Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Stackify Blog, Vaibhaw Pandey, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Wesley Coelho

Blog Feed Post

Is Consulting Right For You? 7 Things to Consider

During a time of transition (forced or otherwise), many of my very successful corporate executive friends ponder the merits of starting a consulting practice. It seems like a logical career path. It may be. But the transition from corporate executive to successful consultant has more to do with self-knowledge than subject matter expertise or skill. If you have been successful in business, you probably have the skills to become a successful consultant. That said, here are seven things to consider before you start your new, new thing.

1. Your Identity

You have been John Smith, EVP, Widgets & Strategic Initiatives for Gigantic Corp. for years. In fact, you did 8 years at Big Corp. before you got your dream job at Gigantic Corp. Your business card has always had a household name on it. Everyone has always immediately returned your phone calls and emails. After all, who in their right mind would not respond to an executive from Gigantic Corp.?

That was then. In your new life, you are going to be John Smith from John Smith Consulting. No one will know what you do or why they should call you back. Your business card will say something like, “John Smith, President, John Smith Consulting.” Even if you make up a cool corporate-sounding name, you are still going to be just some person who is consulting.

This simple fact will have a dramatic impact on your presentation of self in everyday life. You will go from “Jeff … he runs a division of Disney” to “Jeff … he’s a _____ consultant.” You may not think this is going to matter. Trust me – it will make a huge difference. Be sure you’re ready for the psychological change. It can be severe.

2. Getting Work

Just because you’re an expert in doing work does not mean that you are an expert in getting work. These are two very different skills. You’ve had a few jobs in your life and been on a few job interviews. Now, you’re going to be going on a job interview or job interviews every single day. Selling your services will be a constant requirement. Work does not fall from the sky. The world is a very competitive place and people who do what you do spend all of their waking moments thinking about how to take food directly off your table. If you’re not the aggressive sales type, you will need a plan to fill your sales pipeline.

3. When You’re Working You Can’t Be Selling. When You’re Selling You Can’t Be Working

Even if you are an awesome sales person (and most consultants are), there is an immutable law of consulting life: When you’re working you can’t be selling, and when you’re selling you can’t be working. We all live in a time-constrained world, but if you’re building a solo consulting practice, be ready to spend your days selling and your nights working. You’ve never worked harder or longer. And while you have developed expertise managing one boss, you will now be managing many. These are not trivial issues.

If you’re unlucky enough to have a client that wants you on-premises during the day, you’re going to have to learn to manage your sales process. It is very difficult to work 8- to 10-hour days for a client and be an efficient manager of your own sales pipeline. How will it play out? You may be technologically sophisticated enough to handle it, or your career may start to look more like that of a freelancer than a consultant. Not bad, but not ideal.

There are several good solutions to this problem, but they all require you to build a small business infrastructure. Be prepared: consulting is not a job; it’s a business.

4. Lumpy Income vs. Steady Paycheck

One of the biggest shocks for every corporate executive turned consultant is the transition from a steady paycheck to lumpy income. Are you ready to get paid 45 to 90 days after you send a bill? That’s the best of it. Consulting sales cycles can be pretty long. You might go six months without a sale or a job, then do four weeks of work for half a year’s wages. It all comes out in the wash, but it is anything but steady. Do you believe in yourself? Will you have enough confidence in your abilities to keep your head in the game when you just aren’t winning bids or getting paid? Consulting is a rollercoaster. If you don’t like rollercoasters, you might want to consider another line of work.

5. What Specific Problem Do You Solve?

Why does consulting look so easy for some and so difficult for others? Consultants who solve specific problems make it look easy. In a perfect world your prospective client will say, “I need ____. Call Joe!” If your consulting practice solves a specific problem, you will always be on the short list for ____. Get this right and everything else will take care of itself.

Success

In success, you are going to have two soul-searching issues. They are rich people’s problems, but they are worth mentioning.

6. Your First $10,000 Round of Golf

When your consulting fees hit $10,000/day (or any big number; it’s a relative scale), a friend or client is going to ask you to play golf on a Wednesday. This is awesome! Except that Wednesday is a work day and even though you are playing as a guest, the round is going to cost you $10,000. Will you go play or go work? You may think you know your answer right now. Trust me – you don’t!

7. O&OBC

This is an abbreviation for “One and Only Biggest Client.” This is the dream client that books 80 percent of your time and is responsible for 80 percent of your income. Having an O&OBC is the worst possible thing that can happen to you. Don’t let it. Do you have the ability to restrict a client to no more than 20 percent of your income so you can risk-manage your business? Lose your O&OBC and you’re back to square one. Lose a client that represents only 20 percent of your business and it’s another day at the office. You may think you know how you’ll answer this question now. You don’t. Saying no to additional work from a good client is very, very hard. If you want to run a strong, sustainable consulting practice, it’s a requirement.

Hopefully, these seven thought-starters will help you decide if consulting is really for you. Good luck.

The post Is Consulting Right For You? 7 Things to Consider appeared first on Shelly Palmer.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...