Re: Ind. Contractors - where do you get new clients?
I would like to pose this question just to the independent contractors out
there (i.e., not agency contractors). Where do you find your clients? What
kind of marketing do you do? What do you do to ensure repeat business? If
you work with agencies under a 1099 arrangement, what are your stipulations
for working with them?
I'm not based in the US, so I can't answer the tax question.
I obtain contract both on my own and through agencies. But the situation is, I think, a little different here in Canada -- while I might go through an agency (and am doing so right now), my relationship with the agency does not usually outlive the placement with a specific client. So I'm constantly on the lookout for new opportunities.
I use a mixed-bag of marketing approaches.
I do some cold-calling, especially to companies that have been advertising for engineers or programmers. I prefer approaching the ones
looking for engineers, actually, as I do not enjoy documenting software and I don't do online help.
I watch the classifieds for ads looking for tech writers.
I monitor a couple of job sites (they're local to Toronto, though, so they won't help you much).
I watch the Job Bank at our local STC chapter.
I maintain good relationships with previous clients. If I haven't heard from them recently, I'll call just to see what's going on.
I network. Constantly. I always have cards with me!
I belong to the STC, and try to attend most of the meetings (although this has not been a good year). I refer my overflow to the Job Bank and to other writers I know. Then when they get busy, they think of me for their overflow.
I mentor when I can. I've worked with/talked to many up-and-coming writers over the years. Sometimes they'll call me when they hear of possible openings.
I take classes in related fields. I've been working my way through a set of web design courses. In the classes I've met all kinds of people who now know me as a potential content provider.
I take classes in non-related fields. Everyone I've taken a fiddle class with in the last few years, for instance, knows I'm a tech writer. I've had calls from some of them since.
I talk to people's kids. I've spoken in high schools about technical writing careers. I've spoken to friends' children about careers in technical writing. Sometimes the parents call me later with opportunities.
How's that for starters?
Oh, and the best way to get repeat business? Do a good job the first time.
mailto:winday -at- wordsplus -dot- net
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