Three types of 1099 leverage

Leverage is a way to multiply the output of a given amount of force. In physics, it might be a "lever arm" or somthing like a crow bar to pry something open. In finance, leverage is a loan used to magnify the impact of your of cash like a mortgage, which is used to turn your small down payment into a much more valuable home.

In 1099 land, you need to use leverage to ensure you get a good gig for yourself.

There are three core areas of leverage you should focus on:


You need an in-demand skill set to pull it off. Fortunately, the government contracting industry needs lots of different types of skills. For me, that's analytics, and it really just started with Excel Vlookups and pivot tables. Now it's Tableau and data visualization.

You don't need to be the best, but you need to demonstrate a level of proficiency in something. Writing, coding, auditing, program mangement, project management, etc.


If you have skills but no one to share them with, you'll just be doing Excel analysis by yourself at home.

To go 1099, focus on developing relationships with current and potential government clients, contractor program managers, former and present co-workers, and friends.

Don't be sleazy about it, but a friendly e-mail, phone call, coffee meetup, or happy hour goes a long way.


Though you're in the broader government contracting market, by narrowing your focus to a subset of this market, you can improve the likelihood of getting a good 1099 gig.

Because of my clearance, I've been in the intelligence community for nearly 100% of my 1099 career.

But perhaps you have deeper experience with an agency like the Center for Disease Control and should focus on different contracts with that agency. Or maybe you are strong in a particular skill set like workforce planning and just focus on HR departments.

Explore different areas of the market (use your network to help you) and choose one where you have an advantage in some way.

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