Becoming a contractor without much hands-on experience?

Subject: Becoming a contractor without much hands-on experience?
From: Raymond Chenier <rchenier -at- SYNAPSE -dot- NET>
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 1995 19:32:23 GMT


I suspect I will get many discouraging posts from this article but
that's what it's all about.

I am seriously setting up the necessary business aspects before
graduating from college in tech writing. I don't discount the
possibility of going to work for industry for a few years, but I know
that ultimately I will contract. I have heard of people who have done
well coming out of school and going into contracting but mostly I have
heard of people who have flopped and the reasons why.

I believe an advantage I have is many years of contracting (I was a
building trades contractor for 5 years) and a strong work ethic.
In the past, as a contractor, I would often do extreme amounts of
homework before taking on jobs that were a little out of my area. I
did well at this (falls under common sense I think!) and think it can
be done in the area of tech communication.

So I have some business sense, will have 5 product portfolio, my
writing is improving daily (and I love writing), an understanding and
entry-level experience in document planning and outlining. I am
self-taught and learning in the areas of DTP, online docs and help,
html, programming. I am bilingual, believe in long work days, etc. I
also plan on continuing my education.

So what do you think?

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