2 November 2010 notes from Consultants and Independent Contractors (CIC) meetup
Posted: 03 November 2010 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  13
Joined  2006-11-18

2 November 2010 notes from STC-CWC Independent Contractors (CIC) meetup
7:00 to 9:00 at Tim Hortons, 200 Burrard St., lower level food court

Organized by Ben Hechter
Attending: Ben, Heather, Judith, Maria, Morgan, Rob, Jacquie, Tony, Ariel, Artie, John and Pam

Attendees (and recent CIC attendees) receive emailed notes. Notes also posted to the Contractors forum

A bigger than usual group showed up for coffee talk. Ben acknowledged that a looser format wouldn’t be effective. To give everyone equal air time, Ben started the conversation followed by two roundtable discussions.

The format
  ⁃  introductions
  ⁃  job announcements
  ⁃  biz discussion
  ⁃  next CIC date/venue

Round 1
Welcome new independent contractors. You are not unemployed!
Introductions and the contractor lure

Job announcements
  ⁃  E-learning Consultant at WCB
  ⁃  Instructional Project Lead at WCB
  ⁃  Training Design & Delivery Consultant through Annex

Round 2
What’s in your bag of tricks for contacting?
  ⁃  To make ends meet, use a budget and billing strategy. Bank one month’s of receivables, spread spending over non-earning months

  ⁃  To build a portfolio, do volunteer for non-profits or do open source work

  ⁃  Find a good accountant; they may happen to live in Australia

What is the next good course to take?
  ⁃  Tech writing role is not usually strictly defined

  ⁃  To compare tech writing programs first assess your lateral interest: if writing, then SFU program; if technology, then BCIT program

  ⁃  Technical Communicator is preferred title in Douglas Print Futures program

What’s the key to contact renewals?
  ⁃  Ask loads of Qs, understand the company’s business requirements

  ⁃  Understand how to separate information types; concept, reference, task

  ⁃  Need breaks in long term contracts

Advice and observations
  ⁃  To transition from an engineering background to tech writing, be as well-rounded as possible

  ⁃  To find work/life balance, negotiate to work at home 1 day per wk

  ⁃  To demonstrate technical competency, create a T-Letter. Draw a big “T”. List employer’s requirements on one side; match your qualifications on the other

  ⁃  Elance (an online contracting service) - you can’t work for $5-10/hr in North America

  ⁃  By a show of hands, most contractors are not incorporated

Next meeting
First Tuesday of the month, 7 December 2010, Tim Hortons, 200 Burrard St. There are several in the vicinity. There’s an app for that: TimmyME


Pam Drucker