December 2019
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TD Magazine

So, You Say You Want to Be a Subcontractor

Monday, December 2, 2019

December 2019 TD at Work Cover


Even if you’re a long-time contractor, here’s what you need to know.

At one time or another in your talent development career, you may have considered going the route of independent contractor. A part of that portfolio may entail working as a subcontractor. In “The Ins and Outs of Subcontracting,” Howard Prager, Joe Willmore, Rebecca Boyle, and Rick Hicks offer advice to TD professionals contemplating a subcontracting gig.

Network. While subcontractors themselves don’t have to necessarily find clients, they do have to make themselves known to contractors. Staying active in associations can help a TD professional stay visible.

Keep skills up-to-date. TD professionals are well-aware of the short shelf life of skills in today’s fast-moving world, and that includes their own skills. Workshops, seminars, webinars, and reading are all helpful ways to stay atop trends and platforms.

Work with multiple contractors. While ethics can be a tricky road to navigate for subcontractors, it’s OK to work with multiple contractors. However choose ones that don’t compete with each other.


Learn as much about the industry as possible. Understanding the industry in which they’re working can help subcontractors do great work and help them best represent the contractor. And that can mean repeat business.

Finally, the authors counsel that being available, flexible, and persistent are key to engendering success as a TD subcontractor.

These tips were adapted from the December 2019 issue of TD at Work. Learn more at

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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