Re: Getting Started as an Independent Contractor

Subject: Re: Getting Started as an Independent Contractor
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2002 01:05:20 -0800 (PST)


"Victoria Whitehorne" <> wrote
>
> Good Afternoon All:
>
> I was wondering if any of you independent contractors would share how you
> got started. As I'm sure this topic has probably been discussed before, you
> can respond offline.
>
> Thanks in advance for sharing.

I don't think its really something you "get started," it just happens.

If anything, you have to start seeing yourself as an independent entity. You
have skills, you have to hawk those skills on the open market. Which means you
need to establish marketing and sales tactics that make you competitive and
desirable. You can't just send out resumes and hope some stick. You have to
form an entity of some kind that represents what you are all about and hope
people want that.

Most contractors tend to have a specialty that gives them a strong grounding
and stable client set. My set was always networking and security. Eventually
that specialty led me out of technical writing into (more lucrative) networking
and security consulting. But I didn't just "get started" one day. It grew out
of years and years of labor and toil to prove to people that I could get the
job done. And I still have to toil. I am in the Bay Area this week installing
and configuring these massive security appliances for a client.

Furthermore, independent contracting is not necessarily an easier life.
Truthfully, you'll probably work a lot harder and make less money (at first)
contracting than you will being a full timer. I went independent because I
can't stand working for morons. I'd rather be poor and free, than beholden and
comfortable. However, that attitude has hurt me. I don't have nearly the safety
net that my beholden full-timer friends have. But, I also don't have some
butthead boss telling me to work harder, not smarter. :-)

Andrew Plato






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