Your Government: An Equal Opportunity Client

Kathryn Grill-HoeppelAt this year’s Creative Freelancer Conference in Denver, I met a fellow designer with goals similar to my own—learn better ways to market our design business, meet design peers and walk away with some new inspiration to develop a more robust business.

She was fairly new to the solo designer lifestyle but I did recognize a unique attribute during my dialogue with my new friend — she embodied the same qualities of some of the most successful government contractors I know (see below for the list of those qualities).

Without realizing it, my new friend was running a woman-owned, disabled-owned small business – one of the most difficult small business sourcing concerns to satisfy.

Across the board, all levels of government have difficulty meeting sourcing goals for small businesses, particularly disabled-owned small businesses. That’s the case every year, simply because there just are not very many disabled-owned small businesses out there, much less disabled-owned small business that have the required certifications to bid on government contracts.

After hearing her goals and a few top priorities from her developing business plan, I realized that here was an excellent opportunity to suggest a way of using the hand she was dealt in life to her advantage in business. So I asked if, since she was in the rare position to win set-aside contracts that so few contractors are qualified to even bid on, would she ever consider government contracting; she was all ears!

I passed along several web links and resources that could inform her of the complete picture of government contracting, and to help her decide if this step was really for her – now, or down the road. I’m hopeful that whatever steps she decides to take will be positive ones, and that any contracting efforts to pursue the set-aside work for companies just like hers is well-rewarded.

In case you fit the bill too, here’s what they’re looking for.

  • An awareness of the level and frequency of set-aside contracts specifically for your socio-economic profile;
  • Securing  the required certifications and business designations to be able to participate in competitive bids for set-aside government work;
  • Seeking out subcontracting opportunities with larger organizations to satisfy MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) sourcing goals on high-value contracts;
  • Seeking out subcontracting opportunities with large organizations to enable them to include a broader socio-economic appeal to federal proposal evaluators.

Do you fit the bill? If so, how can your unique personal circumstances help you win set-aside government contracts?

BTW: Even if you’re not disabled, do you wonder if you have what it takes to be a successful freelancer? If so, click here.