Consulting Getting Started
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Consulting Getting Started

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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
    Advantages
    Easy and Cheap to Start
    All profits go directly to owner or 50/50 partners
    Complete control
    Disadvantages
    Unlimited liability
    All NET income taxed as personal income
    Potential loss of tax deductions
    Self employment tax
    View slide
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
    Advantages
    Easy to setup
    Owner(s) have limited liability protection
    Disadvantages
    Taxed like Sole Proprietorship/Partnership
    Annual paperwork
    Potential for extra state taxes
    View slide
  • S Corporation
    Advantages
    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
    Disadvantages
    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
    Name
    Keep it memorable
    Convey a message
    Be careful when using unique spelling
    Check domain name before final decision
    Logo
    Think about use in print materials
    Business cards
    Invoices
    Simple concepts are best
    Focus on positive vibrant colors
    Blue is most commonly associated with productivity
  • Communication
    Office Phone
    Cell
    Google Voice
    Vanity Phone Number
    Voicemail
    FREE
    Email
    NEVER use Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, ISP account, etc…
    Google Apps (custom domain)
    E-mail
    Calendar
    Documents
    FREE option
  • Marketing Tools
    Business Cards
    Overnight Prints (http://overnightprints.com)
    Vista Print (http://vistaprint.com)
    Social Media
    Twitter
    LinkedIn
    Facebook
    Website
    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
    Blog
  • 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
    Highlight
    Technologies
    Types of Applications
    Industries
    Metrics of contribution
    Be sure to never violate Non-Disclosure (stay generic)
    Remove
    High School and non technology related jobs
    Irrelevant comments “I code like a girl”
    NO Third person bullets “Caleb developed a …”
  • Subcontracting
    W2
    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
    STOP WORKING FOR THE CUSTOMER
    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)
    GET AN ACCOUNTANT FOR TAX SEASON
    “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
    SCRUM
    VersionOne (http://versionone.com)
    https://github.com/versionone/git-hooks
    Rally (http://rallydev.com)
    Lean
    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
    Subversion
    TFS
  • Prime Time
  • What is a Consultant
    Architect
    Developer
    Project Manager
    Business Analyst
    Salesperson
    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