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Consulting Getting Started

Consulting Getting Started



Overview of key concerns, useful tools and professional conduct.

Overview of key concerns, useful tools and professional conduct.



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    Consulting Getting Started Consulting Getting Started Presentation Transcript

    • Consulting
      Building Your Own Consulting Business
    • Business Organization
    • Sole Proprietorship/Partnership
      Easy and Cheap to Start
      All profits go directly to owner or 50/50 partners
      Complete control
      Unlimited liability
      All NET income taxed as personal income
      Potential loss of tax deductions
      Self employment tax
    • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
      Easy to setup
      Owner(s) have limited liability protection
      Taxed like Sole Proprietorship/Partnership
      Annual paperwork
      Potential for extra state taxes
    • S Corporation
      Owner(s) have limited liability
      No Self Employment Tax
      Salary distribution can be coupled with profit distribution to avoid higher tax rate. “Reasonable Salary”
      Additional Tax advantages
      Significantly more paperwork (legal and accounting)
      More expensive setup
      More complex operation
    • Insurance
    • Errors & Omissions
      Protection from legal action related to poor decisions or bad advice
      Helps cover any award made against you
      Helps cover cost to defend a legal action
      Only good while policy is in effect, legal action in future without a policy means you are not necessarily covered
      Industry standard is $1,000,000 coverage
      Deductible affects the Premium
      AKA Professional Liability Insurance
    • Disability Insurance
      Protects your earning capacity in the event of an accident or fatal illness
      Difficult to obtain for Freelancers/Consultants due to fluctuation in income and lack of supervision
      Workers compensation can be a viable alternative
      Check on how the insurance company defines disability
      Standard coverage would be 60% of NET income
      Waiting period affects the Premium (like Deductible on other policies). Waiting periods usually break down in 30 day increments. 30, 60, 90, 120 or 365 day
      Length of Coverage Period is how long they will pay you while disabled. Standard terms are 1, 2 and 5 years, but longer terms are available. This also affects the premium
      Insurance for You
    • Life Insurance
      Only necessary if you have dependents
      Policy Types
      Term Policies vary widely, but some policies will return all premiums at the end of the Term. This affects the premium, but a great payday if you make it to the end
      Whole Life and Universal Life are not recommended as they are less coverage for a higher premium
      Standard recommendation is 70% of your earning power to provide a minimum of 5-10 years income for your dependents.
      Don’t forget to have a will too
      Insurance for Others
    • Other Insurance
      Auto Policy
      Talk to an agent about coverage differences for a car used for your business in comparison to your personal auto policy.
      Home Office Coverage
      Talk to an agent about this coverage since business liability coverage is not part of a homeowner’s policy.
    • The Company
    • Company Presence
      Keep it memorable
      Convey a message
      Be careful when using unique spelling
      Check domain name before final decision
      Think about use in print materials
      Business cards
      Simple concepts are best
      Focus on positive vibrant colors
      Blue is most commonly associated with productivity
    • Communication
      Office Phone
      Google Voice
      Vanity Phone Number
      NEVER use Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, ISP account, etc…
      Google Apps (custom domain)
      FREE option
    • Marketing Tools
      Business Cards
      Overnight Prints (http://overnightprints.com)
      Vista Print (http://vistaprint.com)
      Social Media
      Various hosting options
      Content Management Systems can save time
    • Marketing Opportunities
      User Group meetings
      Speaking opportunities
      Chamber of Commerce or Technical Council events
      Networking events
    • Home Office Tips
      Separate space from living area
      Know your square footage
      Keep recreational items out of area
      Invest in a desk and comfortable chair
    • Getting to Work
    • Resume
      Types of Applications
      Metrics of contribution
      Be sure to never violate Non-Disclosure (stay generic)
      High School and non technology related jobs
      Irrelevant comments “I code like a girl”
      NO Third person bullets “Caleb developed a …”
    • Subcontracting
      Employee like benefits
      Taxes, Medical, etc…
      Preferred by recruiting companies
      Corp to Corp
      Must have Liability Insurance
      Improves Rate negotiations
      Base rate
      Overtime rate
      Professional relationship
    • What’s my rate
      52 weeks (in a year) * 5 week days = 260 days
      260 days – 10 major holidays = 250 days (2000 hours)
      250 days – 15 days vacation = 235 days
      235 days – 5 days (off contract) = 230 days
      230 days * 8 billable hours per day = 1840 billable hours
      1840 * $50 per hour = $92k
      1680 * $50 per hour = $84k ( 25 days off contract versus 5)
      “Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent." Marlon Brando
      The 2000 hour myth
    • Contracts on your own
      Master Service Agreement (MSA)
      Agreement between your business and client to outline responsibilities and obligations each company has to one another. Your rates for service would be included here.
      Statement of Work (SOW)
      References the MSA for authority on those areas.
      Outlines the deliverables, timelines, etc… for a specific activity
      Find a good lawyer
    • Getting Paid
      Payment terms can be a great or terrible thing.
      Net Due - Difficult to get any company to pay Net Due, so don’t plan on getting paid that quickly.
      Net 10 – Get paid 10 days from receipt of invoice by customer. This is optimal, but not always possible. Plan on a 30 day deliver, just in case.
      Net 30 – Get paid 30 days from receipt of invoice by customer. Standard for most companies. Don’t go higher than Net 30
      When the client doesn’t pay you have minimal avenues
      Send additional invoice as Net Due
      Send certified or registered letter with copy of invoice stating payment not received and legal action will take place
    • Tools
    • Project Management
      ProjectTurf (http://projectturf.com)
      Full featured, no FREE option
      activeCollab (http://activeCollab.com)
      No Free option
      Basecamp (http://basecamphq.com)
      Free option
      Lighthouse (http://lighthouseapp.com)
      Free option
      “Trying to manage a project without project management is like trying to play a football game without a game plan.” K. Tate
    • Accounting
      FreshBooks (http://freshbooks.com)
      QuickBooks (http://quickbooks.intuit.com)
      PeachTree (http://peachtree.com)
      “There's no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting.” David Letterman
    • Time Tracking
      Toggl (http://toggl.com)
      Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android, Web
      Works with BaseCamp, activeCollab, FreshBooks, QuickBooks
      Klok (http://getklok.com)
      Desktop, Android (BETA)
      Works with BaseCamp and Harvest
      Tick (http://tickspot.com)
      Web and iPhone
      Works with BaseCamp
      Harvest (http://getharvest.com)
      Desktop, Web
    • Task Management
      VersionOne (http://versionone.com)
      Rally (http://rallydev.com)
      LeanKit (http://leankitkanban.com)
      AgileZen (http://agilezen.com)
    • Source Control
      GitHub (http://github.com)
      Public and Private git repositories
      Free option
      Bitbucket (http://bitbucket.org)
      Private mercurial respositories
      Free option
    • Prime Time
    • What is a Consultant
      Project Manager
      Business Analyst
      Marketing person
      Everything in between
      “Consultants have credibility because they are not dumb enough to work at your company.” Scott Adams
    • Consulting is not for everyone
      Clients will not always treat you with respect
      It isn’t personal
      Clients may cut you loose for stupid reasons
      Have an emergency fund of 3 months expenses (minimum)
      Clients will sometimes use you as the scapegoat for their mistakes
      Be prepared, document everything to be ready
      You may have to take it, but you can protect yourself from legal action
      Clients can ignore your recommendations
      Again, it isn’t personal
      “It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.” Muhammad Ali
    • Accountability
      Seriously evaluate any major task to ensure you can accomplish it
      DO NOT accept any task if you cannot get it done CORRECTLY
      Own up to mistakes and accept the consequences
      It is worse to be known as seedy and deceitful
      Avoid giving dates without a firm understanding of requirements
      Always send a follow-up e-mail confirming what was communicated and your understanding
      “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.” George Burns
    • Politics
      DO NOT participate in office politics
      DO NOT speak negatively of any consultant(s) directly
      DO NOT be afraid to speak, if you know you are right
      Know who the REAL client is and serve them as such
      Remember as a consultant you can ALWAYS leave
      “Hard work is rewarding. Taking credit for other people's hard work is also rewarding... and faster.” Unknown
    • Client Interaction
      Conduct yourself in a professional manner with everyone and in all situations
      Work on your ability to translate complex information into simple terms or analogies
      Try to have alternative options available, in case the client decides against a recommendation
      Remember metrics are crucial for communicating benefit, measure and share
      Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”, but don’t let that be the last thing you say. As a consultant you learn for a living
      “… a professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it.” Alistar Cooke, journalist
    • Client Interaction (cont.)
      Develop your ability to speak intelligently on a number of topics, but don’t misrepresent your abilities
      Be a contributor, not just an order taker
      Break up work into phases
      Allows the client to see progress
      Protects you from unexpected requirements impact
      Be clear about your style/approach and how deviation from best practices can impact timelines.
    • Questions