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HOT TOPIC 10+ Years IT Contracting at €300-900/day (Learnings)

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maverick

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Good thread@Andy Black. I'd like to add to the list:

1. Set clear expectations from day 1.
What is the client/customer expecting you to do? What is the strategic reason behind it? Fix the main problem first, and start putting together initiatives to hit the strategic outcome from a different angle.

2. Set a baseline.
Get some metrics together to determine where you are on day 1. This also makes for good material to share in future interviews with new clients (e.g. "I increased organic traffic with XX% in a 3 month period doing XYZ").

3. Combine 1 and 2 to show the client you're awesome.
 

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Andy Black

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Good thread@Andy Black. I'd like to add to the list:

1. Set clear expectations from day 1.
What is the client/customer expecting you to do? What is the strategic reason behind it? Fix the main problem first, and start putting together initiatives to hit the strategic outcome from a different angle.

2. Set a baseline.
Get some metrics together to determine where you are on day 1. This also makes for good material to share in future interviews with new clients (e.g. "I increased organic traffic with XX% in a 3 month period doing XYZ").

3. Combine 1 and 2 to show the client you're awesome.
Exactly.

"Sell them what they want. Give them what they need."

"Show them their bleeding neck."

"Show don't tell."
 
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Andy Black

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Potven

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Hi, did(do) you utilize also the linkedin (pull) or just solely use the printed CV and covering letters (push) when looking for new contracts?
My feeling now is that it's quite easy to score a decent contracting offers via linkedin headhunters (at least in EU). I guess the same rules of keywords apply as mentioned in your video.
 
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Andy Black

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Hi, did(do) you utilize also the linkedin (pull) or just solely use the printed CV and covering letters (push) when looking for new contracts?
My feeling now is that it's quite easy to score a decent contracting offers via linkedin headhunters (at least in EU). I guess the same rules of keywords apply as mentioned in your video.
Back then I just used job-boards to find recruiters who advertised for Oracle DBA positions. The goal wasn't to get that position, but to get my CV into their hands and have a chat with them - so they'd think of me first when their next role came up.

Recruiters use LinkedIn a lot to find contractors. So much so that I had to remove all my IT stuff from my profile for a few years.
 
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Andy Black

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The Cover Letter

My 3 paragraph formula:

Hi <Name>,

<Reason I'm writing to you.>

<Quick paragraph explaining how I can help.>

<Polite call to action.>

Thanks,
Andy​


If I have anything else to write then I'll put it below my signature, and refer to it in the short email.


Example:

upload_2018-3-28_22-24-15.png
 

RoadTrip

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I currently work as a Quality Assurance engineer (software tester) for an IT consultancy firm. Next to this I'm running a supplement company for a year now which is not nearly growing as fast as I would like.

I'm always contemplating about monetizing my skills and start helping other businesses. But the best skills I have are as a QA engineer. Demand is very high so I could easily start freelancing. The problem is I don't see how I could stop trading time for money with this.

Clients expects us to always be in-house as part of an Agile development team. And building a consultancy firm which hires out personnel seems like a lot of headache with all the people requiring management and high salaries. Finding good personnel is an even bigger challenge.

I do have intermediate experience in FB ads and beginner experience in Google Adwords. Local lead generation with Adwords in particular interests me. Work can be done on distance and it's scaleable. But I nearly don't have as much as experience as I do as a QA engineer.

@Andy Black what's your take on this?
 
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Andy Black

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I currently work as a Quality Assurance engineer (software tester) for an IT consultancy firm. Next to this I'm running a supplement company for a year now which is not nearly growing as fast as I would like.

I'm always contemplating about monetizing my skills and start helping other businesses. But the best skills I have are as a QA engineer. Demand is very high so I could easily start freelancing. The problem is I don't see how I could stop trading time for money with this.

Clients expects us to always be in-house as part of an Agile development team. And building a consultancy firm which hires out personnel seems like a lot of headache with all the people requiring management and high salaries. Finding good personnel is an even bigger challenge.

I do have intermediate experience in FB ads and beginner experience in Google Adwords. Local lead generation with Adwords in particular interests me. Work can be done on distance and it's scaleable. But I nearly don't have as much as experience as I do as a QA engineer.

@Andy Black what's your take on this?
I was a contract Production Oracle DBA for 10 years. Guys like us only work for large businesses since the Oracle licensing fees are so high and DBAs are at the higher end of the contracting rates.

I started going down the path of having other contractors working for me in onsite teams, and considered creating a specialist DBA shop serving multiple big clients with a pool of talented (and expensive) DBAs.

Except I realised I didn’t want to do that type of work. I’d be dealing with employees in big businesses all the time. I was a contractor because I didn’t want to get caught up in the BS in big businesses, and because I didn’t have the mindset of an employee.

I also had visions of being at a weekend BBQ and getting a phone call from someone because some disaster had happened and we had to failover or inititate the DR plan. No thanks. I want to be home at the weekend without worrying about the pager on my belt.


I also knew I was always seems as a cost, that businesses begrudged paying for me, and did so the same way people pay for insurance.


My aha moment was when an AdWords voucher fell out of a book and I setup some campaigns for an electrician friend who was out of work, with a wife and kids and home, and who had to hand his van back.

When he rang to tell me he’d had his first phone call my whole world changed.

Whoa. I can help a person and not a big business?

I’m not just some cog in a wheel?

He sees the *value* in what I do, and I’m keeping a roof over his head?


I took two AdWords jobs to reskill and went back contracting, but this time as an AdWords guy rather than a DBA.


My take is that my IT skills *help* me be a better AdWords guy. I stack the AdWords on top of 15 years of IT and data management experience.

I’ve built my high ground.

I haven’t thrown away my technical IT skills, and knowledge of change management, incident management, root cause analysis, SOPs, etc.

I use them and be a better flavour of AdWords guy than someone who doesn’t have all that experience.


Why don’t I have FU money yet when I have such great technical skills?

Because commercial skills beats technical skills.

I have FU technical skills and a FU mindset, I just need to marry that with FU commercial skills to get my FU money.



But where I’m at is already a world apart from when I was IT contracting.

I’m probably taking home slightly less, but how I do it is different. I have automated MRR. I don’t have to be on client sites. I’m detaching my income from my time. I’m building assets I own. This thing can scale to the moon and back.


Hope that helps!


Maybe listen to that call I had with @Almantas that I linked to earlier, and the two radio interviews in my signature.



EDIT: If I had to then I’d flip burgers to keep a roof over our heads, and if I knew then what I know now about AdWords and lead gen then I’d be using that €400-600/day as bankroll to pay for website development and ad spend.
 

RoadTrip

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I was a contract Production Oracle DBA for 10 years. Guys like us only work for large businesses since the Oracle licensing fees are so high and DBAs are at the higher end of the contracting rates.

I started going down the path of having other contractors working for me in onsite teams, and considered creating a specialist DBA shop serving multiple big clients with a pool of talented (and expensive) DBAs.

Except I realised I didn’t want to do that type of work. I’d be dealing with employees in big businesses all the time. I was a contractor because I didn’t want to get caught up in the BS in big businesses, and because I didn’t have the mindset of an employee.

I also had visions of being at a weekend BBQ and getting a phone call from someone because some disaster had happened and we had to failover or inititate the DR plan. No thanks. I want to be home at the weekend without worrying about the pager on my belt.


I also knew I was always seems as a cost, that businesses begrudged paying for me, and did so the same way people pay for insurance.


My aha moment was when an AdWords voucher fell out of a book and I setup some campaigns for an electrician friend who was out of work, with a wife and kids and home, and who had to hand his van back.

When he rang to tell me he’d had his first phone call my whole world changed.

Whoa. I can help a person and not a big business?

I’m not just some cog in a wheel?

He sees the *value* in what I do, and I’m keeping a roof over his head?


I took two AdWords jobs to reskill and went back contracting, but this time as an AdWords guy rather than a DBA.


My take is that my IT skills *help* me be a better AdWords guy. I stack the AdWords on top of 15 years of IT and data management experience.

I’ve built my high ground.

I haven’t thrown away my technical IT skills, and knowledge of change management, incident management, root cause analysis, SOPs, etc.

I use them and be a better flavour of AdWords guy than someone who doesn’t have all that experience.


Why don’t I have FU money yet when I have such great technical skills?

Because commercial skills beats technical skills.

I have FU technical skills and a FU mindset, I just need to marry that with FU commercial skills to get my FU money.



But where I’m at is already a world apart from when I was IT contracting.

I’m probably taking home slightly less, it how I do it is different. I have automated MRR. I don’t have to be on client sites. I’m detaching my income from my time. I’m building assets I own. This thing can scale to the moon and back.


Hope that helps!


Maybe listen to that call I had with @Almantas that I linked to earlier, and the two radio interviews in my signature.



EDIT: If I had to then I’d flip burgers to keep a roof over our heads, and if I knew then what I know now about AdWords and lead gen then I’d be using that €400-600/day as bankroll to pay for website development and ad spend.

Thanks Andy for taking the time to answer. I appreciate it.

I completely agree about dealing with big businesses. We'll be dealing with employees and would never be able to make them as happy as real business owners or end consumers. You confirmed consulting is not the path I want to take.

And I don't have the mindset of an employee either. Seeing those people at 40/50/60 depresses me. That's not how I want to end up.

That's why I started the entrepreneurial journey 4 years ago. I already have multiple small and big failures under my belt. My current venture isn't a failure yet, but is growing painfully slowly. After 4 years of trying I'm becoming impatient.

I will listen to the calls you linked in your signature. Hopefully I'm getting a light bulb moment that will help me decide my path and move forward.
 
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Andy Black

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Bump for all you fresh grads looking for jobs. See that first video? It’s how you need to look at job-hunting and the role of your CV.
 

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Andy Black

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Bump for those updating their CVs.
 

Tom H.

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@Andy Black I just re-wrote my resume to follow the very sensible perspective you present in your videos. My old resume contained way too much personal expression and not enough "giving them what they want". Because I find a list of buzzwords and the typical executive summary to be dumb, but if that is what recruiters and hiring managers need to do their job, I better play along and help them out.

I used to want people to hire me because they saw the special value in me and wanted me for me. But my goal is simply to do a good job using skills I've worked hard to acquire and then get money to fund my entrepreneurial projects. So my goal is getting money, not self-expression, so I should shut up and be whatever the hiring manager needs me to be, so I can do my job and get paid.

Thanks for the great videos!
 
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Andy Black

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@Andy Black I just re-wrote my resume to follow the very sensible perspective you present in your videos. My old resume contained way too much personal expression and not enough "giving them what they want". Because I find a list of buzzwords and the typical executive summary to be dumb, but if that is what recruiters and hiring managers need to do their job, I better play along and help them out.

I used to want people to hire me because they saw the special value in me and wanted me for me. But my goal is simply to do a good job using skills I've worked hard to acquire and then get money to fund my entrepreneurial projects. So my goal is getting money, not self-expression, so I should shut up and be whatever the hiring manager needs me to be, so I can do my job and get paid.

Thanks for the great videos!
“Sell them what they want. Give them what they need.”

It’s a good lesson in business too.
 

cviji

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This is really useful and appreciated thanks Andy as I look to transition to contracting from salaried.

Looks like you spent a bit of time up in my part of the world in Cumbria.
 

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