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Ask HN: How do I get my first contracting client?
142 points by haack on May 19, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 92 comments
I want to do some contracting the next few months but I'll be honest, I have no idea how to go about starting. How do people find their first client?



Hmmm - I read in one of your comments that you're just graduating. Does that mean you haven't done any industry coding work? If so, I'm not sure that it's a great idea to jump straight into contracting.

You learn a lot in the first year or two on a job. Looking at it from a hiring position I would never take on an inexperienced dev on a contract (no offence, you may be great). Junior positions are like an apprenticeship; you know you're sinking time into someone but are hoping that over time they'll start providing value. Contractors are generally expected to have experience and, accordingly, they cost more.

If you've spent a bit of time at a job (2 years is a fairly normal time to leave) there are a couple of tricks you could try that worked for me.

A) Tell them you're leaving but you're available for contract work. You're a known quantity, you know their systems/products and can work efficiently when they need the extra resources. They will send you work (and some will just take you back on a contract straight away - that's how I started contracting).

B) If you've worked at an agency, ask to take some of their clients. It might sound insane, but every agency has clients they don't really want. Small clients that have been around for a while that they still need to service. That work is just unprofitable noise as an agency grows bigger. As a one-man-band it's perfect. The client is used to paying agency rates and with you they get personal service from the person who was doing their dev work anyway. I have clients from this arrangement that have been amazing.

Hope that helps in some small way.


"... accordingly, they cost more." I disagree with this. Contractors pay a significant price by leaving a full time job. No benefits, no company sponsored talks,training, no paid time off. The extra buck you make contracting is not extra.


For people who have problems with innumeracy (and lacking a tax advisor's phone number, I guess) this can be a real problem. For the rest of us, it's not that hard to figure out what those things cost, add it to how much you want to make, and then divide by 2000 to figure out an hourly rate.

The real price of contracting isn't the loss of benefits, but the increased burden of providing those things for yourself (if they were that important to you in the first place). The real reward is: freedom. You can provide any/all/none of those things for yourself as you see fit.

All presuming you have work, of course ;-)


I'm not a contractor, but wouldn't dividing by 2000 be a bit excessive? That would be 40 hours x 50 weeks, and everything I've read about contracting implies that you cannot bank on having constant work like that.


I've been contracting since 1997 and I haven't had a single day without employment. Except when I've chosen to have a holiday.

My secret has been to do such a good job that the client finds me indispensable and then leave on my terms, always with another gig lined up. Sometimes I've had to stay with clients for many months when I'd rather move on. Once I was working for a client that had a smell like they were going broke so I had to ruthlessly extract myself before my contract was due to expire, but that proved to be a good decision as a few months later nobody was being paid and were suddenly out of work.

I worked in a permanent role for 6 years before contracting, and I doubt it would be a good idea to do it with no experience. My first contract was acquired through an agency, and probably 50% of my work is through an agency, the rest is word of mouth and doing more work for former clients.


What's the agency? How does it work?


I usually divide by 1,000 when I'm working out those numbers, to account for time spent finding clients, lulls, etc. Sometimes it's really nice to just take the afternoon off, and it's really nice when that's already factored into your rate.


I bill an average of 1816 hours a year. 10 holidays, 3 weeks of vacation, 3 sick days and a week a year finding new gigs. That's been the case for the last 12 years.


Sounds like 219 weekdays, at a rate of 8.5hs per day. 8.5hs sounds a bit too much to do on a daily basis.


That's very true. And with full time staff there's also all the NI stuff to deal with (in the UK).

Having said that, there's a general attitude from employers (at least everywhere I've worked) of "I'm paying this person £400 a day, they'd better be good."

I've been on both sides, and from the employers side you're definitely willing to cut staff a lot more slack than contractors (though that may be totally irrational).


I can't agree more with this!

I followed option A in my career. I quit, went back to school to finish my degree and worked part time as a contractor for enough money to maintain my mortgage while in school.

Anyway, it is very important to learn to work closely with a team. It is also VERY important that you work with people that are SMARTER than you. IMHO, this is the best way to get proper mentor-ship and motivation to learn. I personally try to surround myself with people that are smarter than me.

Once you think that you know "everything" or that you're the smartest person in the room, it's time to change jobs. Because:

A) People won't like working with you

B) You'll stop learning new things since you already know everything.

update: spacing edits...


> A) People won't like working with you ?

Why is this? If enough people follow the "work with people that are SMARTER than you", which I think it's really important and I hope a significant number of people follow, why wouldn't they like working with you?


Thinking you know everything is a definitive sign that you do not! One of the first lessons you learn from experience is that what you thought would happen, doesn't.

In other terms, you have cognitive biases, emotional biases, and filters your brain uses as information you process goes from perception to short term memory to long term memory...and lots of things get lost in the process.

If someone isn't smart enough to realize his perception of what he knows is colored and influeneced by things outside his control...he probably hasnt had even close to enough experience to be humbled.

Don't be that guy!


Yep, the more I learn, the more I realize that I don't know.


...and eventually you get to the point I have where you realize you don't actually know anything :P


Reminds me of the saying, "a specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know practically everything about pretty much nothing."


It's when you start to think you know everything that people don't like to work with you. I haven't met that many people in my software career ~15yrs that have enjoyed working with a know-it-all.

You can of course be super smart at your job and know a TON, but when you start acting cocky and like you know everything it usually doesn't end well.


I can tolerate know-it-alls when they really do know a lot more about something than I do and are willing to share.

However in my experience, the majority of people with a know-it-all attitude are simply blowing hot air and trying to cover for the fact that they really aren't nearly as smart or knowledgeable as they would like to be.

Most truly smart and knowledgeable people I've met have been amazingly humble and usually fairly quiet about things. The qualities of quietness and humility lead to learning.


Thanks, that's really useful!

What about having done a few internships? I realise it's not the same but I've at least made some mistakes to learn from already.

I'm starting a job in September, contracting would just be something to fund my personal projects.


Having the internships obviously helps. Have you just had a look around on jobserve.co.uk? You might find something suitable.

In terms of applying for contracts a lot of it (unfortunately) still goes through recruiters. My advice would be to look at the buzz words in the ad and to change your cv to put all of those at the top. Recruiters see that and think you're the perfect candidate. That will normally get you an interview.


Do "agencies" of the type referred to in parent (i.e., aidos's comment) exist in California?


Probably. Sorry, little bit of a generic term but in particular I was thinking of web agencies - the kind that make glossy websites for other companies (or mobile apps, facebook promotions etc). Needn't be that sort of work. Could be embedded systems or whatever I suppose. All my experience is with web agencies.

Really, any company that's doing project work for other companies. They'll often have long standing clients that they wouldn't mind handing over.


This.

I only did it because I worked as a developer on the side for the 4 years of my CS studies.


If I had to put it in one phrase: work on making your fame preceed you

Make some of your work public, have your blog

Network between people, assuming you are in the us, make yourself member of the chamber of commerce of your area, participate not only in tech forums, but in business forums too.

Be nice, be competent, be helpful, all this publically.

Clients are a side effect of this


You already got the hard part done: Getting on the front page of HN. Now hurry and add more details about yourself in this thread and/or in your profile. There's a good chance someone reading this could use your help; help them get in touch with you.

(One of my first contracts came as a result of an HN thread, and because I have my contact info in my profile.)


As much as I think it's a good idea, I try my best to not be that "self advertising guy".

I mean, I would never just post this link to my CV to get everyone to look at it: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byk8zRX0L3yPYzMtQW1oMDBTcms...


The CV looks nice. However, IMHO, giving your self a "X out of X" score for a specific area is highly unprofessional, and it doesn't give much information regarding your skills. I'd rather explain what experiences I have within certain areas.


I would personally change this scoring system to the industry accepted HR approved score of "experience".


Few small notes which might improve it:

- The blue text looks like a link, when it's not (in the Experience)

- The github/linkedin/etc could be links! While this won't benefit anyone with the printed version, it does improve the experience for the online reader. I definitely tried to click them.

- You could use github, linkedin and twitter logos instead of the generic link chain. Same with nationality, I'd include a world globe instead of the upload to the cloud one.

- The first line of each experience part looks a bit overloaded. Maybe put the title (Software Engineer, etc) on the left, the date just under it, and leave the rest as it is? Something like this:

Software Engineer | Curtis...

Aug 2014-Sept 2014 | Worked in a team...


One more note - I'm guessing that 2.1 is 2:1, as in "second-class honours, upper division", right? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_undergraduate_degree_cl...) But to an American reader, it looks like a GPA (grade point average), which are out of 4 - a 2.1 GPA would not be something you want to advertise. Might want to clarify that, if you're going to be looking for remote work.


I agree with this, I initially thought that was his "expected GPA at graduation" which is what many soon-to-be graduates put on their resume. I'd change this if you're trying to contract for anyone in the US.


Personally, I find it's better to write it as '2.i' or 'II.i' instead just to remove potential ambiguity.

(Aside, I'm also a big fan of the graphical design! What was used to make this? Any inspiration?)


Never call yourself a hacker. To non-tech people "hacker" has the meaning of "illegally hacks into computers".


True, but if he's looking for contracting work hopefully his CV will be in the hands of an engineer rather than a hiring manager/HR.


Engineers only very rarely make decisions about contractors. If you're trying to do this stuff, you need to talk to managers.


One that nobody else has mentioned.

I'd suggest avoiding sending anybody your CV that shows you haven't touched it for 6 months. Change the date or remove it.

If you're keeping it, make sure it's current whenever you're sending it to somebody - it will at least look like you've considered the company/person you're sending it to.


That's a nice looking CV! :)

2 things I'd change layout wise: remove your home address. It's probably not a great idea to share it with the world. Also, job title in bold, company in blue and the description in regular text, I just find it hard to focus on reading it. Maybe make the company name regular or both bold?


Do you know that infos like Age/Nationality are not relevant in the US/Canada (and it is forbidden to ask) and you might be even taken out of the hiring process for having them ?

Also, nobody cares about your address, really. (And your interests)


I believe it's not actually forbidden to ask in the US, just forbidden to make a decision based on a protected category, which is why most companies avoid asking. While I'm sure it's happened, I've never seen someone removed from consideration for having something like this on a resume. Also, I see nationality on resumes quite frequently (although still a minority of the time, except in areas like defense.)


Minor note, your Twitter handle is wrong in your CV (I found your account at @Haakathon however). I imagine I'm in the minority who look at Twitter accounts first though :-D


That's one sexy CV! Looks really good. I mean graphicaly.


Build something that looks nice so you can show people. Use a good theme or pay a designer. It's more important that it looks nice than that it works well.

Then start going to networking events for entrepreneurs and meet people - you will get quite a few offers, mostly crappy, to build the next Facebook. Politely say no to these. Eventually, you'll find someone who needs something simple enough that you can deliver it and make him happy. Take this job even if the pay isn't so hot (but do get paid - a portion up front). Ideally, it would be a 6 week-ish project - enough to be significant, but not enough for you or your your client to get in over your heads.

Keep doing that until the referrals start to come in. Make sure every single client is happy - contracting is a referral business. If I had a dollar for every client who came to me because their developer flaked out, I wouldn't need work.

You can also do this at local small business groups (not the tech entrepreneurs, but the the plumbers, accountants, and store owners) - just go and start introducing yourself. You won't get any cool work like this - mostly just Wordpress sites - but it's easier work to come by, and can pay just as well if you're smart about it. This might even be a better way to start because you get more, smaller, clients who can start your referral network. More clients = more referrals.


There are 2 ways to do it: 1) Cold call on the phone or in-person. I did this for 9 month back in the day before I got my first client. It was uncomfortable for me as a young man but necessary. 2) Steal them. You probably hear this in lore of people leaving a company and then working for that company as a consultant. Not exactly. What I did was tell those clients while I was working for the man that I could do the work as "extra" work. It worked also.

I know, I know, it's not ethical but there is a saying in China "the first pan of gold is dirty".

So end-the-end both methods worked for me. My clients came, some much later that I wanted but came. It took months and some worked in 2-year cycles and and would not use me again for 2 years but they'd come back.

Good luck to you.

It gets easier after the first few. They wind up referring you to new clients. That part is great.


Suppose you wanted to moonlight as a chimney sweep, what steps might you take? Well there are two contexts.

1. Any chimney might or might not need sweeping. Any random person might or might not have a chimney. This means that just telling the people you meet that you are available as a chimney sweep might result in work.

2. There aren't chimneys in hobo camps. Wealthy people tend to hire trades workers. This means that efforts marketing should be targeted at people who hire chimney sweeps.

That's consulting. It's preparing the ground to increase the odds of being lucky enough to find a job and then being saavy enough to land it and capable enough to complete it. Then you're back at square one.

Developing a backlog of consulting work takes a really long time, a track record, and more luck. The image of "picking up" consulting gigs is not helpful. It's picks and hammers and salt mines and most of the veins you hit when you are lucky enough to hit one, run dry quickly. Any consultant who hits the mother load was lucky and probably built the mother load theirself.

The easiest way to get started in consulting is to work for another consultant. The industry is famous for hiring free-lance talent to balance work load. Which hits the final point: There is no planning to do consulting. Until the contract is signed there is no consulting to be done. Even after the contract is signed, there often is no consulting to be done, or less consulting than the contract might suggest or less payment than one might be entitled to.

There aren't people just standing around waiting to hire consultants. It's sales with the leads and prospects and closings and collections that come with that process.

Good luck.


0. Spread time in coffee shops in tech areas, go to conferences snd events

1. Talk to people, be nice, sincere, helpful and polite. Give and get contact info (cards or details). (But don't let them milk you for too many freebies, at some point you need to charge for your time. Be clear and upfront about what you're willing and not willing to give away. Beware the "friend" psuedoclient that wants to pick your brain at all hours, at random without golden-rule consideration.)

2. Follow up and don't forget to follow up


1) Create 1 page CV, add extra pages for detailed work history.

2) Submit to jobsites knowing rates you should get.

3) Wait about 2 hours. Pick up phone.

-- Agent will identify you are 'new' and will try and offer lower rates.

-- Ensure Agent only submits CV to companies you agree.

4) Go to interviews

5) Accept job. Register company and bank account.

6) Accept agent is making money off you but pays you almost immediately.

7) Profit

If you are looking for more freelance work, then I suggest you attend various meetups and tech events and get your name out there. I would also strongly suggest you consider using elance to 'farm out' work that you could do yourself at a cheaper rate and then you can 'audit' the work. Never farm out work you could not have completed yourself. You will get let down. You will have to get your hands dirty.


It might work like that in the bay area, but in most cities and countries across the world it definitely does not.


Freelancing is a numbers game. If you're in a city with a good startup ecosystem go to all tech events you can find for two weeks and hand out business cards letting people know what you do. After that you'll have your first client. :)

Face to face connections are very strong and it worked really well for me.


Back in the early 2000s I would just sit down in a coffee shop with a small laptop (about the size of a modern Air). Every other person would ask about it, so I'd mention how it well it ran visual studio (true); the conversation often turned to work.

These days I'd probably post on the freelancer HN page and look around on Craigslist... I actually ended up as a subcontractor to NASA writing code to contribute to an Eclipse project via Craigslist last year (YMMV).


I'm guessing you mean freelancing; why don't you give a little more detail on exactly what you can do? I suspect generalized advice will be less useful to you than specific advice.


I'm graduating in CS so I've had a bit of experience across the board. I particularly want to do web development with Angular and Node. I've done internships and projects but I'd still need to do a fair bit of learning on the job.


I wouldn't suggest diving into contracting straight away then, if you can find a good perm job with a great team to learn from and mentor you would reap dividends in your future career. Then with a couple of years under your belt you'll be able to pick and work with much better clients and command better rates.

It's tempting to see the contracting rates and just think of the $$ but a lot of the time it'll be cleaning up awful codebases.


I'm starting a job in September (in SF!), this is just so that I have a bit of money to do a cool tech project with my mini-moto. Thanks though!

Any idea what rate I can charge as a masters graduate?


Rates will vary depending on the technical abilities needed for the project, the client's budget as well as the contractor's experience, location, etc. In SF, going rates will be higher than the rates of someone in Iowa, however, I certainly wouldn't set a rate lower than $75 anywhere in the US, no matter how trivial the job is.


If you're new to the market I'd advise working for an agency for a bit first so you get to know your way around.


Don't get stuck in a rut of trying to find work in the same ways all the time. Internet job boards are enticing because they are easy, but they are really low-value; it typically takes a lot of repeated effort to even get contacts out of them.

Networking in person--by attending meetups and conferences in your potential customers' market (don't waste your time on tech meetups if you're just looking for work)--is slower and emotionally harder, but has a much, much higher yield.

It takes effort either way. I personally like the in person approach. I feel I do better in person than on paper. People get to see my enthusiasm, whereas trying to write enthusiasm into things often comes off as just fake.

Go to where your customers are. My wife has given up advertising her sci-fi novel online. We now go to book fairs. Bam--pre-filtered group of customers looking to buy now. I don't advertise my services online anymore, I now stick to meeting people at conferences. Best set of contacts I got from a conference was one at which I had spoke on a discussion panel.

Spend the small amount of money on a booth. Setup a few demos of your work. It's a lot easier than you think, and it doesn't have to be perfect; some people like the "I'm just starting out and don't know much about these booth things yet" story.

I've never gotten anything but run-around and bad deals out of recruiters.


Take a job, get some experience and perspective. While at that job, network with others, compare experiences and think about how you would do things and why that matters and what it's worth. As this happens, you will gain the insight you need to sell your contract services.

Then, job scenario permitting, take a contract. Complete it, and take another one, ideally at a better rate, or that is more challenging, or both!

Continue to network. If it were me, I would make sure sales people and that process is part of your network. Tech people often don't enjoy sales, and that's perfectly understandable. Do it anyway. Do it because contractors / consultants do much better when they've got a good understanding of the sales process and the "science" behind it. When you approach sales in a technical way, identifying value, helping others to understand it and being able to ask them for the business means more frequent and better gigs. All of that reduces your risk and improves your income.

At some point, you will understand how you can make it on your own and then you can leave the job and go do that.

...by "network", I mean meeting people and talking about stuff as well as using the Internet, blog, social media, etc... to establish your personal brand and value.


If you don't mind being relatively poor you can go on upwork (odesk), find a few projects with some kind of spec or a particular technology they want, build 1-5 demos, and you will probably get a gig. Works for me. I am poor but I don't have to go put of the house ever if I don't want to, and there is always plenty of interesting work.


We came to this point with different backgrounds (you, a recent graduate; me, 13 years of industry experience with a specific knowledge area that was in some demand), so take this with a grain of salt or two.

1. Hustle. Network. Cold call. However you want to describe it. Reach out to your friends and acquaintances, tell them quickly and succinctly what you want to do.

2 (this should perhaps be 0). Pick something. You are young and can afford to pick the wrong or less optimal thing, but pick something you must: If you don't, no one will know what you do, no one will want you.

3. When you talk to people, always get something. Best case, a job offer. Worst case, the phone number for someone they know who might have a job offer.

4. Call, introduce yourself briefly, explain how you got their number, ask if you can meet face to face. If they say no, ask for someone else's phone number ("I understand, thanks for your time. Do you know of anyone else who might need this kind of work?" or words to that effect).

5. Meet. Let people get to know you. Force nothing. Get comfortable with this stage, it is key, vital, fundamental to freelancing, contracting.

6. Always get something, a name, a number, another meeting. Bears repeating.

7. As you do this, you will notice trends and patterns, subjects areas or people who come up again and again. Pay attention to this.

8. Based on #7, your best informed guesses, and your gut, narrow that list of people or subjects down to 1 or 2.

9. Roll the dice on those. Pursue them with your every waking moment.

A. When you have a job, spend part of looking for the next one - but temper your forwardness, your obviousness about this to the culture in which you work. Some will think nothing of this, find it perfectly normal; others will want discretion. Pay attention to this.

Alternatively, look at job ads, find one that interests you, start the interview process, and "hedge" as you get closer: "It's an interesting position, but I don't think it is what I am looking for long term. Would you consider hiring on a contract basis?"

ADDED: You are under no obligation to reveal everything. Be friendly, be collegial, but be professional. Get good at answering with non-specific sentences: "What are your career goals?" "Long term, my interests are in X, Y, and Z. Short term, I want to work independently to gain first hand business experience." Say it with conviction, that will close avenues of questioning. I write this because some will attempt to derail you, try to slot you into their boxes. You have to be firm but polite about staying on your own path.


Part II: do a very good job, which means taking the problem off their hands and solving it completely. Folks contract out work because its a thorn in their side; eliminate the thorn, without becoming one yourself.

Then, when they have another thorn, they'll think "That contractor worked great before; lets use them again". Raise your rate 10%. Repeat.


In the Netherlands there's a company that calls itself a "Maatschap" (The Future Group). It's a company that helps freelancers find work. Perhaps such companies exist in your country as well.

The "Maatschap" has several sales people that try to find jobs. Jobs are then proposed to "Maten" (freelancers working for the "Maatschap") and the can choose to take the job or not. Of course, the freelancer will pay a certain percentage of his wage to "The Maatschap".

Then there are companies like ComputerFutures and Qualogy that provide more or less the same options and I think both companies operate internationally. I've been placed at my current job through ComputerFutures, while still being a freelancer.


Put yourself out there, I got my first contract by mentioning my line of study to clients from my ski instructor job. Then, after befriending the school counsellor, i got the contract I'm on now because he reffered me to a friend of his in a local startup.


Which country you in? If it's in the UK, you can pretty much just apply for jobs online. That said, the clients generally want short notice periods.


Where online? Do you use any particular freelance marketplaces, or cold contact companies from their websites, or something else entirely?


Normal job sites advertise for Contractors. Many job adverts will explicitly state Contracter.


jobserve is where I get my contracts from. Bare in mind contracting is different from freelancing.


I can't believe no one has mentioned LinkedIn yet. I have received virtually all my inbound contacts through my LinkedIn profile. Explicitely mention your new status ("consultant"/"freelancer" + your specialty) as your main activity and I can assure you you will get contract offers. They will not be the best in the world, but that will improve with time (and new connections).


Hang out on the freenode freelancing channels.

I work in Magento. I hung out in #magento, and #magento-jobs, and a few other more general PHP/HTML freelance channels (#startups can help you find channel names for freelancing). I answered questions in #magento for a month or so, got a little bit of rep, then started responding to requests for work. Eventually I got work. Some of it turned into reoccurring work.


What city are you in? It really depends on your location. For example, I'm in London and when I started contracting I simply uploaded my CV to a job site and my phone exploded with calls from recruiters because the demand for contractors here is so high.


Which site lead to most high-quality leads? The most common freelancing sites just seem like a race to the bottom, competing only on price with developers in developing countries (heh)


For me it's http://www.jobsite.co.uk. The contracts are onsite, normally 3-6 months, sometimes rolling. Devs are popular with digital media agencies because the projects are short term. However, I don't know how in-demand devs are. Sysadmins/devops with automation and cloud experience are though.

If you use a recruiter then under UK law you have to sign up with an umbrella agency or run your own limited company as they aren't allowed to work with sole proprietors.


Currently Warwick Uni, I'll be moving back to London though. Any chance you can share what site it was on?


http://www.jobsite.co.uk/ Are you focusing on dev or ops? Don't really know how in-demand devs are right now but sysadmin/devops guys (esp with cloud and automation experience) are. If you want to go the contracting route then the contracts are on-site so you aren't competing with people in India, etc. Also, if you go through a recruiter (highly recommended) then by law you'll have to join an umbrella company or start your own limited company (not a sole proprietary)


Like other commenters have said, I would recommend waiting for a bit and working in industry to get a feel for how large projects work, and fail.

You'll know you're ready when they start coming to you ;)


For those in the UK do the "attend meets" and "network" advices still apply? Or is it still normal to get a good gig from job descriptions posted online?


With apologies to Glengarry Glen Ross (a must see movie, BTW)...

Always Be Networking

Good luck!


In the UK most contracting jobs are advertised along with normal jobs.


jobserve.com or eLance-oDesk


First one is good, I'd avoid the second suggestion.


Have you had a poor experience with Elance or something? Just curious, since I've used it twice before and plan on using again shortly.


Hit the virtual pavement.

When I decided to take on a new consulting client I researched the local businesses and created a list of around 10 that could potentially need programming work and matched my area of programming background. I then did email contacts to arrange an in-person meeting. (face-to-face is very important)

I was lucky and found a small company (just two guys) right away that were changing their focus from print/radio/tv healthcare messaging to internet and mobile. It started out as a normal hourly rate, but I eventually negotiated to a revenue sharing model and then later I negotiated to own 13% of the company + revenue sharing. This happened over the course of about 10 years and it's still going strong. (I started with my high normal consulting rate and then later cut that in half as part of the revenue sharing agreement, then much later when I took ownership of the company I now no longer charge hourly and am paid entirely through the revenue sharing)

I've also used other people I've worked with in the past to help me in my consulting projects. So if you have friends or professional contacts that you've worked well with in the past it works to contact them. Word of mouth goes a long way in this business. And I've also met potential clients at local meet ups, but those have yet to pan out but I think if I really pushed it I could get some work out of them.

Also, if you have a tech incubator in your area try to meet up with the startups in the incubator. I've done that in two cities (one in CA, one in Europe) and it's worked well.

Also, be aware of scummy people and any decisions that you make that can affect your future career. I lived near the 'other' valley where most porn is produced and received unsolicited contacts from small porn companies. I didn't take on any of those projects which is good because later I did consulting in Defense and NSA projects and also worked for a major San Jose based tech company for a couple of years.


Really? We hired a guy that worked for two of the largest porn companies (they account for 2 and 3 percent of US traffic, respectively) and never looked back. Now that is a guy who knows how to scale and more importantly keep it running.


> Also, be aware of scummy people and any decisions that you make that can affect your future career. I lived near the 'other' valley where most porn is produced and received unsolicited contacts from small porn companies. I didn't take on any of those projects which is good because later I did consulting in Defense and NSA projects and also worked for a major San Jose based tech company for a couple of years.

Given recent events, I would consider government contracting far more of a black mark than anything in industry.


>which is good because later I did consulting in Defense and NSA projects

If you work in the adult film industry, you can't work for the government/get security clearances?


I'd like to say that means performers but I'm sure it's intentionally vague in the document -- security clearance applications are big on screening for potential things that you could be blackmailed or bribed for. Extensive debt, gambling, and drug use are all on the form. http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/security-clearance-jobs...


I went thru the process (a long time ago) and if you worked in pr0n (although I did not) an excellent way to fail a security check would be trying something like hiding your past employment from a hard core evang fundamentalist C.O. or something similar to that. Theoretically leading to an enemy agent blackmailing you to keep your past quiet if only you'll give him a photocopy of some document or a password or whatever. But if you already told security you were a sysadmin at nude-hackernews-posters.com or whatever then it would be REALLY hard to blackmail you about something that's already public knowledge...

If this line applies to the issue, you're OK: "The behavior no longer serves as a basis for coercion, exploitation, or duress."


The people I worked with would not hire someone that worked in porn.

Also, my boss at adobe would not either.

A gambling or porn background reduces your career options.


Adobe has employed and if memory serves me correct still employs SEO (search engine optimization) peeps who have previous porn experience.


Yes, the company does and will. But there are managers who won't. Same thing in defense - you can still get clearance but considering how many in the industry are Mormon you decrease your chances of being hired.


The defense industry runs heavily Mormon? Since when? I work in the defense industry and I've never heard of that.


For example: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peculiarpeople/2014/04/mormons-...

Just do a quick search on Mormons and nsa, cia, fbi. They are over represented. Perhaps you didn't even know? And it's no secret that Air Force command is extremely religious.


The CIA and FBI do have recruitment programs for Mormon graduates, as they value the language skills and their abstinence from alcohol, drugs etc. And while they may be over-represented proportionally, they don't run the show of course. Most of the sources I have seen take the few hard numbers available and do a lot of speculation on the top.




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