7 steps to becoming a federal 1099 solo sub-contractor

1. Determine how valuable you are in the government contracting market
    • 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
    3. Pick a method (or multiple methods) to get your first 1099 gig
    • 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
    4. Negotiate terms with the Program Manager (PM)
    • 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
    5. Do the boring administrative stuff
    • Get an LLC, register on SAM.Gov, etc.
    • Fill out the sub-contract paperwork
    • Set up any business websites, e-mails, etc.
    6. Start your first 1099 gig!
    • 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.