How to become an independent IT consultant

The risk may be high, but the rewards can be even higher

itconsultant vs full time

In my previous article I talked about the first half of the journey toward consulting – increasing responsibility as an employee, from getting direction, to owning your own process, to finally being a trusted advisor to senior management. The next step, the step of faith, is leaving the safety of the employer to the cold, external world.

Today I'm going to cover that next step of going independent, including a bit of my own story. 

If you have enough capital, you can go independent tomorrow. All you need is savings to survive for the next five years without generating any revenue. Most people do not have five years of savings, or are unable to put that much capital at risk. In that case, you'll want a few other things before you leave the nest: A somewhat reliable way to find clients (network and reputation), the skill to serve them well, and techniques to figure out how to price, predict work and build reputation to generate more. 

Let's talk about finding work. 

Finding work 

Sales makes people uncomfortable; it brings to mind pictures of used car sales-people in cheap suits. It is possible for consultants to "push" business, walking up to relative strangers at a conference or user's group, asking a leading question, then replying "Oh you need help with your website, eh? I'll do it." 

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