[A little precursor]
I have had a good deal of experience in the world of information technology or at least I would like to think so:) It seems that developers always lead down the same pre-defined career paths. The first path is to start out as a junior developer working your way up through a company, then becoming a senior developer and after quite some time(*time will vary based on company*) you will eventually either become a team lead or supervisor of your team. Others may choose at this point to go back and get their master's degree and go for their MBA continuing to become a project manager and then finally a development manager or somewhere in management.
So in reality, there are really 2 paths once you become seasoned professional, 1 - stay in your field and try to get to the upper-echelon of that area or 2 - Go into management, I am sure if you are reading this you are excited about that one:) However, there is one path that I left out intentionally because I think it is the best path for someone who wants to make it big.
Start your own company!
We have all heard this statement from our friends, professors, colleagues, and yes that man on TV with the ? on this hat and shirt. I feel strongly about this because starting your own company is a huge undertaking and requires if not more than all of the other path(s) experience, wisdom, and knowledge all tied together. So the real idea here is that it's the hardest and most difficult of the paths to go down and I like to think back to my 9th grade English class when we read a poem by Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken", where the title is pretty much explains itself. I feel this way about starting my own consulting company.
From what I have experienced here are a few things I think you need to know about starting a consulting company in general.
- A competitive advantage
- A business plan
- Knowledge of your field
- Experience as a consultant in some capacity
- A website
- Some kind of blog
All of these thing are my opinions and not everything you need to start a consulting company but they will definitely help and get you pointed in the right path. Some other tips I have heard were to join local user group and communities related to your expertise. These are great places to meet local professionals and industry experts. You can learn a great deal from these events for free.
In the end, with most companies and not only consulting companies is finding clients. It is by far the hardest part for the majority of entrepreneurs out there. The best way I have found is to use websites, community events, local networking events, and word of mouth. Here is quick list of what I have found.
- Websites - LinkedIn.com, elance.com, guru.com
- Community Events - INETA.org, Cleveland Dot Net User Group
- Business Forms & Documentation - LegalZoom.com, Ohio.Business.gov, you can change the subdomain for your state
- Word of Mouth - This one is up to you!
I have began to work on my own business as well. Check out www.voralityconsulting.com
to see for yourself. It's not much , but its a start!
This not an exhaustive list but a good one to get started on your way. I would like to hear about other people experiences and how they over came them. Feel free to comment on this blog.
Post your thoughts on my blog and let me know what you think about starting your own consulting business. It would be nice to hear from others that were successful in taking this path.