New to contracting, all the usual questions?

Subject: New to contracting, all the usual questions?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 14:26:02 -0400


Rebecca Stevenson wondered: <<Since all of the calls I have been getting have been for contract work, it seems like this is in my future; I like the idea.>>

I've been doing it for about 1.5 years now, and can't imagine going back. You have to have an independent personality to succeed, but I'm loving it. The crush periods (too much work all at once) are no worse than they were when I was a wage slave, but I'm having a harder time learning to accept these (emotionally) as job security--it would be nice to have more time off some weeks!

<<I am particularly curious about home office setups/computer equipment that I might need to purchase. Does anyone contract using a Mac, or am I going to have to buy a PC to be effective?>>

Depends entirely on the work you're doing. I'm using a Mac exclusively, but I'm doing primarily editing and translation, not WinHelp. If you need specialized PC-only tools, get a PC either as a main computer or a backup.

Although you can run RoboWhatever and all the main help authoring tools using Virtual PC on a Mac, it's more cost-effective and easier on your sanity to purchase a cheap used PC and use that instead. Models from 2 years back are more than fast enough if you're not using Photoshop, and they're cheap. April-May is a particularly great time to buy if you're near a university, since many students living away from home are preparing to return home for the summar and can't carry their desktop computers on the plane or train, so they sell them for ridiculously low prices. (This also gives you backup in case one computer dies.)

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
www.geoff-hart.com
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References:
new to contracting, all the usual questions: From: rstevenson

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