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  • Holland, MI, USA - Independent Contractor

    Discussion in 'Pop in and say hello!' started by Strider, May 22, 2014.

    1. Strider

      Strider Member

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      Hey all, I'm from Holland which is on the west side of Michigan in the USA. I have been Independent for nearly 5 years and have loved every minute of it, turning down many good "permanent" job offers.

      My preference is Product Design but I also love designing Deep Draw Tooling.

      If any of you are Independent Contractors I'd love to converse with you, possibly starting a section where we can bounce things off from each other. Here in West Michigan we have a great group of people doing this and so far I haven't been undercut or snookered by any of my colleagues.
       
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    3. Matt Coughlin

      Matt Coughlin Active Member

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      Hey Strider,
      I'm independent as well. I quit the "permanent" job about a year ago and have been going it alone ever since. I have found a couple of good projects, but most of the work I've found has been very simple and somewhat boring (creating drawings from 3d models, basic CAD work, etc).

      Did you also have trouble finding good projects when you first went solo? Any tips for getting a steady stream of good work as an independent contractor?

      Also, yeah I agree it would be nice to start a section specifically for independent contractors, freelancers, etc so we can help each other out.
       
    4. Strider

      Strider Member

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      I find that establishing a good reputation with design houses in my area has been the best step for establishing a fun set of projects to work on. I've had a great mix from tooling design to product design, I've traveled to several states in the USA, and even to Germany. I've got great mentors too.
       
    5. Matt Coughlin

      Matt Coughlin Active Member

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      Makes sense. Thanks for the tip. I've had a little success with Elance, basically taking small jobs to get my foot in the door. The problem of course it that most jobs posted are tiny projects for individuals, competing against people who are willing to work for $4 per hour. But, I've got a couple decent regulars through elance.
       
    6. srdfmc

      srdfmc Well-Known Member

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      Hello Strider,

      I have been working as an Independent since 2010. Experience so far have shown that there is no real trend in the business. Be ready for anything... anywhere. I have myself focused on two axis: short time to warm-up (being reactive and adaptable) and using high technology in design (CAD CAE FEA CFD).

      If you just got out of a position in a big company, keep in mind that it's important to keep a network of "active" professionals like manufacturer, supplier, experts or decision makers to get around extra-delay when you are involved in a difficult project of your own.

      Sadly, quality is fairly fluctuating in this business and fairly seldom rewarded. You'll be tendering on par with ppl working with fairly primitive technology to say the least. This can be discouraging.

      So it's better to have a firm idea of why you are doing so and keep the focus.

      An other important point: keep yourself acute with your own knowledge basis and the sciences environment (the forum is a good point where to start looking ;) ). What ppl will be expecting most from you (at a higher level) is to put bridges from different source of knowledge.

      Have a look here to see the variety of design projects in my portfolio. Design being only one part of my activity!

      [​IMG]


      My two cents only

      Regards,

      Serge
       
      Last edited: May 30, 2014

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