Monday, April 24, 2017

LinkedIn: "How To Start Consulting On The Side"

This was an interesting article I found on LinkedIn, and I wanted to bring it to your attention. Liz Ryan gives nuggets of encouragement throughout the article.

It's a good read, but not the blueprint we could expect from the title.

How To Start Consulting On The Side by Liz Ryan

Liz started her article saying "If every new consultant had to earn their living consulting the minute they started, no one would ever become a consultant! The leap would be too scary."

Amen! She went on to say: "Most working people get spooked at the idea of running their own business. That makes sense, because most of us haven't run a business before. They have burning questions like these:
  • How will I get clients?
  • How will I plan and execute my consulting projects?
  • How will I build my name as a consultant so that work keeps coming in?
  • How will I incorporate my consulting business? How will I handle billing and other back-office issues?
When you start your consulting business on a part-time basis, you can work out these issues early and put them to bed quickly." Great point!

Unfortunately, Ms Ryan doesn't explore the questions she attributes to budding consultants. Perhaps they are subjects for future articles. Or past articles. Anyway, not here.

She does lay out the beginnings of your path forward. The first two recommendations she shows are key to ANY business venture, whether it is beginning a consulting business or a opening a brick-and-mortar store.
  • What services (products) will you offer?
  • Which people and organizations might need what you're offering? (And more specifically "What kind of Business Pain can I relieve for my consulting clients?")
I particularly liked her examples for a quick self-introduction, which in my own SCORE world is the 30-second "elevator" pitch. Take a peek!

Some of the comments from LinkedIn readers were interesting, too. Here are some of them:

Aleksandr Namai wrote: "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently." [Rick: Awwww...]

Aleksandar Sandev: "Fascinating! I would add a step 0: start consulting in your spare time for free. You will get a hands-on experience and you will learn to communicate better..." [Rick: This begins to answer the question "How much do I charge?" which wasn't raised in her article.]

Larry Clements: "...Liz you are at the forefront of a new era of focusing on people and not metrics. Keep it up..." [Rick: this was an interesting perspective of her article.]

Ramon Vidal: "...Agree with you that if you want to swim, have a look first into the swimming pool. Maybe there [is] not enough water..." [Rick: This is why part-time consulting is a good beginning.]

Hugh Reid: "This part time consulting approach should be part of a mandatory entrepreneurship course at both college and high school." [Rick: I, too, believe that teenagers should be exposed to the benefits and risks of beginning their own business. I never directly participated in Junior Achievement, mostly because I didn't hear about it until after I left school. Is JA still around?]

Hossein Pirzad warned "Most of the companies have strict policies against or even full ban on any second source of income for their full-time staff." [Rick: Yes, Check with your own HR department. Several other comments pointed out the perception and opportunity for conflict of interest,]

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