Solo Agents Needed
I have a large stack of things to blog and that I should be blogging, but I have been a wee bit piled on with work and bouncing office space. This will be one of a few quick post to get some things out there that really need to be surfaced.
Agent to Solos
I was chatting with Stephanie Booth at SXSWi about the ups and downs of being a solo (freelancer) consultant or other non-developer. One of the struggles is the sales process (selling, negotiating, closing, and getting the money in) and I stated what we really need is an agent for this type of work. Steph has written this up in her blog post, Marketers and Salespeople: Agents for Freelancers.
One of the things I have learned is I really love my book agent, who found the best deal and best environment for me to write my book ("Coming to Terms: Understanding Folksonomy" due out in the late Fall 2008). He negotiated, got the contract, and is dealing with the money side of things (as well as bumps along the way). When I went through that process it was relatively painless (with the exception of dealing with on publishing firm, who I am deeply happy I did not write for, but the pain was mostly not mine (other than the huge delay)). At the time I thought my business life needs this, but the thought faded.
I am finding that much of my time is spent pitching (I rather like pitching), meeting, and working to get to contracts/agreements. When this is done it is doing the actual work (I normally work in sets of brief engagements) and invoicing. This is relatively enjoyable. Getting organizations to pay or going through mediaeval payment paperwork processes is not a joy. The book keeping is not a joy either.
I know these types of services much be around as there are book agents, speaking agents, and agents for other types of work. This is not people trying to connect me with opportunities (if you know of opportunities where I can help I am always willing to engage in that conversation) as the font end marketing and sales leads I have avenues that are finally working well for that who understand what I do and where my service provide strong value for organizations considering social web/computing tools, improving the value their current tools and services provide, or working with vendors to identify the value gaps and greatly improve their products. I need a closer and billing service all working for a percentage of what they close (I know of very few people who will sign with exclusive services).
Go read Steph's piece and leave comments there or drop me an e-mail (see connect above).