RE: The Freelance Life: Is It Good?

Subject: RE: The Freelance Life: Is It Good?
From: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 15:26:36 -0400

> I have gone as long as 3 or 4 months between jobs. And to make
> matters worse, what some companies think is technical writing, is
> very bizarre. It runs from real tech writing to marketing. So you
> have to be careful you know what is going on when you take a job. The
> worst of clients don't have a clue as to scope or what they want you
> to do. So you have to be able to do a lot of work in a short time.

I've thought about this free-lancing/contracting thing off'n'on for years. I
began to stick my toe in, last year. I've been a captive techwriter for a
couple of decades, and was approached by a startup for a contract job. It
was assumed that I'd be moonlighting until enough progress had happened that
a new arrangement became necessary or desirable.
Both of the principals had some past experience in business, but neither of
them _really_ knew what they were getting into. The enterprise is a
labor-of-love in the best sense, and they will make a go of it, but... they
weren't really looking for a technical writer. They were looking for an
engineering department.

I acted as liaison with an offshore hardware provider, some North American
service suppliers, etc., but mostly I turned into their technical coach,
which I did by asking a LOT of questions. The questions started out
innocently enough as purely technical issues. As this tried to progress, my
questions got more structural, procedural, and ... well... Socratic in

They finally hired a company that provides them with a team of developers,
managers, etc. (I got the lead from a co-worker at the day-job). The big
benefit is that the services company has been through the startup dance
before, and knows the ropes. They also have the correct mix of technical and
other bodies. I bowed out. I wish 'em well.

If there's a next time, I'll have a very different set of opening questions
to ask when I'm interviewing a potential client.

Meanwhile, my day-job keeps me busy and interested. And that's a good


The information contained in this electronic mail transmission may be privileged and confidential, and therefore, protected from disclosure. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to this message and deleting it from your computer without copying or disclosing it.

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include single source authoring, team authoring,
Web-based technology, and PDF output.

Now shipping: Help &amp; Manual 4 with RoboHelp(r) import! New editor,
full Unicode support. Create help files, web-based help and PDF in up
to 106 languages with Help &amp; Manual:

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: RE: Training (was: What would you do? Part 2.)
Next by Author: RE: Getting Black Balled by a Doc Manager & Filing for Unemployme nt -Need Advice
Previous by Thread: WW Context-sensitive help from MFC dialog
Next by Thread: Making the "eng" character display in FrameMaker?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads