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Government Contracting is not a job.

Government Contracting is not an occupation. Although the phrase is used that way by many folks, especially those newer to this industry, it's not a complete descriptor of any substance. In fact, it carries the same value as someone introducing their company as an 8(a). It's an attribute that does not inform as to the skills possessed, or work performed by a company. 

"I want to do Government Contracting" is the phrase I hear echoed over and over by those lured by the promise of business opportunities in exchange for nothing more than showing up, so they think they heard. It's based on the false belief the Government has a pot of money waiting with their name on it. It's based on snake oil concepts like the "middle man theory" where one can go find and win work with the Government and have someone else perform against it while you sit on a beach sipping a fruity libation and submit invoices. This philosophy is forged with complete disregard for small business self-performance requirements, limitations on subcontracting, and the non-manufacturer rule. Just in case you haven't figured this out, the only winners in the middle man universe are those selling the classes and consulting gigs.

Government Contracting is not an occupation. However, it fosters opportunity for professionals from many occupations who bring to bear their knowledge and skills in support of federal agency requirements and objectives. As is the case in any marketplace, you will need to develop understanding in order to achieve traction and results. The disconnect I see very often is the belief Government Contracting is where you come to discover your new capability, as opposed to arriving with established knowledge or skills. If you're trying to discover yourself, test a new product line or new capability, consider starting in commercial or consumer markets. There's too much at stake in the Federal Sector.

If you're genuinely interested in Government Contracting, my advice is to start by asking yourself why. If the answer that comes to mind sounds like:
  •  I'm going to start selling Medical Supplies/Information Technology/Construction/Janitorial Services... but I've never done it before
  •  I heard they HAVE to give me contracts because...
  •  I want to win contracts and sit on the beach and submit invoices
then don't. Just don't.  

Peace, Health, and Success,

Go-To-Guy Timberlake