Go for the big client

Andrew Pilgrim of Electronic Computer Services Inc. in Aventura, Fla., says choosing the right type of clients to pursue is also critical. He suggests going for big game from the beginning.

"We've been fortunate enough to get clients like American Express and John Alden Insurance," he says. "You know these companies won't have a problem paying their bills, and they can hire you on two- and three-year contracts."

Smaller consulting companies may even be more attractive to the big guys, Pilgrim says, because they typically offer better rates. However, Pilgrim warns that realistically, it will take about two years to establish yourself with corporate giants.

In the meantime, Pilgrim suggests protecting yourself by running credit checks on prospective clients to make sure they can pay their bills on time.

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