As the world of work continues to evolve, the demand for contract-based roles (sometimes referred to as freelancing, contracting, or consulting) is growing. Whatever you call it, there’s no hiding the fact that there are many perks to becoming a consultant or independent contractor.

Never considered working as a consultant before?


Take some time to think about your career goals and what you are looking for in terms of work-life balance, autonomy, diversity in your work, and any other factors that you consider key components to a successful career.


Taking on contract-based work can be the right move if:


  • You like variety in your projects and work tasks
  • You want more flexibility to choose which projects you take on and when
  • You are looking to increase your earning potential
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These are just some of the reasons to consider working on a contract basis.

There are a few things you should look into before jumping into the world of consulting headfirst. Below we address the most frequently asked questions when it comes to the world of consulting as an independent contractor.

Frequently asked questions

How do I get setup as an independent contractor?

To start, you’ll want to look into the specific requirements for your region (e.g. province or territory) to make sure you have everything in order before accepting a contract-based role. Some things to consider are:
  • Business registration. This is typically done through a government body (e.g. provincial Government) and can usually be done online. It involves choosing and applying for a business name and registering your business with the business registry and CRA (in Canada).
  • Business incorporation. You may opt to incorporate your business – before you do, look into what incorporation means and how to complete this process. This is also done through a government body, similar to the business registration process.
  • You’ll also want to confirm the requirements for:
    • Income tax, tax payments, CPP, EI
    • GST/HST/PST registration requirements
    • Business insurance

Is working as a consultant the best option for my career?

If you’re still not sure taking the leap into the world of freelancing and consulting is right for you, we can help address any concerns you have.

It’s natural to be unsure when you are trying something for the first time, however if the benefits of consulting (e.g. flexibility, work-life balance, developing new skills, and increasing earning potential) appeal to you then we encourage you to explore your options. Consulting isn’t for everyone, it really comes down to your career and lifestyle goals, and finding out what works best for you.

Many advocates claim they’ve found a better work-life balance in contract work, and that they enjoy having the ability to control their income (read: take on more projects when they need to, and pull back when they want), choose jobs that excite them and learn about different industries and organizations.

How is working for an employer as a consultant different from a permanent employee?

Basically, when you work as a consultant for an employer you are considered self-employed, and a contract will be in place to employ your services for a pre-determined amount of time or for a specific deliverable. The employer can opt to extent a contract’s end date, should there be a need to retain your services for a longer period of time than originally anticipated. This can be setup with a mutual agreement between both parties.

A permanent employee is hired for an ongoing basis with no set end date in mind and typically will have an exclusive relationship with the employer.

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