Contractors are thought of to specalize in one thing and to only be good at one thing. The path of many contractors is a self-taught one. They teach themselves a particular technology and their value is they know it really, really well. Maybe better than anyone, because it is all they know.
This isn't me.
My path was one of traditional Computer Science education at a university; Northestern University, specifically. There I was a dual major in Computer Science and Information Science, two fields with a large overlap in base knowledge, but different end goals.
In my Computer Science classes I was able to study under amazing professors and learn how to write good software. Contrary to what some say, learning to program is not a craft you can learn in a short period. I spent 5-years working on nothing else and still dedicate much of my time to trying to get better.
In my Information Science classes I was able to learn about interesting real-world and business applications for technollogy like Databases and Human-Computer Interaction. As well as a healthy respect for the information arround us.
If I can list some of my undergraduate accomplishments. During my time at Northeastern I was president of our ACM Chapter, which won international awards four of my five years there. I won the Teaching Award at graduation. This award was likely due to work as a tutor or being part of a small group of students who organized a Computer Programming Summer Camp, that was later taken over by the university, gained funding from Microsoft and spread nation wide. I was one of the founding members of CISters, our student group for women in computer science. I was also able to do some research, one project with a professor as well as some work with the college's volenteer systems group, Crew.
More and more people are turning to self-employment and contracting as they can't find work elsewhere. This, also, is not me. After university, I moved from Boston to San Francisco to work for Adobe. I worked for them for a few years before realizing I was young, single, had plenty of money saved, no debt or mortgage, and when, if not now, was I ever going to see the world? So to the horror of my parents, quit my job and have been contracting since. So far it's pretty wonderful and I'm looking for great clients so I can keep at it.
I love what I do and choose to sacrifice reliability in my work life for flexibility. The whole thing only works if I have great clients to partner with to build great projects. As such, I can assure you that with me, your projects will get finished in a way that makes us both happy and proud. That is because this is my business, it is what I choose to do, not just something to pay the bills before I can find another "real" job.
As mentioned, my motivation for contracting over taking more reliable employment is to travel. I swing between Italy; New Jersey; Boston; and San Francisco somewhat regularly, as well as new places. Go ahead and ask were I am!
For a long-term contract I could come see you in your city, if you like. Or maybe I happen to be where you are. With telephone, video-chat, and email-- working remote is not an obstical unless you make it one.
You may have a bad experiance working with someone remote before. I would bet the problem was either comunication or the contractor not giving you 100%. I only schedule work when I can give it 100%, even if that means not getting the bid. If you are in a rush, go ahead and hire someone who can do it right away, I hope that works out for you. I also make a great effort to keep comunication flowing; both in the begining when we are setting up the contract and throughout finishing the contract for you to reach me anytime.