7 steps to becoming a federal 1099 solo sub-contractor
- You don't need to be the best in your technical field, but a combination of hard skills, soft skills, client relationships, personality, and maybe a security clearance can make you very valuable.
- At your job, the best way to know this is if you get good feedback from your boss and most importantly, the government client
- Another way to know is if you get lots of inbound calls from recruiters or know you can easily get another job.
2. Determine whether the 1099 solo sub-contractor path is for you
- Figure out why you're doing it. Do you just want more money or do you want more flexibility? Are you tired of company bureaucracy?
- Understand the risk you are taking. Staying in a job is easy. But can you find a new job ever 1-3 years? If you go 1099 you'll have to be deliberate about finding your next project. You might have months without pay. Is the prospect of making 20 to 100% more worth it? I the prospect of Friday's off and 6 weeks of vacations worth it?
- Make sure you have at least three months go living expenses saved
- Convert your current job into a 1099 gig
- Network your way to a 1099 gig
- You can do this a non-sleazy way. Don't cynically use people.
- "Apply online" for 1099 jobs
- You can hijack the process by using the interview process to get to the program manager, the ultimate decision maker
- Know the rates/prices you'll need to get to make it worth it to you
- Set up a conversation with the PM. Use the right language and strategy to convey you are highly valuable to the PM and will make his/her problems go away
- Find a mutually acceptable rate without leaving money on the table
- Get an LLC, register on SAM.Gov, etc.
- Fill out the sub-contract paperwork
- Set up any business websites, e-mails, etc.
- Get a quick win with your client (if new)
- Take advantage of the extra income and potentially time by
- Adding to your savings
- Taking nicer and longer vacations
- Take Fridays off
- Think about ways you can use your autonomy and income to improve your life overall
7. Keep going
- Find your next 1099 gig
- Think about ways to increase your income
- Find projects with a higher rate
- Take on multiple projects using firm-fixed price arbitrage
- Hire employees
Get more in-depth information and strategies from the book: Going 1099: How to become a solo federal sub-contractor and gain control of your working life earn more money and unlock more free time.