Top earning and highly sought after contractors have these three things in common, no matter where they are based in the world. 

Contracting is an excellent career option in terms of income and flexibility but as well as being qualified and skilled, the most successful independent contractors have certain ‘soft skills’ which help them consistently get premium roles. 

Soft skills are abilities which can’t be taught; they relate more to personality than writing code, analysing data or designing buildings. Each individual has their own set of soft skills but when it comes to contracting, some are more valuable than others. 

The following traits are generally associated with top performing/top earning contractors who have very few gaps between jobs. 

The best contractors are: 

Self-Motivated

Self-motivation means being able to complete tasks without someone standing over you and without the need for a special incentive. 

According to the Berkeley Wellbeing Institute, examples of self-motivation at work are: 

  • Starting tasks promptly and getting them done on time
  • Initiating new projects to benefit the business
  • Staying focused on work without getting distracted.

A self-motivated contractor will quickly become part of a team because they are proactively involved and eager to find ways to improve the business, even though they are not a permanent part of it. 

Being self-motivated is a win/win. Employers will have a worker who can operate independently and achieve the goals expected of them. This results in the contractor receiving excellent feedback and recommendations they can use to win more work. 

Forward Planning

This applies to career as well as roles.

Contract positions are always finite. If you have your heart set on this lifestyle, you’ll soon get in the habit of planning ahead and working out where your next role will come from before your current one ends. 

Some contractors enjoy taking a few weeks or months off between roles. Others prefer to have less of a gap so will be actively and continually exploring opportunities. 

Fortunately, finding your next contract role is easy with the help of online platforms designed specifically for contractors. Look for providers which invite you to list your skills and input the dates you will be available to work. This way, the work opportunities can come to you instead of the other way around. 

Self-Marketing

Being a successful contractor relies on being hired over and over again. While most people may only have a handful of jobs in their lives, contractors will have dozens. 

To shorten the recruitment process, successful contractors aren’t afraid to put themselves out there. They may devote time to writing a blog, or adding regular posts on platforms such as LinkedIn to establish themselves as a thought leader. 

You can self-market by: 

  • Being active in niche online groups
  • Writing for an industry publication
  • Attending in-person and digital networking events
  • Actively building your network on LinkedIn
  • Giving presentations and hosting workshops
  • Writing an ebook related to the field you work in
  • Going live or making short videos
  • Putting together an attractive presentation or video to accompany your standard resume.

When you market yourself, educate and evoke discussion rather than sharing controversial opinions. The goal is to build an online profile which gives recruiters a sense of who you are and how you contribute to your industry. 

Self-marketing is essential for contractors. It may feel uncomfortable at first but you will find people engage with your content, which will help to expand your network and elevate you above other candidates. 

Leverage your soft skills to find more contractor roles

Businesses around the world are currently seeking motivated, forward-thinking, intelligent contractors and are often able to offer remote work roles. This means savvy, switched on contractors can design their life and live anywhere while enjoying well-paid, skilled roles which align with their qualifications.

Download The Ultimate Contractor Success Checklist.