Author Topic: Mustacian Self-employed consultants, how do you do it?  (Read 1040 times)

ditheca

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Mustacian Self-employed consultants, how do you do it?
« on: September 04, 2017, 05:09:03 PM »
I'm happily employed as an IT manager at for a small consulting company, but on the side I'm volunteering at a local church by teaching a course on entrepreneurship.  I've got tons of experience in automation, powershell, group policy, web and mobile app development, but I haven't done much actual work for clients.  I'd love to hear your thoughts about some of the following questions:

How do you find clients?

Is your location relevant to your consulting work?

How do you decide how to price your work?  I briefly freelanced for $50/hr and had more work than I wanted, but when I raised my rates I couldn't find any.

Does anyone bill by project rather than by hour?  How do you justify the bottom line?  How do you handle scope creep?

What are some of the keys to your success?  Biggest headaches?

If you had to start over, would you do it again? (Is it better than working for a corporation?)

Finally, if anyone is willing to share some or all of their standard contract, we'd like to see it.

Thanks!

MidWestLove

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Re: Mustacian Self-employed consultants, how do you do it?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2017, 08:17:45 PM »
"How do you find clients?"

- build partnerships
- work with key recruiting agents/agencies for visibility into needs
- marketing.

"Is your location relevant to your consulting work?"

no one cares where you live, what matters is whether you can be there at kick off , at delivery, and sometimes in between.. beyond  it , results matter more than pure face time.

"How do you decide how to price your work?  I briefly freelanced for $50/hr and had more work than I wanted, but when I raised my rates I couldn't find any."
your market determines this. $50 is very low for anything corp-to-corp, never seen such rates. you probably would not get away charging more than Microsoft rack rates ($260/hr ) but half that is
a low corp-to-corp rate. Now , what would matter is who's "paper" (contract ) it is - whether you take the risk and liability or you subcontract. if you a sub, your rate is probably around 100 plus minus market needs and skillset availability.

"Does anyone bill by project rather than by hour?  How do you justify the bottom line?" 
rarely if ever - only if the project is very easy to describe and deliverable is very well known.

" How do you handle scope creep?"
Executing change amendment, updating work orders , etc.  scope creep is not an issue (the opposite, it is an opportunity and is expected since you do not know what you do not know, plus needs change). what is an issue is desire to accept/execute it without adjusting work order requests which is never done in any normal business relationships. 

"What are some of the keys to your success?  Biggest headaches?"
headaches - internal politics.

"If you had to start over, would you do it again? (Is it better than working for a corporation?)"
you ARE an corporation, whether you want to see yourself as one and whether you formally incorporate or not.

what matters is doing cool (and hard) things with very smart people working in team. Whether it is your team working on a 'gig' or your team within larger corp working on its interests, it is still the same thing with same needs, priorities, work ,etc. 


"Finally, if anyone is willing to share some or all of their standard contract, we'd like to see it."
that depends on your state and is fairly standard business contract.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Mustacian Self-employed consultants, how do you do it?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2017, 08:19:49 PM »
I highly recommend the books "Million Dollar Launch", "Million Dollar Consulting" (Both by Alan Weiss) and "SPIN Selling". Won't answer specific questions because I keep my DH's work details off the forum, but if you would like more info, feel free to PM.

ditheca

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Re: Mustacian Self-employed consultants, how do you do it?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2017, 11:59:47 AM »
Excellent answers MidWestlove!

I've been looking online to see if I can find anyone offering a similar skillset.  There's a ton of wordpress 'engineers' that market themselves as full stack developers, but I couldn't find any individuals who really jumped out at me.  The first developer who won the SEO lottery (I found his site) had a ton of broken links. 

I think you're right, it is probably better to incorporate rather than to just be another guy in an ocean of questionable talent.

Quick question on the 'fairly standard business contract': if you're working with someone out of state, would you still use the same contract?

@Bracken_Joy

Thanks for the reading list!