You start a new contract as the outsider, and everybody (who doesn’t already know you) treats you with suspicion. My plan for a new contract is always to produce something tangible in the first week. It could be a neat way to solve a problem, a simple explanation to a problem experienced by several colleagues, or a new report/data set/macro.
After that you may be asked for your advice, and you should work hard to give it as simply as possible. Then you get asked more questions, which develop into trust. It never happens overnight, but a freelance contractor is a resource to be valued and used!
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To fulfill any need for confidential correspondence you may have seen a recent addition to the blog menu. The Premium SAS help desk service, called [sas.answers @ Holland Numerics] (which has actually been around since 2002), is different. It does not require even Free membership of the blog, but it does require a separate subscription payable using PayPal. What makes this service special is that it provides an in-house web-based interface for you to ask questions, which automatically generates an SMS message and an email to Holland Numerics, with a copy of the email sent back to you too. There is also a service level agreement to provide an answer to every question within 48 hours, and that answer will be privately sent directly back to the sending subscriber! Please note that, if a monthly subscription is not necessary, then a single question can be asked instead for a reduced fee.
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