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Contractors sharing ideas
OncoreAugust 31, 20234 min read

Building a Support Network as an Independent Contractor: Why It's More Crucial Than You Think

In the ever-evolving world of work, the appeal of independent contracting is undeniable. The flexibility to choose projects, the autonomy in decision-making, and the potential for a very lucrative income are just a few of the many benefits. 

But with these perks comes a unique set of challenges. Being self-employed can often mean working alone, without the built-in support systems that traditional employees might take for granted.

Networking is undeniably vital for contractors, perhaps even more so than for traditional employees. Here's a deeper dive into the reasons why:


Opportunity Creation: 

The majority of contractor gigs or projects often don't come from online job boards but through word-of-mouth and personal connections. People are more inclined to hire or recommend someone they know, trust, or have been referred to by a friend/colleague.  Word-of-mouth remains one of the most effective marketing tools, even in our digital age and so a strong network can be the ideal vehicle to secure the next gig or project. 


Reputation Building

In the contractor realm, reputation and your own personal brand, is everything. Consistent, quality work is vital, but so is having a network of people who can vouch for your abilities and work ethic. A strong network can help bolster and maintain your reputation in your industry.  If you'd like to read more about the importance of building your own brand as a contractor then download our Personal Branding for Professional Contractors Ebook.


Continuous Learning and Knowledge Sharing

The nature of contractor work means that you're frequently hopping between projects and companies.  Industries change, and skills need updating to remain relevant and competitive. By having a robust network of peers and professionals, you can tap into collective wisdom, learn about new trends, tools, or best practices, ensuring that you are always up-to-date and can bring the latest knowledge to each new project.

Skill Development

Your network can be the ones to introduce you to training opportunities, seminars, workshops, podcasts and more. They can recommend tools, technologies, or courses that they think might benefit you, and can even at times provide informal personal training themselves.  


Support System

The life of a contractor can be unpredictable and, at times, quite isolating. Surrounding yourself with a community of like-minded professionals can provide the necessary motivation and encouragement you need to keep going and remain positive.  Having a network provides emotional support, offering a sounding board for challenges, reassurance when needed and a group to celebrate your successes with.


Navigating Challenges 

Every industry and profession has its specific challenges, but contractors face it's own  unique set.  From securing consistent work to handling administrative tasks and managing financial health, the road can be at times tricky to navigate.  By networking, contractors can learn from the experiences of others, get advice on how to handle difficult situations or clients, or even learn about potential red flags before committing to a new project.  


Market and Industry Insights

Understanding the dynamics of your industry, including rates, demand, and emerging sectors, can be instrumental to success.  Your network can provide real-time feedback and insights into market trends.


Longevity in Business: 

Given the ebb and flow of contract work, longevity requires adaptability and a consistent stream of opportunities. Networking ensures that even when one project ends, you have people to reach out to, potential leads and opportunities lined up for the future.


Building Your Network: Where to Start?


  • Industry Associations and Groups: Many professions have associations or groups tailored to independent contractors. These groups can provide invaluable resources, from networking events to seminars and workshops.

  • Online Communities: Platforms like LinkedIn, industry-specific forums, and even social media groups can be excellent places to connect with fellow contractors.  Oncore has a Facebook one here that you can join in with the Community, network and share knowledge/advice 

  • Local Networking Events: Attend local business networking events or workshops. Not only can this expose you to potential clients, but you might also meet fellow contractors to collaborate with.

  • Collaboration: Consider teaming up with other contractors on larger projects. This not only allows for the pooling of skills and resources but also fosters deeper professional relationships.

  • Engage with Supportive Contractor Management Services: Companies like Oncore offer services tailored to the needs of contractors, from administrative support to financial management. By engaging with such services, you not only streamline your operations but also become part of a broader community.  Reach out to Oncore today to find out more about how we can help support you as a Contractor and introduce you to our community of contractors.

In essence, while skills and expertise are crucial, networking acts as the lifeline for contractors. It ensures steady work, continuous learning, and professional growth. 

It's not just about who you know, but who knows you and the value you bring!

At Oncore, with 25 years of experience, we understand the unique challenges faced by contractors. And one of the most underrated, yet most essential, components of success as an independent contractor is your support network and we can help you with that - get in touch today and find out how.