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You may already possess a skill that you want to use to find work as an Independent Contractor. You may also have the home office, computer, software and the whole nine yards. So you are ready!! The news is almost good.

I say "almost," because ultimately, selling your work comes down to you. I cannot do the work for you but I can impart my knowledge, selling strategy and tips for you to use. "Be ready to be disappointed." I do not say this to scare you but to warn you, that it won't be easy.
There is increasing awareness and use of the Internet, coupled with increasing skill shortages in some places. Many companies now include a job vacancy section on their web site and there are many recruiting agencies and new electronic businesses on the rise. However, supply is still greater than demand and that is why, you have to be a cut above the rest. Most companies still prefer to hire people they can meet face to face and to have them work at least some time at the company's office, but you will continue to be the exception.

What kinds of companies?
In reality, the most obvious answer is, companies that:
„X Use computers and telecommunications intensively
„X Have customers in places where they don't have offices
„X Have embraced other flexible working hours
„X Employ a lot of self-starting, self-managing people
„X Have a strong online presence and progressive e-business strategies.

It is Possible!
Once you are established, the majority of your work will come from repeat business and word of mouth recommendations. Until you are established, though, you need to get your name in front of as many people and business that you can. Most companies will send most of their work to people they know- so that is why you have to do the critical work of getting customers and developing strong relationships with them.

Even at the beginning, you can do a lot by word of mouth. Unless you have been out of the work force for a while, you can almost certainly contact former employers and maybe quite a number of their suppliers and customers or clients. You already know the name of the contact person, addresses and the kind of work they do. This enables you to slant your advertisements and selling letter to their particular needs.
Next, you have friends. Maybe some of them may need an occasional typing done. If you are a member of a church or other organization, you may be able to get the word out. These will be people you are already familiar with.
When approaching any organization, the best system is to first find out the name, job title and the address of the person who you should write an inquiry letter to. Next, you should follow up your letter with a phone call. Now let's look at specific individuals and organizations how can (and almost certainly will) need people like you to work for them.

Former Employer(s)
This is particularly useful for women who have left the work force to look after their families. In all likelihood you parted from your employer on good terms, and you have two great advantages: first, you know the business, and second, they know you. You can even target the specific areas in which you think they might need help. A telephone call should be all you need to make the initial contact and while you are asking, you may find out if your former employer knows of anyone else that may be interested in your services.

Newspaper/Job Bank
Search a local newspaper, online newspaper or Job Bank. Contact the companies that advertise for the skills that you possess. Let them know that hiring a home worker is an option that they may want to consider and sell yourself. Make your first contact by faxing your resume along with a cover letter stating what you can bring to the company and how you can increase productivity and lower cost by offering your services as an Independent Contractor. Be sure to include your references so that if the company has any doubts, they can call your references right away before they contact you.

Other local businesses
Your next contact should be any other businesses that do the same sort of thing as your former employer. Here, your "sales pitch" is simple. You already know the line of business and he skills you developed with your previous employer will benefit any other company as well. His applies even if you have moved across the country: a small manufacturing company in Maryland, for example, is likely to be run the same way as a small manufacturing company in San Jose.

Once you have exhausted this line of approach, you should now try to look outside your field of proven expertise, gradually widening the circle. For example, from manufacturing, you might go to distribution, wholesalers or even retailers, all in the same line of business. Then you can expand into different kinds of business, from clothing manufacturing to electronics manufacturing, from automobile distribution to artists' materials distribution. Do you get the picture?

This might sound like a lot of work, but let me remind you or console you, that his is pretty much a one-time effort. Once you have built your clientele, and have made an outstanding first impression, you should be able to get repeat business. Given the shortage of reliable freelancers and the current business climate, you should be able to get a good amount of clients early on in your efforts and these will sustain you over the unresponsive parts of your efforts.

Voluntary and Charitable Organizations
Working with these is likely to be less rewarding financially, but more rewarding in other ways. These organizations rely on volunteers and free labor, so you may find it difficult to persuade them to pay at all and when they do pay, they may pay very little.
On the other hand, they may be more likely to be flexible- they may be happy to drop the work off and pick it back up, rather than expecting you to come to them and there is quite often a team spirit within these organizations.

Many cities or county government offices may be hopelessly understaffed: for example, parks and recreation authorities, public health clinics, libraries and other local offices.
To find their addresses and phone numbers, look in the front page of your local directory. Local government offices are usually given in their own listing, before the main body of names and addresses.

Hybrid Organizations
These include hospitals, community and other colleges, private schools, some theaters, sports complexes-the precise detail will depend on where you live. The way to find out about these is through your local directory.

Doctors and Dentists
Doctors and Dentists are one of the most overworked and understaffed professions. A doctor or dentist may even be too busy to ask for help. This is a fairly specialized field, so you must be able to learn medical terminology, if you do not already know. These professions are also highly confidential. You must prove trustworthy and responsible to be able to land a gig here and of course, experience in the field is quite helpful.

As with doctors and dentists, absolute precision is essential in this field. Getting into the legal field can be as difficult as getting medical work. Experience and confidentiality is a great plus, but once you are in, these professions can prove very profitable and most dentist, doctors, and lawyers tend to know each other. So if you land one, it becomes somewhat of a "gold mine." The word will certainly get around.

Business Fairs
In any city of any size, there are always business and other fairs throughout the year. The bigger the city, the more fairs. Your local Chamber of Commerce can usually let you have a list of these fairs, and if you go to them in person, you may be able to pick up a surprising amount of business.
The great advantage of visiting these fairs is that you meet people face to face. For small businesses, you will meet the principals and for bigger businesses, you will meet the people who can give you the name and address of the principal.

Many freelance photographers need someone to type their letters, follow up with their clients, catalog their pictures and a great deal more. They are more likely to be interested in someone who can offer a full range of services.

Advertising Agencies
Advertising agencies normally work on a boom or bust. In the boom times, they always need help. It may well be worth approaching advertising agencies and letting them know that you can offer a fast and reliable service when they have bulk work. Of course, you can charge handsomely for this project.

Insurance Brokers
For preparing complex quotes, and for regular reminder letters to their clients, you may be able to land a gig here as a typist.

Have you ever wondered who types up those descriptions of houses that realtors hand out all the time?

Everyone thinks of doctors and dentists when you say "medical records" -but animals have medical records too.

Most small businesses do continuous advertising in the general media but for you this would be a waste of money and time. You should concentrate on targeted advertising. If you are going to pay for advertising, it is best to target it carefully so that people who might need your services see it. In your ad, you also need to be specific about what you offer.

Targeted Advertising
An example of targeted advertising might be in a magazine aimed at authors or more generally in a local Chamber of Commerce publication that will be seen by local businessmen.
The classified section of a business magazine may be the best place to advertise your service. Or you may write an article on a subject that is pertaining to the magazine. For example, if it is a health magazine and you are a medical transcriber, you may write an article on "how to lower your transcription cost." This would get a lot of attention because everyone loves discounts and most of all this would be free advertising.

Advertising by mail
If you are advertising your skills as someone who is able to turn out polished letters and resumes, it would seem reasonable that you should be able to do a good job of writing a sales letter. Because this will be a sample of your work, it must be on the best paper you can possibly afford and it must be absolutely flawless in all sense of the word. No grammatical errors, no white-out, absolutely no mistakes are acceptable. Always address your letter to a specific person. This greatly reduces the chance of your letter being discarded immediately as "junk mail." Do your research before you construct a letter like this one. Call the switchboard and find out the contact person. You can say something like this to the operator or receptionists:
"Hi, my name is Jennifer Summer, and I am launching a medical transcriptionist service. I want to send a letter to the person in your company that may need this service. I know that it is possible that you may not need this service now but I thought it would be useful to have the information on file." No one has ever refused to give me a name when I have asked. So don't be afraid. Just ask.

Advertising on the telephone

This is called "cold calling" and is an art. Cold calling is not something that most people relish. To be honest, I don't but I do it because I have to. Cold calling, however, gives you a better chance of finding the right contact person. The mere fact that you are calling, gives you an edge. This shows the employer that you are serious, a go-getter and ready and willing to work. Secondly, it demonstrates your willingness to take chances, knowing that you may face rejection. This is a plus for you. However, be prepared for that rejection and handle it with grace and then move on to the next person. It is not easy but you will get over it soon enough.

During your follow up, be prepared. You will be asked some hard questions. If you are asked who your other clients are, you can answer truthfully in general terms or simply say you regard that as confidential. Most employers respect confidentiality and privacy.

You may be asked to come in and bring your portfolio of work you have done in the past. If you do not have any samples, prepare some sample and put together in a nice folder of if you can afford, purchase a nice portfolio.

Other Possibilities
The Yellow pages or Internet directories are good places to list your services. Online Bulletin Boards and business cards are sophisticated but clever ways to get noticed. You will be able to experiment with these for free. A Web page is a great advertising tool and it does not have to be fancy nor do you have to acquire any special designing skills. There are software tools that will allow you to create a web page as if you were using a word-processing program