I landed on a piece by Richard Watson of Bridgehill Learning Solutions called, "Freelancer Tips: Everything You Need to Know about Responding to RFPs." It sounded quite promising until I got to the comments.
Nancy Woinoski of Pinched Head (Hi, Kevin McDonald) wrote: I don't actively pursue RFPs and have decided not to bid on them when invited. For the most part, I find that the elearning RFPs lack enough information to make a proper bid or they ask you to jump through hoops just to get to an interview stage.
Richard chimed in: I often receive requests to submit RFPs from vendors who have found me either here in the Elearning Heroes forums or via my social media presence. Many times, as Nancy states, the RFPs are very limited in the information they provide... I have been approached to bid on government and academic projects (via my contact form on my website) but sometimes, the hoops you have to jump through may not be worth the time you'll need to invest in them... Some agencies must issue RFPs as a formality. In other words, they've already chosen a contractor. So, make sure you do some research on the company issuing the RFP to see what type of track record they have in place.
And that's from the author! Tracy Caroll added: I used to ask for clarification, to see if it would be possible for them to provide further (basic) information, but I've found that to be a huge waste of time.
To which Richard replied: Yes, the world of RFPs is not for those of us who value their time and patience (highlight mine). I know I've invested my fair share of time on some projects only for the vendor to cancel them and retract the bid.
Richard also says that the average indie ID may be better off subcontracting from a big firm that applies for RFPs, which is what I've been doing all along. I've seen some of their proposals after the fact and often wondered at how they got the job when they were so vague and salesy. But, I guess that's what wins projects when the client doesn't really know what they want. The details are worked out once the job is awarded--a scary prospect when you have to include a quote.
How do you get eLearning projects? Do you bid on RFPs, and if so, where do you find them?
Let's make this interactive: comment away!
P.S. Further research (i.e., Nancy's website) shows that being an Elearning Heroes contributor is another way for clients to find you. Hmm, maybe they can use a cartoon...
P.P.S. And lo and behold, Richard has a book, “Marketing Yourself and Finding Great Clients”. The free preview (yes, I'm too cheap to spend five bucks) shows a lot of emphasis on branding and getting yourself out there on social media, such as tweet-sharing 2 to 5 times a day. But you know, if I wanted to be a salesperson I could have made more money in real estate..
Sigh. Sometimes I miss the 20th century.