunities
- High earning potential
- Skill development
- Exposure to new technologies and services
- You can help growing companies when they need your skills the most
- Companies may offer to hire your long-term as an employee
Contractor Lifestyle Challenges
- Financial risks - work is never guaranteed
- Unpaid leave or vacations
- No company perks
- You may need to relocate to find new job opportunities
- You always need to think about your hireability and keep an eye on job opportunities
Additional Lifestyle Considerations
- Travel opportunities or the need to “follow the money”
- Each job assignment will have a significant learning curve
- Staffing agencies may offer benefits, retirement plans, and paid sick days
- Companies are starting to adopt the remote-first operations model and the demand is only getting higher
Ready to see what remote contractor opportunities are available?
Come browse our job postings! New listings are posted weekly, and you can always subscribe to new remote job alerts.
For individual career and independent contractor consultation, get in touch with me on LinkedIn or pick a Professional Remote Career Consultant from our team Kolyo Slavov, Jelena Rakic, Aleksa Boyadzhieva.
Founder at Remote IT World