Consulting is one of the largest work in the universe. If you handle it right, you can live in a special corner of the world you’ve dreamed of, do what you enjoy most, have more free time than you can imagine, and make a good living while you’re at it. But before you quit your job and convert a spare bedroom into the office, you should know a few things
What you should know before you go out on your own
Reality 1:.? If you think working for someone else is unsafe, try to work for you.
Life adviser has lots of peaks and valleys. The most successful consultants will tell you that they have either enough money or enough time, but they rarely have both at the same time. Life is champagne and caviar while you are on a mission, but when the project is completed, it is quickly back to macaroni and cheese
Reality 2: .. You are not going to get rich quick
Yes! We hear about Tom Hopkins, Tony Robins, and Ken Blanchard, who earn $ 20,000 a day, but the collection rate of the average personal trainer is less than $ 100 per hour. If you consider the cost and the number of non-working hours, it turns out that a fairly modest salary. The top 10 percent earn a very good living, but it takes discipline, hard work and a little luck
Reality 3: .. Life is not going to be easy
When you work for a large company , you are judged by your professional expertise. If you know your stuff, your coworkers will look faults. It changes the moment you leave your home common to become a consultant. Of course, potential customers will hire a consultant with the highest level of professional competence, the consultant who usually gets the job is the one who markets the best, has the best connections, and deliver the most compelling presentations.
Reality 4 :. You will starve waiting for the phone to ring
When you leave the safety of your company, you will be amazed at how quickly your co-workers you forget. Some experts are able to negotiate an agreement with her former employer, but it is becoming increasingly rare. States are clamping down on the use of former employees and consultants or contractors because many companies use this as a way to avoid payroll taxes. Many large companies now have policies prohibiting hiring former employees as consultants. If you are expecting to start training by working for a former employer, I recommend that you find out what strategy to use former employees as contractors. Even if your company has a policy against hiring former employees, there is usually a way around it. They can hire you through a temporary agency, though you may earn less.
When you leave the corporate world, where everyone knows who you are, you will be amazed at how invisible you become. On small products division Magnatek, you were a myth. Newcomers were weaned on stories when you worked 30 hours straight to finish INB project and how you saved Sam sniffles’ back of DuPint presentation.
Nevertheless, no one outside the company have heard these wonderful stories. If you want to continue to pay the mortgage and put food on the table, you have to pick up the phone and start to play
Reality 5 “dialing for dollars.” :. Consultants are treated differently
Many companies see consultants as peddlers. Countless other people who say they have education similar ones, have their telephone calls and knocked on their door. Do not expect immediate respect. To make it through the first 90 days, you’re going to have to develop a tough hide
Reality 6: .. You will spend up to 50 percent of your time on non-billable work
When you start a consulting job, you need to spend many hours marketing services and organize your business, you will still need to spend time in the activities when your job there. I do not recommend less than a day each week. Moreover, there will always be bills to pay, fees to collect and struggle with a host of computer problems
Reality 7: .. You only get to keep half the money
Supplies , telephone service, administrative assistants, insurance and computer equipment all cost money.
Basic Rule 1
Every project is different, but a good rule of thumb is that only half of the money you take in will make its way into the pockets
Reality 8 :. . You still have to do stuff you do not like
I hate accounting, but someone has to oversee the CPA. I detest call new possibilities, but I have not found anyone who can market my job as well as I can. If you’re serious about going out on your own, you have to do things you do not like. Here is inverted: You are the boss and the end of the day, you can look yourself in the mirror and know that you built a little more of something that is truly yours
Given these hard realities. Why Be a Consultant?
I sit here on Friday to seek out a tree-lined suburb street and listen to your favorite and familiar song on my iPod. Life does not get much better than this.
I would be the last person to tell you that life consultant is a bowl of cherries, but it sure has its advantages. If you play your cards right, you’ll reap many of the following prizes.
Focus on what you do best and most enjoyable
Despite current thinking, not many people can be considered “þúsundþjalasmiður.” If you are truly talented at one thing, you’re lucky. Becoming a consultant will allow you to focus on what you’re best at and enjoy the most. It could be to develop courses, delivering the training, the authors of computer-based training, or talk about a particular topic, such as guidance and management development. The choice is yours.
As a consultant, you will still have to make the “stuff” you do not like, but only for a small amount of time.
Keep your own hours
Few work best Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm I work best from 8 am to 2 pm The rest is gravy, so I most important work of my morning and leave more routine activities for late afternoon. One of the best things about being a consultant is the ability to keep your own hours. You can work a few extra hours on Saturday morning to make up for some errands you have done less crowded times a week. You can even take a day off to go motorcycle riding in the foothills of the oasis.
With two-career couples today, have flexible hours can be a huge help. Drop the kids off at daycare or picking them up at the end of the day is a lot easier if you do not have to punch a clock. You may even find that when you work for yourself, you have more hours in the day. I live in the suburbs, where most people spend one to two hours commuting to and from work. Most days I work in my home office, so I do not need to be part of the parade stalled cars on the freeway. This gives me a few extra hours every day to run errands or write articles and books.
Many companies allow employees to enjoy some of these benefits by working almost all or part of the time from home, and they enjoy the same benefits. However, I find that in most cases, these employers expect their staff to be at their desks at the office, regardless of where the groups can be. These days, it may be in a hammock on the porch with a laptop with a wireless connection.
Move to the country
For the most part, when you are employed, you need to live where the work is. Consultants have more flexibility. Since you do not need to customers every day, you can live a little further out. If you are good at what you do, you may find that the consultations will allow you to live and work in places like Boulder Colorado or the banks of the Hudson River.
Free yourself from office politics, meaningless memos and meetings
Peter Drucker and Ron Zemke talking about the time lost in corporate America do “stuff” that is not related to customers. This is what I hated most about my stint in the corporate world. This includes conversations in the hallway, employee bonds meeting, policy office memos, “to pump up publicity” and birthday parties. I think this is important in some kind of way, but the best thing about being a consultant and working for yourself is that you no longer need to do this.
On the flip side, the insulation is also the hardest part of being a consultant. I often miss being part of corporate “family.” Many people deal with this by participating in local professional community and make it their professional “home”. Network with other consultants and communication with customers and friends are an important part of being a successful consultant. They will provide you with friendship and bonding people we all need. I enjoy the interaction more than meetings and memos.
When you work for a company, you usually live less than you are. Achievements of the company and needs are more important than their own. As a consultant, you can finally live as big as you want to be. Your accomplishments are their own and needs are those who believe that your company.
Freedom is not without its cost
Sure, it’s good to be informed father and drop the children off at the nursery in the morning. But what about the freedom to spend a Saturday, and sometimes Sunday, tickling the keys of a laptop, or the freedom to pay their cell phone bill? How about the freedom to wake up at 5:30 am to fly to San Jose in client meetings, work all day long, and then returned at 9:30 pm to catch a few winks before a customer meeting first thing in the morning? If it is not so bad, how about the freedom to spend three days not charge the time to write a few suggestions to promote the professional conference? You can also enjoy the freedom to make their own travel needs expenses. How about the final freedom of not knowing when, or where, next stop comes from?
If this sounds to you like the freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose, keep your day job. If you have a strong heart and pure in spirit, if you have faith in who you are and what you do, and if you are willing to put the time in to learn survival skills for the latter as a consultant, you are halfway there.
Access to good health insurance plan
The sale price of health care today, this is not trivial. The best situation is a partner that can hide the health of his or her plan. An affordable COBRA policy from a former employer is your next best option. If all else fails, try to get a policy in professional or Alumni Association.
capacity to accept a little risk
There is not for everyone. If you do not have savings or “angel” this may not be the best time for you to start exercising. If you have any other part of your life takes a lot of time and emotional strength (eg disabled child), for now, counseling many not be for you. If you are married or living with someone, then I seriously talking to him or her about the issues in this section before you quit your day job
Good friends and contacts -. Or lots of guts
You are going to need to get your first clients anywhere. Start from scratch by calling people take a long time. It usually takes nine months to a year from the first time you call new prospects before they become customers. The best first customers are current business associates and network of contacts.
If you are new in town or do not have many contacts, becoming active in a local chapter training professional organization such as the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) or International Society for performance improvement (popsicle).
What Makes a Successful Consultant?
Not everyone is cut out to be a consultant. To be successful in consulting, you are going to need to have, or develop, the following personal characteristics:
instruction. You should be on the table at 8:30 am at the latest, and go at 5:30 in the first place, if you have something to do or not. If you are not billable work to do, add another hour and do something to get to work billable calls, send out mailings, or write a book.
Motivation. No one is going to make you work. You can sleep every day and no one would know unless your family, who will be thrown into the gutter when the bank forecloses on your home.
strength. Customers will not always be nice to you. Some of them may be downright nasty. They also have every right to add your two cents in the project that they are paying for, and they will. You need to have the strength and inner confidence to rise above it, gracious, and, above all, be it in the office where it belongs.
Good instincts of survival. People and surely business, are not always fair. You need to look after you. If you still believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, perhaps you should do a study with other advisor before you go away on its own.
presence. Customers get a first impression of you when you walk through the door. You have to look good! That means dressing well, walk tall, and with the right hand shake. My recommendation is to watch others who are good at it (as professional salespeople and candidates) and change what they do to fit your own style. Spend as much time as you can on your clothes, briefcase, laptop, mobile phone / PDA combo, and pen. People in companies put great emphasis on these things and often judge the professional skills of the accessories. I recommend spending a little more on the image, and a little less on the number of megabytes of RAM in your computer. Sizzle sells!
Congratulations and good luck!
This is an excerpt from Consulting Basics which will be published by the American Society for Training and Development in the spring.