I'm interested to hear experiences from people who have made the move from from permanent roles to contract. Background: I'm a SQL & VBA Developer.... of sorts. Actually my job title is senior BI/MI analyst, but I'm one of the few competent SQL & VBA people we've got on the team. This is blowing my own trumpet I know, but compared to my ~30 or so peers there are only a handful who could pull together the same code in the same space of time that I could, and I can't think of anyone who'd use classes and object-oriented approaches in Excel VBA code. I f'ing hate this job. On a practical day to day level and on a more philosophical/moral/ethical level. Our department is always asking more from an increasingly fewer number of people and the only way we get anywhere close to what we're asked to do is because an awful lot of people put in an awful lot of time - e.g. replying to emails at 2250 on weekends with their CrackBerrys and regularly working 10-12 hour days. Our approach to technology might as well be stated as "IT'S NEW AND IT'S SCARY AND I DON'T LIKE IT"; we're not a tech company, but let's put it this way: a lot of people would be f'ed if our core platforms fell over. And as I start to mellow and mature a little, I'm finding it harder and harder to morally justify working in financial services. Even if I could get over my moral objections, and if the working conditions were better then this would be easier, I have very little option for career progression unless I want to become a manager (that is, "people manager" type manager, not project manager). Suffice it to say that if I wanted to do that then I'd be doing it already. I can manage resource and projects, but I'm not a "personal development, HR, working patterns, sickness/absence/leave, etc" sort of person - tried it, failed miserably, hated every minute of it. I earn approximately £134 a day gross, including bonus & benefits (£112, if you exclude those). According to what I've read recently, the average daily rate for a SQL contractor is £370 per day; I've recently seen SQL roles in my area offering £270 and £300 per day. Either way I want to leave "that place" (although preferably I'd like to stick it out for another 6-9 months to get the annual bonus) and those rates are an *extremely* tempting prospect. I've been doing some reading and I know it's not an easy road: there are a lot of potential tax implications, IR35 sounds like it could be a nightmare, I'd need a specialist accountant, no work = no pay, etc. What I'm interested to hear is your experiences of contract work, for example: How difficult did you find it to land your first contract? (I've often heard from contractors we've brought in that the first is the hardest) Have you seen much personal benefit around flexibility of working? Do you think it's a viable, stable, long-term prospect? Would you go back to full-time work? Did you build up any cash "reserve" before going contracting, or did you just jump straight in? EDIT: Did you go with an umbrella company first, or did you go straight in and set yourself up as a limited company? This isn't meant to be an exhaustive list, this is more of a "starter for 10".