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going independent (sort of)

I'm close to landing my first independent contracting gig (part-time, I'm still maintaining my day job).  Anyone out there have advice, do's/don'ts, links to resources, etc. ?

indie
Saturday, November 22, 2003

I think a little more detail would help?

Are you to be elected the president of the japan? Or the janitor for a small company?

Li-fan Chen
Saturday, November 22, 2003

gee, this is a software forum.....

frequented by programmers.....

hmmm....

confused
Saturday, November 22, 2003

Most employment agreements prohibit moonlighting.

hoser
Sunday, November 23, 2003

That would include all those policemen working as bouncers in bars then...

Simon Lucy
Sunday, November 23, 2003

1) Don't undercharge.

This will destroy your life and your relationship with your clients. Most good consultants prefer to lose clients rather than undercharge, because they realize the damage to their careers and reputations this can cause.

2) Be realistic.

Be more realistic than you are when quoting for your day job. You are NOT going to be able to work many 16 hour days and through many weekends in a row for long. Be realistic about your workload and take it easy. Make sure your client is aware that you have other obligations and is ok with taking the backseat to other elements in your life.

3) Make sure its legal.

Make sure your current employer will have no grounds to go after you or even fire you for your side job. It can be one hell of a blow to have all these elements of your life coordinated and then find out you've been assassinating yourself at your day job.

4) Figure out where you want to go NOW

If you want to do this for the rest of your life, one client will not do it. The sooner you can figure out marketing and the political game, the better you will do in the long run. You are now building a business, not just working for someone else. Focus on all the aspects of building that business. Read some books, take some classes, and pay attention to the little details.

5) Cover Yourself

Get bonded. A good 1M bond can cost as little as $500 and will save you a lot of concern if the client turns out to be a feature creep specialist or you make a mistake. Liability is one of the number one overlooked issues when going into business for yourself.

6) Get a contract.

Get a contract. Get everything, including all expectations, signed off on and develop a method early on to get client acceptance. This is much more important now than when working for a salary, especially when you may be dealing with a smaller project that is more subject change.

There's a few lines in an eternal bin of device.

Many years ago, when I was getting into this business, a wise man once told me: It takes three years to build a successful business. No man can or should do it in any less. The first year you will spend screwing yourself. After that, you will spend the second year getting screwed by your clients. It is only in the third year that you will have the wisdom to know your own abilities and the cynicism to understand those of your clients.

Dustin Alexander
Sunday, November 23, 2003

hmm s/device/advice. Strange that. Must be too deep in the keyboard drivers this morning.

Dustin Alexander
Sunday, November 23, 2003

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