Got the contract by email this morning. It's long, and complicated. And... they mistyped my address (better get that fixed). But... it's real. It's in hand. I just have a few items to discuss with them (like whether I might not be able to get paid sooner than December!), then to sign it. Looks like I'll be flying out to meet with the topic lead next month.
I met with an attorney and patent engineer this morning. Good meeting. The engineer has a PhD in the field of study I'm encroaching. He was pretty excited by my efforts. I think I might work with these guys. We'll see. We left it that we'd touch base again in a couple months after I'd gotten cracking on this current project.
In the meantime, I need to dive into this project. Finally FINALLY I'll be getting paid for my research. Now, simply to make something of it!
Well, no, I can't get paid sooner. Yikes! Well, at least state-sponsored health insurance will continue in force, until I have income coming in. I've got a couple months then to research that, as well as retirement benefits and life insurance, etc. There are many, many little details about running a business that we don't always anticipate. I guess that's why most firms have an HR department, eh?
[Hang on, I need to switch hats, okay, "HR here, how may I help you?"]
I suspect I'll be spending a lot of money on accounting and legal consultations. Good thing it's in the budget. Fortunately, I've got some really good small business resources and advisors from state and local agencies.
I spent half of today pouring over parts of the contract, and mostly filling out various forms and documents and questionnaires, and... There's a lot of paperwork involved in government contracting! And half the questions require a significant amount of uncovering before the answer is clear. Hopefully I can finish up and return the signed contract tomorrow, knowing I won't see a dime for about three or four months. At least it's coming. That's good to know.