The United States government is the largest procurer of outside vendors in the world. And they hire freelance writers! Just think of it as another potential major corporate client. Except this client has multi-year freelance writing jobs.
What kind of projects are they? It depends on the government entity that’s doing the hiring. Remember, size matters. You can get small jobs with small governments, like a city or county. You might find larger contracts with state governments. But I look to national entities for jobs that don’t require repetitive bidding. That’s the whole point to market-less marketing. Finding clients that keep on giving.
You might get a five-year contract to develop a library of educational materials at $50,000 a year. Or perhaps a three-year contract budgeted at $710,000 for four full-time writers (about $60,000 a year each) to develop much more than just a single library. These are real examples, by the way. Land one of these and you won’t have to worry about finding work for a long time.
Now check out the qualifications needed for the three-year contract:
- At least five years writing about consumer financial issues
- At least five years of professional writing and/or editing experience (I suppose this can be the same five years as above)
- Working knowledge and experience with The Associated Press (AP) style guide
- Able to write for various media formats
Look at the first bullet and the fourth bullet. Do you see how having a writing niche while being a media generalists makes corporate freelancers perfect for jobs such as these? (Read Chapter 3 if you haven’t already.)
It’s a simple process – NOT!
Here’s how to become a government contractor:
- Create a profile on the System for Award Management (SAM) at http://www.sam.gov.
- Log in at FedBizOps website (fbo.gov) to find a job that fits your skills.
- Send in your bid.
- <snap!> You’re a government contractor!
Okay, I lie. The process, in theory, is that simple. In reality, there are many, many hoops to jump through along the way and it can take months – even years before you land your first contract. But it’s far worth the effort, so don’t let me deter you from trying.
For best results, let an expert help you. Contact your local Small Business Administration (SBA) and ask to be connected with the person or department that helps businesses get set up for government contracting. They actually have folks who do nothing by help in this area, so you can be sure you’ll get an expert. And best of all, their service is free.
They can help you with all three steps:
- Create your SAM profile.
- Find jobs that fit your niche and experience.
- Create a proposal for your bid.
They won’t do the work for you, but they will break the process down into bite sized chunks to make it much less daunting for you. They can also clarify any confusing aspects of the process — a process, which, by the way, was written by someone vastly in need of your help. It won’t be easy to understand without a knowledgeable person to help you.
Warning: Once you create a profile in SAM, you’ll get an onslaught of advertisements from organizations who claim they can help you get government jobs. Some will offer (for a fee) to put you on their search list, claiming governments use that list to hire vendors. IGNORE THEM! IT’S NOT TRUE! RUN FAST IN THE OTHER DIRECTION! And be wary of any website boasting government jobs where the website URL doesn’t end in .gov. You do not need to pay for help getting government contracts; the SBA will help you for free.