Here I Go Again On My Own.
No, not the lyrics to the 1982 Whitesnake classic...Some observations from going out alone.
My consultancy has been live and kicking for 11 months now and I'm learning all the time - I thought I'd share some observations.
Productise what you have as much as possible - not all solutions are bespoke, nor do they need to be.
Move away from day rates into projects as quickly as possible.
Differentiate your offering, you’re probably not a consultant more a hired gun - establish your niche.
Develop your high ticket item offering which will be a function of your niche.
Learn quickly what VAT really means - you can get quite a lot of VATable outgoings back!
Learn as much as you can - in the last 12 months I’ve qualified from a course at Oxford University and started an MBA, if you pick the right things your learning can be immediately applied and add value to your offering.
Focus meetings into a specific day so you can spend longer periods of consecutive time delivering on what has been asked for. I use Mondays and Tuesdays for meetings wherever possible, and spend the rest of the week focusing on deliverables.
Don’t accept “skin in the game deals” - unless they are upside, they’re open to interpretation. Be clear on KPIs from the start.
You need to market yourself - “Build it and they will come” isn’t the case any more, get your site right, advertise on google and LinkedIn and be visible (and audible - I’ve recorded a series of podcasts).
Put 20% of your time aside for business development.
Listen to advice you’re given, and more importantly feedback - ask for lots of it.
Put everything you have in the cloud and make it accessible from wherever you may be.
Build a network of people in exactly the same boat, contemporary advice is as good as veteran (and both perspectives are important).
Put aside a day a month to do invoicing (creating and chasing), expenses, tax accrual and relevant payments.
Get an accountant for your year end - most of the day to day accounting you can do yourself
Keep simple, clear agreements and manage scope-creep.
Stay positive, there is opportunity (and good-will) everywhere.
Go to the gym, you need a release, I never thought i’d say this, but i’m now ready for a half marathon this weekend!
You need the support of your family, make sure they understand what you’re doing - they are vested in this too.
You need an independent and neutral sounding board - a coach, a mentor or a counsellor.
Follow up on everything!
Do the right thing.
It is generally a great experience but that said there are some annoyances (that you can mitigate for a bit)
The most annoying thing is being ghosted - being asked to write proposals that you never hear back from. Its rude, but it happens, you’re going to have to deal with it! Just make sure its not too often!
If you come in for meetings that cancel on the day, it is infuriating, but you always have admin to catch up on or you could write something…
Invoice chasing is annoying, but worse are the excuses. learn from this and pay anyone who supplies you on time. Prompt payment goes a really long way!
Thanks for taking the time to read