to the business, and what business functions matter the most to the end customer—the "getting inside the clients head" stuff—and they take time to develop.
A tester with quick attack skills can be strong and can be air-dropped, but one with domain expertise will be far stronger, especially for business technology tied to a specific industry instead of general end-customer technology. That leads me to either creating longer-term alliances with companies (where I will be very valuable and the logical choice to bring back for the next project) or focusing in specific industry slices like health care, banking, and medical devices.
There Are All Kinds of Calls for Testers Beyond Traditional GUIs
You might be surprised at the number of calls I get to test a REST API or a service-oriented system, to do performance testing, or even to help a company with monitoring of production applications. Companies have a hard time filling these slots because so many testers think of and market themselves as hunt-and-peck button pushers. That's an important and valuable service, but as the cloud gains traction, testers with above-average technical chops—or those willing to learn—will provide value by testing the orchestration of services.
The bottom line is that the boutique tester market is larger than I realized at first, because it can expand to cover more things. At the same time, there are more barriers to entry than I initially realized. Can a few high-end providers survive under fire? Ask me again in three years.