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  • #970804
    prawn_86
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    I am always throwing around business ideas in my head, particularly ones that can be started without having to quit the day job (kind of like a risk averse hedge i guess in case things dont work out).

    Have any members here started their own consulting firm? If so what where your experiences? What steps did you take? What would/wouldn’t you do again?

    I know each person/business is different but all experiences help form a bigger picture

    #1046142
    Alan Maddick
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    Network, network and then network some more! We have heaps of consultants accross many industries and occupations and they key is networking and researching opportunities

    #1046143
    yourvirtualboard
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    Happy to share my experience – I started East Coast Consulting from scratch in April 2008 and am now running as a profitable company delivering a reasonable income and lifestyle. During that time I have also met many that went into consulting that have since quit because it is not always easy or glamorous. The first question is what are you going to consult in and is there a need / want for this type of service? What is your experience in this field and how does it compare to others already in the space? Why are you thinking of getting into consulting specifically?

    I agree with Alan, networking is pretty important, mainly to let others know what you are able to offer but it’s also a mutually beneficial process to develop relationships with a select few who are allied to what you do. Also be clear on who you will consult to and how you will get them to use your services. In my case I started with appointment setting, some via a 3rd party and most via my own cold calling efforts. That was the toughest part of getting started – having people believe you are able to offer solutions when you’re really only starting out as a consultant (I have a 30 year track record I used to help me create credibility). Now days 90% of what I do comes in via referral and I also refer a fair bit out.

    Keys to making it work (in my case);
    Clear goals and objectives put into a plan and then monitoring it and making sure I was on track
    • Initially marketing like crazy and developing relationships with allied service providers (spend about 15% of my time marketing now)
    • Delivering value and a little more than I committed to on each assignment , making sure clients are happy with what they are paying for
    • Not taking on assignments where I wasn’t sure I could make the required difference (or work with the people involved)

    #1046144
    Avatar Consulting
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    Starting a business

    HI

    Understand the desire to keep working while starting your business until it works out however, a large commitment on your part is still required to get the business going;

    1. You will need to dedicate extra work hours at home setting your business up
    2. Conducting the research into your business plan will take many hours of your time, without being paid and impacting on your family time
    3. Referals and word of mouth advertising is very important for consultants and this is a slow way to build a business
    4. At some stage the consulting work will impact on your employment as the clients will ring during business hours and expect you to be available to help
    5. A majority of consulting services are required to work in the clients workplace during business hours

    Before you start your business spend some time developing your business plan through good market research.

    #1046145
    prawn_86
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    yourvirtualboard, post: 56457 wrote:
    The first question is what are you going to consult in and is there a need / want for this type of service? What is your experience in this field and how does it compare to others already in the space? Why are you thinking of getting into consulting specifically?

    Thanks for the feedback/help. As i said in my initial post, it’s just an idea at the moment, but i think i may have identified a gap in the market and would be able to leverage from my current job and clients into this possible role. I still need to formulate exactly how it would work, but the seeds of an idea are there.

    #1046146
    prawn_86
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    Re: Starting a business

    Avatar Consulting, post: 56547 wrote:
    HI

    Understand the desire to keep working while starting your business until it works out however, a large commitment on your part is still required to get the business going;

    1. You will need to dedicate extra work hours at home setting your business up
    2. Conducting the research into your business plan will take many hours of your time, without being paid and impacting on your family time
    3. Referals and word of mouth advertising is very important for consultants and this is a slow way to build a business
    4. At some stage the consulting work will impact on your employment as the clients will ring during business hours and expect you to be available to help
    5. A majority of consulting services are required to work in the clients workplace during business hours

    1. No problem. I have spare hours each night, which i currently devote to my websites (hobby), so if i was to go ahead i would have time to spare towards it after hours.
    2. I already work with clients/in the industry i would be looking at starting in, so have good referral leverage there
    3. My role is fairly autonomous, so calls during business hours are fine
    4. Again, no real problem here

    Thanks for the tips

    #1046147
    The Hobbit
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    prawn_86, post: 56386 wrote:
    Have any members here started their own consulting firm? If so what where your experiences? What steps did you take? What would/wouldn’t you do again?

    Consulting is different from other businesses and has many pitfalls that are not obvious. One of our authors has written an easy to follow manual on how to be come a Succussful Consultant, follow this link: How to Become a Successful Consultant in your own field you’ll also find a link to a Free sample of the manual on that page. It could be the best $39.95 spend you ever make. The manual even includes a section on how to set your fee structure.

    If you send me a PM I will email you a sample directly.

    #1046148
    TopLink
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    prawn_86, post: 56560 wrote:
    Thanks for the feedback/help. As i said in my initial post, it’s just an idea at the moment, but i think i may have identified a gap in the market and would be able to leverage from my current job and clients into this possible role. I still need to formulate exactly how it would work, but the seeds of an idea are there.

    Whilst I realise this is an old thread, this caught my eye,

    leverage from my current job and clients

    The courts really frown on employees ‘stealing’ clients :-(

    #1046149
    help4bis.com
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    Yep agree, do not steal clients from your current employer… a big no no if only from an ethics point of view.

    Consultancy… well been there done that :-).

    Networking is key as others have said… Ethics is also very important. I have turned jobs down for that same reason. I do not do bidding and price wars, and for sure do not share commercial confidential info.
    This has attitude has given me more customers than bidding a few 100 bucks below the comp.

    I was lucky enough to be invited to ride the waves in peak times ranging from internet through to mining and beyond, you only get that by reputation and reputation is build upon ethics. (well from my point of view).

    Honesty and transparency are key, you might lose some business in the short term because of it but you gain it back 10fold. (well that happened in my case).

    Step 1:
    Get known in your field as an “authority” write some posts (like i do here) and write some papers if you can.

    Step 2:
    Try to get acknowledgement, recommendation and endorsement for all the jobs you do. Linkedin is a good place to start.

    Step 3:
    Be professional… people say and will say nasty things… see all comments and feedback as an opportunity not as a personal attack.

    What would I do again…..
    Learn to write english properly :-).

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