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How to become Consultant

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					How to be a consultant
       Be your own boss.


                                Ben DeBow
                           Midlands PASS Chapter
                                April 5, 2007
                        Agenda
 Incorporating, Contracts, Insurance and Retirement
 Making the change and becoming a consultant
 Finding work
 The Engagement
 Managing clients and business relationships
 Being successful
 Pro’s and Con’s of consulting
What is a consultant?
   A consultant is an expert that sells professional services in
    a certain area of specialization.

   Technology is a great field for being a consultant.
Incorporating, Taxes and Retirement
   Incorporating
       S-Corp, C-Corp, LLC and others
           http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incorporation_%28business%29
     Incorporate in your state then with the federal gov’t
     Keep the business separate from your personal life
   http://www.gaebler.com/Incorporating-in-South-Carolina.htm
   Key Federal forms - 941, 940, W2, W9, 1099s
   Retirement (www.investopedia.com)
       SEP-IRA - $44k for 2007
       Simple 401k
       Profit-sharing plans
Contracts
   Contracts
       Most contracts are provided by medium to large companies.
       Projects for small companies - Supply contract if they do not
        provide one.
   Advice: Do not work with companies with less than
    $500K in revenues.
   Have a lawyer look over the contract.
   How does a contract help me?
   Always keep all documents for a project.
   Get everything in writing, no exceptions.
Insurance
   General Liability
   Worker Compensation
   Commercial Auto
   Errors and Omissions ($1million) – Recommended
       This type of insurance may be appropriate for anyone who
        gives advice, makes educated recommendations, designs
        solutions or represents the needs of others, such as teachers,
        consultants, software developers, ad copywriters, Web page
        designers, placement services, telecommunication carriers or
        inspectors.
How to make the transition?
   Side projects\Moonlighting
       Gain experience and make contacts
       Bid on projects (www.thecentralmall.com, www.elance.com)
       Build relationships and get repeat business
       Know your company’s policy
   Use existing business contacts
   Get a long term contract
   Incorporate
   Obtain Insurance
Steps before the Job Hunt
   Build a consultants resume
       Strong resume is key
       Create a resume for different job types
       Consultant vs Full-time resume
   Determine your worth
   What is your ideal job?
   Dealing with recruiting companies
   Interviewing
       Prepare – Company profile
       Relax
       Just another conversation
Places to Find Work
   Online job sites
       dice.com, computerjobs.com, monster.com, careerbuilder.com
           Dice.com – SQL server, 40miles from 28202 = 136 jobs\90 Contract
   Professional groups
       sqlpass.org, user groups, industry conferences
   Online communities
       Sql forums, blogs, linkedin.com
   Business contacts
   Co-workers and their contacts
The First Day
   First impressions are everything
   Listen twice as much as you talk
   Learn the key players
   Clarify the engagement goals
   Try to gauge the political and organizational environment
Sample Issue
   Discovery
   Analyze the data
   Identify the problem
   Possible solutions
       Estimate Risk and Effort
 Prepare proposal
 Which solution would you implement?
1. High, Medium or Low Risk
Building Confidence
   Complex systems, New Environment
   The first change should be “Low Risk”
   Goal: Build Confidence
   Sometimes the last change is the 1st
   Enables continued enhancements
   Results are seen versus theory
   Time to start the analysis over again
Engagement
   Goals of Engagement
    1)   Make the client happy 
    2)   Complete tasks\Solve issues
    3)   Build relationships
    4)   Identify other projects
    5)   Documentation
    6)   Knowledge transfer
    7)   Look outside your tasks for other opportunities
Managing clients and business relationships
   The best business is repeat business
   Don’t burn your bridges!
   Beyond the business
       Invite your boss or co-workers out for an event.
   Swag
       Christmas cards, Golf outings, Dinners
Being Successful
   Satisfied clients
   Be an expert at something
   Know a little about a lot
   Give back to the community
   Building long-term relationships
   Having fun
   Build your own company
Pro’s of Consulting
   Be your own boss
   Meet many different people
   Learn many industries
   Get paid for every hour worked
   Change
   Diversity
   Higher pay
   Tax advantages
   Contribute more to Retirement
Con’s of Consulting
   No job security
   No employer-provided benefits
   Find your own work
   Risk of not getting paid
   No workers comp
   No workers unemployment
Summary
   Consulting
       Great experiences
       Meet many people
       Learn many industries
       Travel (if you want to)
       Situations could be complex or laid back.
   Consulting is not for everyone

				
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