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School Me on Consulting

Old 01-09-2017, 02:05 PM
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All,

I've worked in software development, business, and project management for 10 years. I do some side work which is spotty but very lucrative when it comes.

I would like to do this on a more regular basis and focus on software based process improvement. (Data processes, workflow systems, etc).

I am NOT good at business development. On the rare occasion I can get a qualified lead, I can usually close it. Getting the leads is my issue. I am open to all thoughts and ideas.

Thanks!
Andy
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:11 PM
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Network, network, network. This day and age its all about the relationship. Cold calling produces next to no results, advertising is in the same boat. I see our reps at work in action. "can you introduce me to so and so", "Hey can I take you and your buddies that work at other companies out to dinner". Its like a family tree. Everyone is connected to everyone somehow because all of the clients were referred in by an existing client or an introduction made by them. Its an art but they have mastered working the room.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:26 PM
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Plenty of IT recruiters out there, reach out.

Even if not a pure IT recruiter, large recruiters will recruit IT folks.

Ask around.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:27 PM
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This. I have never advertised or asked for work. Someone I know knows someone who has a problem, and it goes from there.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:28 PM
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I got a project cuz I went out partying with some peeps from high school days, one girl's boss had a problem with their development, so I came in.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:35 PM
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seeking consulting about consulting.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by andycfi View Post
All,

I've worked in software development, business, and project management for 10 years. I do some side work which is spotty but very lucrative when it comes.

I would like to do this on a more regular basis and focus on software based process improvement. (Data processes, workflow systems, etc).

I am NOT good at business development. On the rare occasion I can get a qualified lead, I can usually close it. Getting the leads is my issue. I am open to all thoughts and ideas.

Thanks!
Andy
What type of software development are we talking here? If you're just looking for $50/hr wordpress setup and editing, that's pretty easy to find, but as the tools are getting better the number of people who need those skills are reducing. In general I've had success lurking open source PHP/MySQL based software forums, answering questions that are fairly easy, and once people ask me anything that I can't do in 15 minutes or so I tell them that's beyond what I can offer on a forum. I'll send a quote to do it for them. Usually those take a bit of time to sink in, they'll attempt stuff on their own and either have success and never talk to me again, or contact me months later after giving up. I did a ton of this in college and it got me through debt free, never having to work retail.

If you're looking for higher end jobs-- building a data warehouse, writing custom applications, helping clients get their software fully unit/integration tested, migrating to a different language, developing software integrations for new systems, etc and want $125-250/hr, that's harder simply because there are fewer decision makers who have the $$$ to throw around. The ways I've found jobs like this is through a previous coworker of mine who opened a development company after he left the company, a previous employer who still hires me to do some of the more difficult software development and uses jr developers for basic stuff, and luckily my father in law is in sales and knows a ton of medium sized businesses. I try to shoot for $75-125/hr, I'll lower my monthly rate if they agree to a minimum monthly retainer.

If you're willing to go at it full time like an old coworker of mine does, start attending community development meetings, show up to Christmas parades, join every relevant meetup you can. You can demand a much higher price point full time, easily $200-250 because you're way more available than someone like myself and that's a huge value to the company you're working for.

I try to keep my average around 10-15 hours a week since I work full time, and never more than two bigger projects in parallel with one another due to the risk of it becoming overwhelming. I won't get rich doing it, but it covers our boat payment, house payment, and my truck plus some other $$$.

The biggest advice I can give you-- remember family first. As a software developer, there will NEVER be a time where you are not the end of the line when it comes to implementing new systems. Even if the 12 month project takes 11 months to get requirements to you, people will still pressure you no matter who's fault it is that the development is delayed. This means you're always going to feel pressure to work extra hours, work nights and weekends, etc to get something done. Force people to plan ahead, and when they don't, remember that "I have family time scheduled" is an absolutely acceptable answer-- if it's not, don't be afraid to lose that kind of client.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:55 PM
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I'm in technical consulting, though it's more automation/integration than pure IT.

Networking, end of story.

Recruiters can help sometimes but it's a numbers game. For every recruiter that has a solid lead with access to the principal you'll have 4 others that are throwing resumes against the wall hoping one will stick. If you get a project it'll pay less than a direct client would, but is sometimes worth taking to get in with the client so you can later pick up projects directly.

If you know someone, even if it's just a mutual acquaintance who will vouch for you, you are way ahead of your competition.

Oh, and keep your rates high enough to be taken seriously. There's plenty of boot camp certificate hacks willing to fight to be the cheapest. You want the premium jobs, not the low end work, so keep your rates in the top third of your field and push the "premium talent isn't cheap" angle. You'll be much happier in the long run and if you have the skills to back up the hype you'll have no problem staying busy.
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by CruiseToFish View Post
I got a project cuz I went out partying with some peeps from high school days, one girl's boss had a problem with their development, so I came in.
Cool story bro.
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:42 PM
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I used to do some LE consulting through a buddy of mine at the DOJ. Best gig I ever got was 4 days in Jekyl Island, GA. One day I got paid to sit around the pool drinking electric lemonade and "answering questions". Ahhh, the good old days.
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Old 01-09-2017, 04:07 PM
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Old 01-09-2017, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by crazybeard View Post
Beautiful!
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:14 PM
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You have to build a reputation.... Work hard and like they say "network".
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by crazybeard View Post

Brilliant
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by OurSomeday View Post
I'm in technical consulting, though it's more automation/integration than pure IT.

Networking, end of story.


If you know someone, even if it's just a mutual acquaintance who will vouch for you, you are way ahead of your competition.

Oh, and keep your rates high enough to be taken seriously. .
This is good advice. And I would say that if you have been working in your field for 10 years, and dont have someone that will hire you, you may not have the right skills.

I got started from linkedining some of my old project contacts.

Plus, you need to figure out what you are selling. I don't really know anyone who wants to buy hours, but I do know a few who are willing to pay nicely for solutions. Once again, if you look at the scope of a project and can't come up with a number, it may not be for you. It's far better to pass on something that you are not a good fit for, that to take it on and struggle. Your good name is really all that you have, and you do not want to damage it.
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Old 01-10-2017, 07:39 AM
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Great advice everyone. I do have a lot of contacts, and I probably just need to start reaching out to them. I'm not really looking for word press type stuff, though I will do it on occasion. From what everyone is saying, it's really about relying on your existing network. I don't think the issue for me is as much of a lack of that as it is my motivation to get out there and start putting the word out.

Like everyone else, it always just seems more fun to go boating, etc. I think I just need to get myself in gear and invest some effort into this.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-10-2017, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jj1987 View Post
What type of software development are we talking here? If you're just looking for $50/hr wordpress setup and editing, that's pretty easy to find, but as the tools are getting better the number of people who need those skills are reducing. In general I've had success lurking open source PHP/MySQL based software forums, answering questions that are fairly easy, and once people ask me anything that I can't do in 15 minutes or so I tell them that's beyond what I can offer on a forum. I'll send a quote to do it for them. Usually those take a bit of time to sink in, they'll attempt stuff on their own and either have success and never talk to me again, or contact me months later after giving up. I did a ton of this in college and it got me through debt free, never having to work retail.

If you're looking for higher end jobs-- building a data warehouse, writing custom applications, helping clients get their software fully unit/integration tested, migrating to a different language, developing software integrations for new systems, etc and want $125-250/hr, that's harder simply because there are fewer decision makers who have the $$$ to throw around. The ways I've found jobs like this is through a previous coworker of mine who opened a development company after he left the company, a previous employer who still hires me to do some of the more difficult software development and uses jr developers for basic stuff, and luckily my father in law is in sales and knows a ton of medium sized businesses. I try to shoot for $75-125/hr, I'll lower my monthly rate if they agree to a minimum monthly retainer.

If you're willing to go at it full time like an old coworker of mine does, start attending community development meetings, show up to Christmas parades, join every relevant meetup you can. You can demand a much higher price point full time, easily $200-250 because you're way more available than someone like myself and that's a huge value to the company you're working for.

I try to keep my average around 10-15 hours a week since I work full time, and never more than two bigger projects in parallel with one another due to the risk of it becoming overwhelming. I won't get rich doing it, but it covers our boat payment, house payment, and my truck plus some other $$$.

The biggest advice I can give you-- remember family first. As a software developer, there will NEVER be a time where you are not the end of the line when it comes to implementing new systems. Even if the 12 month project takes 11 months to get requirements to you, people will still pressure you no matter who's fault it is that the development is delayed. This means you're always going to feel pressure to work extra hours, work nights and weekends, etc to get something done. Force people to plan ahead, and when they don't, remember that "I have family time scheduled" is an absolutely acceptable answer-- if it's not, don't be afraid to lose that kind of client.
Depends on the industry. Try that approach in strategy consulting and you will be quickly unemployed
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Old 01-10-2017, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by andycfi View Post
Great advice everyone. I do have a lot of contacts, and I probably just need to start reaching out to them. I'm not really looking for word press type stuff, though I will do it on occasion. From what everyone is saying, it's really about relying on your existing network. I don't think the issue for me is as much of a lack of that as it is my motivation to get out there and start putting the word out.

Like everyone else, it always just seems more fun to go boating, etc. I think I just need to get myself in gear and invest some effort into this.

Thanks again!

Network, network, network. To that end, everyone left out one keep piece - always have case studies readily available. These should be concise and tell someone what you did, what problem you solved, and most importantly, how much money you saved the firm or how much revenue your work generated.

Networking gets you in the door, case studies with TANGIBLE results closes the deal.

For me, Networking is the hardest part because people generally do not like me, but they can never argue with my results.

Once a perspective client gives you a high level view of the scope of work, your next sentence should always be, "Well for this client I faced a similar challenge and my outcome resulted in .....here let me show you."
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Jersus View Post
Network, network, network. To that end, everyone left out one keep piece - always have case studies readily available. These should be concise and tell someone what you did, what problem you solved, and most importantly, how much money you saved the firm or how much revenue your work generated.

Networking gets you in the door, case studies with TANGIBLE results closes the deal.

For me, Networking is the hardest part because people generally do not like me, but they can never argue with my results.

Once a perspective client gives you a high level view of the scope of work, your next sentence should always be, "Well for this client I faced a similar challenge and my outcome resulted in .....here let me show you."
Great idea on the case studies. I can definitely put something like that together!
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by andycfi View Post
my motivation to get out there and start putting the word out.

Like everyone else, it always just seems more fun to go boating, etc. I think I just need to get myself in gear and invest some effort into this.

Thanks again!

With that attitude you'll be broke before you make any money. Self motivation is something that can't be taught, you either have it or you punch a time clock...
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