Early contracting experiences? Learning the haard way! (Part 2 of 2...)

Subject: Early contracting experiences? Learning the haard way! (Part 2 of 2...)
From: Charles E Vermette <cvermette -at- juno -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 11:22:20 -0400


Sue in Canada laments that:

<<<I'm wondering if some of you would share your early contracting
experiences? The good news is: I'm working and many are not but *what* a
way to learn. My goodness. I'm contemplating writing a survival manual
for
new tech writing contractors. This is my first contract...>>>

Good news Sue (and I'm serious) you'll have the material for a book when
you're done. Write it. Again, I'm serious. I can tell from your writing
style and tone that you'll be OK, that you have your act together, and
that you'll learn from this. (By the way: there's a career track for
people who get burned and can warn others off... it's called training or
consulting <vbg>...)

I've said most of this before, but I'll summarize. If you're new to
contracting:

1.) Try to get some W2 contracting experience through an agency first -
and try to make it with a big company
2.) Get some business experience first - either as a manager or manager's
assistant (i.e., be somewhere where business decisions and mistakes are
made...)

3.) When you first do a 1099 engagement, make it a small one. The if you
make mistakes they don't cost as much (they also are profitable. I have a
number of very small engagements that help to pay the bills...)

4.) ALWAYS make sure you've considered the worst case scenario if you
fail. Decide if you can deal with it. If you can't, walk. In spite of the
BS you'll hear, opportunities really are like elevators - if you're
looking. a new one will come along in a little while...

5.) QUOTE BY THE HOUR-EVEN IF YOU BILL BY THE JOB - and make it clear
what conditions the quote is based on.

That way, if the conditions change, you have leeway to adjust the fee.
Incompetents like the one you're working with think twice about "changing
direction" when it costs them money...

Chuck


Charles E. Vermette
85 Washington Park Drive, Norwell MA 02061
781-659-1836
e-mail: cvermette -at- juno -dot- com
web: http://www.charlesvermette.com

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