Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
       The Independent Computer Computer Consultant Community
                       The ...
                                        The Independent Computer Consultant Community

                                       The Independent Computer Consultant Community

                                         The Independent Computer Consultant Community

                                         The Independent Computer Consultant Community

                                           The Independent Computer Consultant Community
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5

How to FAIL as an Independent Computer Consultant in 3 Easy Steps


Published on

If you want to start a computer consulting business, and you'd like to join the majority of your colleagues who have already tried and then struggled for an average of less than a year before calling it quits, then do like they do and follow these three simple steps.

Published in: Career, Business, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

How to FAIL as an Independent Computer Consultant in 3 Easy Steps

  1. 1. The Independent Computer Computer Consultant Community The Independent Consultant How to FAIL in 3 Easy Steps By Robert Peretson Start a Computer Consulting Business on the wrong business model, and Failure is essentially Guaranteed! I've met a lot of Independent Computer excellent level of support that costs less Consultants over the course of my than alternate solutions like in-house career. While a few continue to thrive employees or larger IT Support firms. in their Independent So with such a strong potential market practice, and a few and with the Independent Computer others have grown Consultant able to provide a much their business into needed solution, why is success for larger, successful Independent Computer Consultants so computer support rare? firms, the vast majority will give it Because they follow a standard, but less than a year wrong, hourly support billing model. If before they give up and begin actively you want to join the majority of your searching for a job again. colleagues and struggle briefly before you decide that being your own boss is Almost every small business today that to difficult and unstable and decide to relies on computer systems, needs call it quits, do like they do and follow someone qualified to maintain them. these three simple steps. The demand for affordable solutions for maintaining and supporting small business computer systems is huge. Today, every small business owner is STEP 1: Bill By The Hour looking for ways to reduce costs, and Ask 100 Independent Computer the Independent Computer Consultant Consultants what their hourly rate is is perfectly positioned to offer an and almost every one of them will be | 1 The Independent Computer Consultant Community
  2. 2. The Independent Computer Consultant Community able to give you one, probably ranged the door to work on other issues, these somewhere between $75-$150 per daily occurrences are generally the hour. items that can make up the foundation of the hourly, computer consultant's How many will tell you, "I don't charge salary. But with the client often by the hour. I charge flat, monthly looking to reduce these hours, this rates."? I'm betting not many. conflict can make it difficult for the Basing your income around how many consultant to properly maintain the hours you're able to accumulate on a systems and generate a reliable income. regular, monthly basis is a challenging And when a BIG problem occurs, such and generally unstable situation. as a server or major email outage, your Due to the very nature of hourly rates, client's stress will be compounded by a cost-conscious client (and what client the fact while they're productivity is at isn't cost-conscious today?) will always zero, they're spending hundreds, if not be aware of the time you spend on-site. thousands of dollars to have you fix the And they'll be hoping to reduce it problem. whenever and wherever possible. Billing by the hour creates a win-lose They'll hold off on addressing environment. The client has computer "smaller" issues, judging if an item like problems, they're unhappy, but the connecting a user to a network printer consultant makes more money. Fewer justifies having you in for your hourly problems means a happier client, but a rate. Unfortunately, these little poorer consultant. problems have a large negative effect on your client's productivity. When their productivity suffers to the point STEP 2: Provide Reactive Support where it hurts them financially, they'll If you're billing by the hour for on-site notice. And they'll be quick to blame support, you're generally waiting for the systems that you're responsible for someone to call you with a need or maintaining. problem for you to address. Hopefully Even if these small issues only amount you'll be able to strike a balance where to a few minutes a day for you to you'll have enough clients with service address, because they can get you in requests to keep you busy, without too | 2 The Independent Computer Consultant Community
  3. 3. The Independent Computer Consultant Community many clients demanding you low disk space, hardware failure alerts, simultaneously for "critical" requests etc. This will reduce unexpected or unexpected emergencies. emergencies and allow you to schedule your time much more reliably. This is a difficult balance to find, and the downfall of many new computer Monitoring will also let you identify consultants. If you have too few issues that might have gone unnoticed clients, with few problems and a until they escalated into a real problem. minimal budget for improvement You don't need to wait for your client projects, keeping busy enough can be a to tell you what work needs to be done. challenge. When things are working You can review the server logs and let smoothly, you may be tempted to call your client know what problems exist your client just to "check in". But this and need to be addressed. can often be viewed negatively by your The problem with proactive monitoring client as you possibly "fishing" for a under the hourly billing model is... few extra billable hours. Hitting a few what if it works? slow months in a row can make for a very unreliable income. What if you're able to clean up their systems to the point where problems Land yourself too many clients though, are rare? Will you still be able to and you might be busier than you maintain a busy enough schedule with bargained for. Find yourself unable to only the day-to-day minor user issues provide support fast enough and you'll to address? have dissatisfied customers. Fail to respond to a client during a real What if the opposite is true and you emergency because you're addressing find problems popping up almost another client's emergency, and odds daily? While it'll be easy enough to are high that you'll lose more than just bring these problems to your client's a few billable hours. attention and hopefully they'll appreciate you identifying the problem If you put a good server monitoring early, there's also the probability that system in place, you can potentially they'll question why all these problems eliminate most of these problems. If are occurring and why suddenly you you monitor the server proactively, you need to spend so much billable time on can catch items like failed backups, their systems. | 3 The Independent Computer Consultant Community
  4. 4. The Independent Computer Consultant Community And of course there's the question of you to survive. Which for a computer how to charge for proactive system consultant hired to keep things running, monitoring under an hourly-rate is career suicide. support model. Whether you charge an hourly, partial-hour or flat-rate for your monitoring service, unless the client STEP 3: Provide On-Site Service sees regular, clear evidence of the effectiveness of your work, they're Naturally, you'll need to visit your going to question whether this extra clients on a fairly regular basis. As an expense is a necessary one. hourly-support consultant, if you don't see your clients, you don't make If monitoring helps to identify money. If your business is built problems and keeps you busy, your primarilly around having to be at your clients will potentially be asking why client site to be able to support them they're spending more money now than and to generate your income, then it's before you started monitoring their in your best interest to be there as often systems. "Wasn't the monitoring as possible. Of course, your client supposed to reduce problems and save wants to see you there as infrequently me money?" as possible. This conflict alone is enough to prevent someone who’s If it helps to keep their systems starting a computer consulting business operating at peak performance, they'll from ever succeeding. be happy, but your income will suffer. And there's always the possiblity that Being proactive is a real challenge two of your clients might need support when operating under the hourly-rate at the same time. If you're not business model. It can have a negative monitoring your clients proactively as impact on your immediate income, but discussed above, the chance for it gives you the best chance for unexpected problems to arise is high. satisfied clients. Yet another conflict Two simultaneous emergencies happen that the hourly-rate computer often enough when you're supporting consultant must figure out how to multiple, unmonitored networks. overcome. What if it's not even an emergency, but Reactive support however, is basically a simple request to clean up a waiting for things to break in order for | 4 The Independent Computer Consultant Community
  5. 5. The Independent Computer Consultant Community workstation that's been getting pop- So unless you're billing for remote ups. But the call comes in while you're support, you'll be losing some income. working on a project and you have But under the hourly rate billing another service call waiting and you model, how do you charge for remote won't be able to make it down until a services? By the hour? In 15 minute day and a half from now. This doesn't increments? What if the support call do much for customer satisfaction, let takes 10 minutes to resolve? Do you alone the possibility that your client charge for it, or do you chalk it up to may not want to wait for you and finds providing "good customer service"? another way to resolve their problem, How many billable hours might you be which will lose you some billable time giving away over the course of the at least (and maybe lose you a client at month? How many of those calls could worst). have led to additional billable time had A simple solution would seem to be to you have gone on-site to provide the provide remote computer support. service? By not having to go on-site to Doing so gives you the ability to resolve the day-to-day, minor issues, essentially be at two places at once. would you still be able to maintain You probably won't attempt to do an enough hours of on-site work per week SBS migration remotely, but you for each of your clients? certainly can start a malware scan Let's say you charge $125/hr. and you remotely at one client while onsite at have four clients for who you provide a another (of course, if you’re billing by total of 2 hours of work each, per week the hour, you need to be very careful remotely. This would be a fantastic gig about who’s clock you’re on when for you... for the remote work alone, you’re doing remote work from a client you’d be making $48K annually, while site). working about 8 hours a week, mostly Providing remote computer support while wearing your pj's. could definintely improve client But I guarantee you, if you consistently satisfaction. In addition to being able to send your client an invoice for 8 hours provide nearly instanteneous support, a month, and they can't recall the last your clients will also be seeing you less time they've seen your face for more often, which we know is what they than a few hours, it won't be long want when being charged by the hour. | 5 The Independent Computer Consultant Community
  6. 6. The Independent Computer Consultant Community before questions or suspisions arise as can get you started on the right path to the need or validity of your service. today! Whenever you provide remote support, stellar recordkeeping and reporting is Robert Peretson is critical. However, even with detailed the founder of Perry reports, if your client is paying for a Consulting, a New substatial numbers of hours each York based month for work they don’t actually see computer consulting you doing, they're going to want a very firm, started in 1996. Today, Perry high level of communication or other Consulting enjoys a supporting evidence of your work and reputation as the the time involved. premier provider of computer consulting Once again, you’re faced with another services to many of conflict where you're trying to do your New York City's most progressive and work, and the very nature of your prestigious small businesses. billing arangement causes your client to question your work. In 2009, Robert founded the website, a If you want to fail as an Independent training and support portal for IT Computer Consultant, it's very simple professionals who would like to start a to do. Just follow the examples laid out computer consulting business as an by the countless other failed Independent Computer Consultant. consultants before you and create a business built on charging hourly rates to put out fires at your client's sites as quickly and as often as you're able to. If however, you want to start a computer consulting business that follows a business model that's been proven and guaranteed to succeed, then visit for free step-by-step video training that | 6 The Independent Computer Consultant Community