As a freelancer, you are always looking for new work, and what better place to find some than with an RFP? But RFPs are frequently directed towards contractors that the company has worked with before, and not open to newcomers.
So where do you go to get in on the RFP process? Where do you find an RFP?
The first move of a company that is looking for new and interesting consultants and freelancers is to put their RFP on their website to make it accessible to anyone that hears by word of mouth or other means. If you know of companies that frequently post RFPs or get a lead from a fellow consultant, go check out their website first. Then you know you are getting the information right from the source.
You can also try keyword searches to find RFPs that are specific to your area of expertise or submitted by a company near where you work.
Many private and public companies that release RFPs frequently pay to have their proposals uploaded to a database such as Merx or Biddingo. These databases are designed to help companies find contractors to meet their needs. As a contractor, you can also sign up to browse current opportunities or to get notified when a contract that meets your specifications arises.
Attend an Informational Meeting.
Some companies will host an informational meeting to talk about the contract, explain what they are looking for, and meet potential candidates for the work. This is an excellent way to get face to face with those responsible for managing the contract and get a good idea of whether or not you will like the work, the company, and the people you would be working with, in addition to being able to set your best foot forward by making a positive first impression.
Contact the Company.
If you have worked for a specific company before, but can't find any information about any recent RFPs, your best bet is to contact them directly. No doubt if they liked the work that you did, they will have you at the top of their list for future jobs. You can also cold call a company to find out if they have released any recent RFPs.
Ask Your Friends.
A lot can be said for simple, straight forward networking. If you let the people in your network know you are looking for RFPs, you never know who might have one at their fingertips. Announce it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, or schedule lunches or drinks with friends from your past jobs. This strategy allows you to not only find RFPs you may not have discovered on your own, but it also gives you the in of knowing someone who is involved.
Get Started Today.
The number one key to finding requests for proposals is to start looking today. Set up alerts on databases, search engines, or RSS feeds. Browse the internet for companies that frequently post RFPs. Go to informational meetings, network with those around you, and don't stop working. With a little bit of effort and a little bit of time, you can find and win the perfect proposal for you.