I have been self employed since 1970.
In 1980 I entered the technology industry almost by accident.
I was blessed to be in the right place, at the right time in California.
My job was in the Air Force as an aircrew member.
When we where not flying, we where not allowed to work anyplace else on base, so...
I started my own computer business. It took off like crazy.
The Internet as you know it today was only being used by the government and us in the military, but we where all communicating with an oddity called the bulletin board systems (BBS) (computer to computer using the phone lines and a modem and custom software written by ME)
I took an Atari 400 a few floppy disk drives and 300 baud modem and wrote a BBS...
The EGORE Sanction, which later grew into the Solano Atari(C) Network with several other computers.
Soon, we have 10,50,100,1000,5000+ users and my desk was getting too small for all the floppy drives and paperwork for all the orders... I would drive to silicon valley every weekend and load up...
I was selling Atari and commodore and IBM clones and any other device that people would ask for, burning eeproms making modified (happy) floppy drives designing memory modifications and custom OS chips and selling them... etc.etc.etc.
It got real crazy real fast with orders coming from all over the world, over my phone line at 300, then 1200 then 2400 baud and eventually 3600 baud... 56k eventually....
Eventually My military training included cross agency training and joint task force training , network training languages, communications, intelligence, and advanced technologies. I went to school for medicine then drama, then computers then engineering then political science and then business..
I amassed hours and hours of technical training and so many certificates and diplomas I eventually took them all down and put them in boxes and stored them rather than have to explain them all and put up with all the "you think your so smart "huh remarks..
When I retired from the Air Force in 1997 something became painfully obvious to me.
I did not fit in with the civilian work force.
They all seemed too slow and lazy and dirty to me??
Don't take this wrong, I was in for 25 years and had become used to a well oiled well disciplined highly trained team of experts and dealing with long haired bearded people that seemed to find more reasons to get out of work instead of how to get the job done better and faster and cheaper, kind of blew my mind..
I went on several job interviews, sat and waited for hours, sat in chairs being asked seemingly unrelated stupid questions by really young people with what seemed like bad attitudes , went on interview after interview and kept getting the your overqualified speech so many times...
I did a few part time jobs at nite as a D.J. and did a lot of community theater... Amway (LOL) But I needed to WORK I had started a small custom made computer company while I was still in the air force hoping my son would run it after high school. I eventually added a Sylvan Prometric training facility and Lasergrade Testing site to it.
So; I opened one, then two, then three, then four businesses to fill whatever niches needed filling.
The onslaught of so many computer sales companies like best buy and CompUsa put my custom made computer company out of business.
I could not compete with their bulk buying power. I still made them for government agencies due to my knowledge of their specific needs, but eventually stopped doing those as well.
Ironically, we ventured into on site computer warranty services as authorized service providers servicing the computers for the companies that put my company out of business and did on site warranty support in 6 states for a few years... And we still have the companies that do that calling us on a monthly bases asking for Techs nation wide. I did 7 a day and made OK money as did my wife at the time and several of our techs
I personalty don't do many of them I prefer servers and point of sale now on large scale like Walmart..
I eventually sold the training and testing centers to the junior college after my Divorce.
I eventually took all the clients that I was billing directly and got them to start using portals to route me work
Portals are owned and operated by some of my old Friends in the industry that also got tired of not getting paid correctly so they started a clearing house type of company that stands to mediate between us and the buyers ( people that needs us)
Now, we have about 60 buyers world wide using 15 portals to route us contracts for almost 100 of their corporate clients and millions of individuals. We currently have 12 techs/engineers in 2 states working part time as sub contractors for us and me working full time. I would like more, but I am very picky who we add...
The good news: we work the hours we chose, the days we chose, take vacation when we chose, go to all the events we chose etc...
The bad news, if you don't work , you don't make money...
Payments are sporadic for some contracts and clock work for others...
Payments can be as fast as one hour and as long as 45 day net ( net means 45 days after they accept the deliverable items after you complete the contract)
Not everyone can be a sub contractor.
If you cant wait, don't try this.
Patience is a necessity...
If you expect to get paid tomorrow, your barking up the wrong tree..
If you started a new 9-5 JOB today; it would be three weeks before your first check.
That check would most likely only be for one or two weeks pay and then you would get paid every two weeks or once a month.. And that check would have taxes taken out etc... and you can get laid off for no reason and fired as well..
As a sub contractor you cant get fired, you just don't get routed any more contracts and the buyers black ball you if you get out hand...
Every time you agree to do a work order you are signing another contract... each contract is separate...
I TRY to pay my contractors once a week when the banks and the portals and the buyers allow it.
I have to wait for the buyers to approve it, deposit it into the portal, request the portal transfer it into my bank account, then my bank has to clear it so I can pay it.. If it is a check, it has to clear first...
If it is an out of state bank and the first time is was deposited it can take up to 10 business days to clear.
Sometimes my sub contractors don't understand it takes time...
I used to just pay then and then wait for it to clear, but these days in this economy that could be a bad idea especially when we have our bills we have to pay as well and recently we had a few declare bankruptcy meaning I did not get paid ANYTHING for hose contracts, so I am out the 20k that i paid out to the Techs.
So now I don't pay until the Saturday after the Friday that the money clears... I usually pay with PayPal, but company checks are an option as well. My wife I pay simply buy transferring money into her bank of America account. I can do this for any other bank of America account as well. Most contractors re 1099.
This means we do NOT take out any taxes or insurance etc... No workers comp...
Texas contractors are offered the choice to become employees after 6 months probation if they sign an agreement.. This affords them the choice to pay tax and have workers comp and life and health insurance a well as liability insurance under the company umbrella.
We always need more techs and field engineers nationwide.
But I warn you, if you think you want to make 30,40 and more an hour plus travel and work your hours and your days, you better have some money stuck aside Or have a few private clients in your home town that pay you a monthly retainer to maintain their equipment like we do.
One of my guys just showed up for a job the other day, the site was not ready, and he got paid the 120 fee even though he did not do anything so..there are perks.. But then there are days we bod a fee expecting to be 2 hours and it takes 12.... It is a learning experience...
You can make 3,4,5,6,$700 or more a day doing this work. ( the most I have made in a day doing this was $1500.00 for four days straight)
You have to manage your time and travel and maintain your vehicle and your health.
You can NOT call in sick, you can NOT continuously be late and you MUST follow the dress code and the code of conduct while on the sites these contracts send you on.
If you are interested in becoming a contractor/sub contractor shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you...