In part one we covered why you would want to work for an agency, what agencies are looking for in contractors, and how to exceed their expectations. But one major question still begs to be answered – how do you find agencies looking for contractors?
Before we go into how to find agencies, we briefly covered what agencies look for in a contractor in the last issue. To reiterate, you’ll want to make sure your LinkedIn profile or resume is up to date, that your portfolio shows your absolute best work, and that you at least have a website with basic profile, services and contact information (check out About.me for a great way to create a one-page website for your profile).
Now, there are two types of agencies you will want to look for – agencies that need help /now/ and agencies that are just on the lookout for good talent. Agencies that need a contractor for a current project may seem more appealing but getting on the list of qualified resources with several companies can bring in a steady stream of ongoing work.
Agencies Looking for Contractors
When agencies like ours have projects that they need help with, they often turn to outsourcing websites such as oDesk and eLance. You can register and create a contractor profile on these websites for free.
Many agencies also post projects on job boards such as Authentic Jobs (for designers), Stack Overflow (programmers and web developers) and LinkedIn (all types of contractors). Many of these jobs are listed as temporary or part-time. We’ve used all of these services in the past, and I often see other agencies posting projects to them as well.
Agencies that Need Your Services
You can also target agencies that may not be actively searching for a contractor in your field. This is my preference, actually, because it can get you to the top of the list of resources so when a project comes up, there is no need to even post it to one of the websites listed above.
How do you find agencies that may need your services? They’re everywhere. You can do a simple Google search for “interactive agencies” or “web design companies” and you’ll find thousands of them. I don’t recommend simply spamming them all, but there are ways that you can get in front of them.
Follow them on Twitter. Like their company Facebook page. Add them to your network on LinkedIn. Introduce yourself and start a dialog. Don’t spam, just be yourself and be honest. After a brief dialog, you might ask if you can send your portfolio.