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10 and a Half Traits of Successful IT Contractors

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What are the factors that make a contractor a success? As we’ve worked with IT contractors over the years and helped them through our web site, we put together a list of traits we believe are important to achieve success as an IT contractor.

You may disagree and have some other ideas. I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can contact me at www.ITcontractor.com.

In the meantime, take a look at my list and see how well you score:

1. The Successful IT Contactor can go from job site to job site and adapts well to the different conditions, the different tools, the different culture, and the different ways of working. Those who can’t do this will struggle.

2. The Successful IT Contactor gets along with other people and makes new friends easily, or at least has the ability to easily make new working relationships. He builds a network of clients and co-workers who will hire him or refer work to him.

3. The Successful IT Contactor has a willingness to help other people without judging them or criticizing their mistakes. Contractors have a wealth of knowledge of how things are done at different sites, and it can be very useful for both permanent management and permanent employees to be able to tap into this reservoir of knowledge.

4. The Successful IT Contactor has the ability to know when his advice is wanted and when it is not. Sometimes, or at some sites, they’ll want your advice about how to do things and sometimes they won’t. A successful contractor will be sensitive to this, and not try to force unwanted advice on an unwilling audience. If it is clear that they don’t want your advice, get on with your job or go elsewhere.

5. The Successful IT Contactor is always aware of a potential business at a client’s site. Any problem that the client has is potential new business for the alert contractor. The successful contractor may even have bid successfully to win pieces of work at various sites, e.g. to run part or all of a project, or to maintain an area of the system.

6. The Successful IT Contactor looks for his own work rather than having agencies look for him. That way he has the opportunity to tout for new business without having a restrictive agency clause in his contract, which prevents him approaching the client for new work.

7. The Successful IT Contactor will honor agreements he’s made with agencies. If he doesn’t and gets caught, he could get sued or could get blackballed by all the agencies in town. And they will most likely be working with companies that are willing to skirt agreements, so this hiring company will likely be willing to cheat you if they’ve already cheated your agency.

8. The Successful IT Contactor will have taken his opportunities to pick up extra bits of work from multiple clients over the years, therefore establishing a significant customer base that continues to grow.

9. The Successful IT Contactor will have a database of potential clients, with those he has worked for before near the top of the list. He will have permission to contact those potential clients every so often, say three months or so, and will do so.

10. The Successful IT Contactor will keep potential clients up to date with changing contact information, e.g. address, phone number and email address, so that there is never a situation when the desperately seeking client is unable to contact the IT Contractor because information is outdated.

10. 5 The Successful IT Contactor will have such a good reputation for his work and good rapport with his clients that his various contracts are renewed regularly. He is likely to be contacted again when clients need to have work done on an area of the system where the contractor has expertise.

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Gerry McLaughlin has fulfilled every role in Software Development from Trainee Programmer
through Systems and Business Analysis, Project Leader and Manager, Systems Manager and Chief
Information Officer with a department of 80 people. Tens of thousands of IT Contractors visit
www.ITContractor.com each month to keep themselves in touch with the market.

10 and a Half Traits of Successful IT Contractors
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About Gerry McLaughlin
Gerry McLaughlin has fulfilled every role in Software Development from Trainee Programmer through Systems and Business Analysis, Project Leader and Manager, Systems Manager and Chief Information Officer with a department of 80 people. Tens of thousands of IT Contractors visit www.ITContractor.com each month to keep themselves in touch with the market. WebProNews Writer
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