Encouragement

Seven Steps in Selling…

The lead generation worked… the phone rings… now what?

Let the sales process begin… This is where the rubber meets the road — or where the consultant finally meets the client. Many people see sales as mysterious at best, and manipulative at worst. Neither are true for selling consulting services.

Consulting is a helping profession…

You’re not peddling products, or trying to meet a quota. You’re not manipulating, or being sleazy. Rather, you are simply trying to help your clients.

Like a doctor, you are solving problems. Or like an architect, you are turning dreams into reality. Either way, your helping improve your client’s life!

Looking at it this way makes it worthwhile, right?

Sales is a process…

If you’ve never been in sales, it may seem mysterious – even scary at times. But you can learn to sell– just as you can learn to paint, play a musical instrument, or write software.

Once you understand the process and the underlying principles, it all starts to make sense. It’s simply not a big deal. So don’t let the fear of learning a new skill stop you. And once learned, you may even start to enjoy the process. I certainly do.

But I’m an introvert, you say – not some back slapping extrovert. So what? Most consultants and professionals are at least somewhat introverted. After all, we live in a world of dreaming, pondering, diagnosing, creating, and reflecting. We’re thinkers!

As an aside, some of the most successful sales people I’ve known are introverted – some even highly introverted. They are also highly professional, with a passion for helping their customers. Just like good consultants.

Selling consulting is different…

–First, you’re not selling a tangible product — you’re selling an intangible service. As such, you typically need to develop a higher degree of trust with potential clients.

Your goal is not to sell another car this month and move on — rather, your goal is to be a trusted adviser, and hopefully for the long haul.

–Second, you need to deliver what your client bought. Remember — nobody likes to be sold — but we all like to buy — so make it pleasant!

And unlike product sales, the sales process does not stop when you get the order. You still need to deliver, and your long term business success depends on how well you execute this part of the process.

My seven steps in selling…

Hundreds of books have been written about selling, and most include a simple multi-step process. I’ve read dozens myself, plus I’ve been subjected to numerous sales training classes as a former sales engineer.

Some books and classes were better than others, but all helped form my ideas.

One drawback of many of these books and classes is their focus on products. (An exception is Rainmaking Conversations, reviewed here.) Most have four or five steps, and most assume the sales process is over once the order is received.

So I decided to expand things. I’ve used the popular AIDA model (Attention- Interest – Desire – Action) and added three additional steps – Delivery, Follow-up, & Referrals.

(1) Attention (Establish Rapport) This is the initial contact phase, and the time to build rapport. It is also the time to address any client concerns or fears. These are particularly important if the client has not or does not use consultants on a regular basis.

I usually begin by asking about the problem, followed by asking how they heard about us. The latter gives me some insight into the trust level.

If it is a referral, the trust is already high. If they’ve found us on a web search, it may be lower, so some reassurance may be needed.

(2) Interest (Qualify)The next step is to determine if you can help, and can they buy. In the former, don’t be afraid to turn business away if you don’t feel comfortable with it.

If the fit looks good, ask about schedule. If asked, you can also provide a budgetary estimate (go on the high side), subject to change pending more details.

(3) Desire (Diagnose & Prescribe) – At this stage, you may be able to offer preliminary diagnosis and recommendations. If not, ask more questions.

For example, I may say, “Based on what we’ve discussed, I suspect XXX, which we’ve seen before. We can handle this several ways… ”

(4) Action (Quote/propose) – The next step is to ask for the order! This is where many consultants fall down, due to fear of rejection. This is also known in the sales world as closing.

For simple projects, I usually just ask if they would like a quote or proposal. If they agree, I quickly review the tasks and schedule for consensus, and then provide a one-two page quote. Often, a purchase order will be issued based on the quote.

For more complex projects, we may decide on an additional meeting for further explorations. This may also mean detailed contracts, which we’ll discuss later.

(5) – DeliverTime to provide what you promised. If working on-site, show up as scheduled and suitably attired. The latter depends on your client, but business casual is usually safe. If unsure, ask ahead of time. Be professional!

Check with client as you progress – don’t wait until the end of the project to find out you were going down the wrong path. Keep the appropriate management in the loop.

An important part of delivery is getting paid. For simple projects, we accept purchase orders, For more complex projects, we may request progress payments or retainers.

(6 )- Follow up – Assuming a successful consultation, ask if there are other things you might help with.  Specific projects? General training? Don’t assume the client is aware of your other services.

As any experienced sales person will tell you, subsequent sales are always easier than the first.  Assuming you’ve done a good job, you’re now a preferred vendor/adviser.

As a minimum, get permission to add you client to your mail list for periodic follow-up. Newsletters work great for keeping in touch.

(7) – Referrals
– Ask for permission to share their name with future prospects. To protect confidentiality, we do not list clients on our brochure, but we do list past projects. If a personal reference is needed, we still call to confirm as a courtesy. (Our business can be sensitive.) Never been turned down.

Depending on your business, written testimonials are great marketing tools — particularly on your web site. And don’t hesitate to ask if there are others who might benefit from your expertise.

So now you have Uncle Daryl’s Seven Steps in Selling. We’ll examine each of these in more depth in future blog posts.

Please comment or write if you have specific questions! Happy selling…

© 2014 – 2017, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Top 5 Reasons to Consult in Retirement…

So you’re approaching retirement, and wondering what to do next. Or maybe you’re already retired, and getting bored out of you mind. After all, you can only do so much golfing or fishing (see Karl the engineer.) What next?

How about consulting? If you enjoyed your career, you just might like this. After a long career (or careers) you have valuable knowledge, experience, and contacts.

The extra money might be nice too. But do you really want to go back into the full time rat race? Consulting may be the answer!

Here are five top reasons to consider consulting in retirement. Full disclosurethis is a homework “challenge” for a the Problogger program I recently joined (write a “Top 5” Post.). After 3+ years and 140+ posts, time to take my blog to the next level.

1. Stay engaged … If you’re reading my blog, you probably are in (or were in) a business or professional career. You may no longer want to work full time, but wouldn’t mind staying involved, minus the politics and responsibilities.

This is exactly what my college roommate Ron is doing. After retiring as the county attorney in a large city, he and his wife spent the next for two years relaxing and traveling. But after a dozen or more cruises (which he highly recommends), he wanted to reconnect with his profession.

So he now consults a couple of days a month for the county tax board. No stress and he stays connected with professional colleagues. As he says, “If I didn’t do this, I’d probably go to seed.”  He doesn’t need the money — he does it solely for satisfaction. And he still takes cruises.

2. Travel… Many retirees (or soon to be retirees) dream about travel but may feel financially constrained. How about letting somebody else pick up your travel expenses?

This is exactly what a recently retired colleague Joe is doing. In fact, he and his wife just got back from several weeks in Europe. He has been providing part-time engineering consulting guidance on a project for a former employer with business partners in France.

Unlike typical engineering projects, he has little stress. As Joe says, “I now just advise. If they don’t follow my advice and fail tests, I don’t catch the heat like in the old days.”  C’est la vie.

3. Do some good… Many retirees decide to volunteer for causes they deem worthy. Often done gratis, and purely for the satisfaction of helping others.

This is exactly what our friend Lynn did. After retiring as a nutritionist, she volunteered at a local reservation in Arizona. She was so well liked and appreciated that the administrators obtained a grant, and asked her to expand her consulting services to other Native American communities throughout the state.

She agreed, and enjoyed making her contributions for several more years. Thanks to the grant, she also enhanced her retirement savings. Lynn has since retired – again.

4. Make some money… Nothing wrong with making money, even if you don’t need it. After all, you can always contribute it to favorite charities.

This is exactly what another retired colleague Don did. Offered an early buyout, Don took it. But he really wasn’t ready to retire, so he hung out his consulting shingle (after some gentle prodding from Uncle Daryl.) Thanks to Don’s credentials and contacts, he had his first project in days.

Don continued on this path for several years. Financially secure and with no kids, some of that extra income will go toward an endowment at his beloved alma mater.

5. Have some fun… If it isn’t interesting or fun, why do it? Particularly when retired.

This is a major factor in all of the above cases. This has always been a major driver for me throughout my engineering career (both corporate and consulting), and it will continue.

So what about Uncle Daryl? Is he retired? Semi-retired? Or what?

  • Not really sure what my status is. Thanks to my consulting career, I’m financially secure and now collecting Social Security. So maybe I’m retired.
  • Or maybe not. I’m still involved with the engineering practice, but not as aggressively as in the past. I still take projects that interest me, and dream up others (like this blog.) So maybe I’m just semi-retired.
  • Or maybe not. Maybe I’m just a freedom loving independent consultant living the good life that began 25+ years ago for me. So maybe I’m still employed – or – maybe I really retired 25+ years ago!

Finally, if you are retired or contemplating retirement, maybe this has sparked thinking about YOUR next chapter in life. Please let me know if it has!

© 2014, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Hi tech shifts to independent workforce…

So says a recent article in Computerworld — Your next job, next year, may be self employment.

According to Emergent Research (a firm focused on small businesses trends) approximately one million IT (Information Technology) workers today are self-employed. This represents about 18% of the IT workforce.

Not only that, the independent IT workforce is growing at about 7% per year (versus 5.5% for all independent workers – which is still not too shabby.)

According to Steve King, a partner at Emergent, this growth is driven by companies that want to stay ahead of the game. “In today’s world, change is happening so quickly that everyone is trying to figure out how to be more flexible and agile, cut fixed costs and move to variable costs,” said King.

These statistics bode well is you have the itch to hang out your shingle – particularly for my fellow high tech colleagues. All this sounds like fertile ground for new consultants!

King goes on, “For people with skills… there is there is a lot more opportunity to find part-time employment and set up your own shop and work as a consultant and contractor than there has been in the past.”

This last comment suggests a side hustle strategy, particularly if you are not ready to go full time.That is how we made our JumpToConsulting. It is also a good insurance policy -and certainly better than depending on luck.

Personally, I’d rather my income and financial well being depend on my own skills/experience/contacts rather than on some impersonal bureaucracy. But being laid off twice in my pre-consulting career has no doubt affected my perspective.

So stick around here and I’ll share my ideas and encouragement -geek or not- on how to make your own JumpToConsulting.

© 2014, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

A Success Story – Marty Zwilling…

As promised in a recent post, here is Marty Zwilling’s “success story.” His story should be of special interest to boomers, as he started his consultancy after he retired – the first time. Geeks too – he was part of the team behind the IBM PC.

Marty specializes in helping new entrepreneurs get started. Thus, the name of his firm – StartupProfessionals.com.  Great resources – books, packages, personal mentoring, a daily blog, and more. Good advice for all entrepreneurs – consultants or otherwise.

(1) What prompted you to consider consulting? Was there an event, like a layoff, or was it just a general itch to be on your own?

I chose consulting with startups as a way to scale back from a full-time job, and be in control of my own schedule.

I had spent many years with IBM, then several years in Silicon Valley working for a couple of startups, so I thought it was time for me to share some of that experience helping people struggling to turn their dream idea into a business.

(2) How has it been going? Looks like you started some time ago, so obviously you are established in your business.

It’s working well for me. I learned to use social media through blogging, LinkedIn, and Twitter, as a source of leads, so I’ve been able to build my brand (Startup Professionals) with essentially no money spent on marketing.

I have enough work to keep me as busy as I want – I tell my wife that I only work half-time, only 40 hours per week. 🙂

(3) What do you like MOST about consulting?

I enjoy my total control over the jobs I accept, the rates I charge, and not having to manage other people.

(4) What do you like LEAST about consulting?

As a consultant, you always have to be looking ahead and thinking about getting new work, especially since most of my gigs are short-term. Back in IBM, it was nice getting that salary check without thinking about it every couple of weeks.

(5) How do you get your clients? (BTW, the number one question I get asked when someone finds out I’m a consultant.)

Naturally I have a website listing my services, with contact info, but many clients come from referrals of previous clients and related business professionals, like investors, that I meet through networking.

(6) How do you set your fees? (Second question I get asked.)

Fees are a function of your skills and expertise, and what the market will bear. I recommend that any consultant start low, and raise fees as reputation/demand goes up.

This is the inverse of what I recommend for product businesses, where you might start at the high end and lower prices to be more competitive.  In either case, you need to avoid prices that are so low that they suggest minimal value or quality.

(7) How did you decide what to consult about? (Third question I get asked.)

That’s easy. You should only consult in some functional area you love, and one that you have something of value to offer.

I’ve had a lot of experience starting small businesses, and managing larger ones, so I felt I could help new companies get started, and grow to mature companies.

I also have an degree in accounting, so I can read and build business plans as well. I do it first because I love to see new entrepreneurs succeed, and I’m really in the give-back stage of my life.

(8) Lessons learned since you started consulting?

I’ve learned a lot about dealing with people, and how to read people. Everyone has their own way of thinking and getting things done, so I quickly try to adopt and adapt to their style.

I’ve become more and more convinced that success in being an entrepreneur is mostly about the person, and not about the quality of the idea they are trying to make a business out of. I have found that entrepreneurs with the right attributes can take almost any idea and succeed, while others will run even the best idea into the ground.

(9) What next? Do you plan to do this the rest of your career? Or is this a stepping stone to other things?

I take life a day at a time, so I don’t try to predict what tomorrow will bring. I don’t have any master plan, and I see many different jobs out there that I might enjoy.

I’m one of those lucky ones who have always enjoyed the work I do, and I’ve done many things, but there is much more to learn and try. One of the reasons I like consulting is that I can change my focus in any way that I want without anyone second-guessing me.

(10) Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to those who might be thinking about consulting?

Being a consultant is all about being an entrepreneur. That means the buck stops with you, and you have to make decisions, take risk, and you can’t count on anyone else to solve problems for you.

Everyone should take a hard look in the mirror before they start down this path – if the requirements scare you, then don’t start down this path – you won’t be happy.

If you don’t like dealing with people, then consulting is not for you. There is nothing wrong with working for someone else, doing your job well, and getting that regular paycheck without worry.

Life is too short to go to work unhappy every day. Have fun!

Thank you, Marty, for sharing your story – and your encouragement!

© 2014, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Coffee with Marty@StartupProfessionals.com

Had coffee today with Marty Zwilling, of StartupProfessionals.com. It was a great time meeting with a fellow “boomer-geek-blogger-entrepreneur” from Arizona.

As the name suggests, Marty specializes in helping new entrepreneurs get started. This includes advice on business plans, funding, angel investors, patents, incorporations, and more. He also writes a daily blog, and has written two (about to be three) books.

His primacy focus is on nurturing and building small businesses that want to grow. But his site is a great resource for prospective consultants, too.

The catalyst for today’s meeting was a recent blog post One of These Days You May Not Be An Entrepreneur. Marty listed eight reasons why many never make the jump to starting their own business. The same reasons prevent many from making their own JumpToConsulting.

Incidentally, Marty has impressive credentials. With a background in accounting, he worked in high-tech most of his career. His first taste of entrepreneurial success was at IBM, when he part of the “skunk works” project that spawned the IBM PC.

From then on, he was hooked on small high tech businesses. Even after retiring, he couldn’t give it up. (See Two Cures…). First he volunteered at the Arizona State University business school, and subsequently started his blog and consultancy.

Did I mention he has over 700,000 Twitter followers? A great marketing story by itself. Considered a thought leader for startups, he also writes for Forbes and others.

We spent an hour together as we pondered and commiserated about why so many “wannabees” can’t or don’t make the transition.
Many are refugees from larger businesses, with the requisite  experience and knowledge to succeed.

So what is holding them up? Two major issues seem to be fear and perfection.

–Fear – Some people fear failure, while others actually fear success. Both stem from a fear of the unknown. As for failures, I consider them great learning opportunities. And I never trust anyone who claims that they never failed.  Either they are lying, or they were good at blaming others. (Once had a boss like that – in a startup no less.)

The secret is to face it and even embrace it. Don’t be foolhardy, but don’t let it paralyze you either. Ask “What is the worst possible thing that can happen?” Have a backup plan, but then move ahead.

–Perfection – This is a big problem with my fellow engineers. But a product doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to good enough. Same thing with a consulting service – you don’t need to outrun the bear – just the other guy.

In either case, you can always tweak the product/service later. Furthermore, the market will guide you in making those improvements.

Finally, overcoming the two hurdles of fear and perfectionism is not enough. But they are the necessary first steps in making a jump to any small business – consulting or otherwise!

P.S. – In a future post, we’ll cover Marty’s “success story.”

© 2014, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Do you worry what people think of you?

Here is a recent comment I left at the Art of Non-Conformity, a favorite blog by Chris Gullibeau – author, entrepreneur, and world traveler (he visited EVERY country in the world by age 35.)  If you haven’t discovered him, now is a good time to do so!

The topic was The Virtue of Insecurity, where Chris ponders the question, “Do you worry about what people think of you?”

So here is my two cents worth (and worth every penny you paid…)

As an old codger, here is one of my favorite sayings:

–When I was 20, I worried about what others thought…
–When I was 40, I no longer cared…
–When I was 60, I finally realized that nobody else gave a damn in the first place.

So, go live life on your terms. That’s what I’ve done. Mistakes? Yes. Regrets? No.

One of the few advantages of getting older is that you start top put things in perspective. Those perspectives, by the way, can make you valuable as a consultant!

© 2014, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

The country doctor approach…

When troubleshooting, common sense and experience go a long way.

Here is a story of my great-uncle, a country doctor in Nebraska.  I often think of him when trying to diagnose and fix a client problem.

This story appeared in my first book, written twenty years ago. While it was aimed at my engineering colleagues, it applies to all types of consulting.

I had a relative who was a country doctor the first half of the 20th century. I once saw the tools of his trade and was touched by their simplicity.

The old black bag didn’t hold a lot (a stethoscope, a thermometer, some simple surgical tools, and a few medicines), but when these tools were combined with  medical knowledge and experience, they saved lives.

It didn’t take CAT scans or MRIs to make a diagnosis and solve a lot of problems. Sure, the latest technology is great, but you don’t need it for every situation.

Remember that old country doctor when troubleshooting problems.  Using a few simple tools, you don’t need a million dollars of test equipment or reams of test data to solve many problems. Like the doctor, you can rely on your own experience, knowledge, and common sense.

Hope you enjoyed the story. Rest in peace, Dr. Metheny.

P.S. Just finished teaching our Troubleshooting Workshop to a group of engineers in San Diego, based on the medical concepts of differential diagnosis (to be covered in a future post.) Always a good time – and the weather was great too!

© 2014, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Quick advice for a newbie…

At LinkedIn (Succeed), Dave Wacker posed this question:

Any thoughts on starting a small consulting company?

Here is my reply:

Hi Dave,

Started my consulting engineering firm 30+ years ago. Part time for nine years, then went full time in 1987 – the day the market crashed. (The first day in business was the worst day in business — all the rest have been much better!)

Here are some quick thoughts:

* Identify your specialty –clients want specialists not generalists.

* Define two niches – demographic (ideal clients) and geographic (local, national, or ??)

* Based on those niches, develop three or four simple marketing strategies (write, speak, network) -you want to create credibility and visibility, and your goal is to have clients call you (think like a doctor.)

* Keep the above simple and focused – you can’t be everything to everybody, particularly when starting out.

For more ideas, visit my blog (http://www.jumptoconsulting.com) where I have just about finished a series on 20 Ways to Attract Clients. All methods we’ve used in our practice. Over 120 posts with lot’s of other free “nuts and bolts” stuff too.

Good luck, and welcome to the wacky world of consulting!

To date, 35 others have also left comments. Lot’s of good ideas being shared…

© 2014 – 2016, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Do You Want to Get Rich???

So asked the Dean of Engineering to a bunch of freshman engineering students almost fifty years ago.

The class was Intro to Engineering, an overview of what we were getting ourselves into. When he asked the question, most of the hands in the room went up.

“Well”, he replied, “if you REALLY want go get rich, drop out now. Go out to the new interstate highway, and buy land at one of the interchanges. Build a gas station, and in 25 years you’ll be rich – and independent too.”

“But,” he continued, “stick around here and we’ll show you how much fun engineering can be. And in 25 years, you may not be as rich as the gas station owner, but you will still be in good financial shape. And you will have had a lot of fun in the meantime.”

It wasn’t until many years later that I fully appreciated the dean’s advice. Yes, the classes were interesting, but often challenging. So were the engineering jobs I held in industry.

But the real payoff came after starting my own engineering consulting firm. I was finally able to combine the independence of the gas station owner with the fun of engineering. And financially, it has all turned out just fine. Maybe that was the dean’s real message.

So a message of encouragement to my fellow geeks. If you are sick and tired of the big company politics and no longer having a good time, consider consulting.

As a bonus, old consultants are usually valued (for all their experience), while old engineers (with the same experience) are often put out to pasture. Go figure.

Finally, every time I drive by all the gas stations on I-80 north of Lincoln, Nebraska, I fondly recall the dean’s advice. Thanks, Dean Blackman!

© 2014, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Top 10 Reasons NOT to Become an Independent Consultant…

Still time for New Year’s Resolutions. In case your resolutions include consulting, here are 10 reasons NOT to go there. Not being negative – just being honest.

1. You dislike risk – Starting any business involves risk. To be blunt, some people simply do not like risk. Nothing wrong with that, but if risk makes you uncomfortable, you’re better off not starting a consulting practice – or any small business.

2. You don’t like to market or sell – The first piece of advice I give anyone considering consulting is to be prepared to peddle your butt off. With rare exceptions, the world will NOT beat a path to your door, no matter how smart you are.

3. You lack practical experience – Just because you just got your MBA doesn’t make you an independent business consultant. Most clients are looking for experience. So if you are a newly minted anything with the urge to consult, I recommend spending a few years with an existing firm before going out on your own.

4. You don’t know WHAT to consult about – As a variation, you may have experience but don’t know what to specialize in. Remember, most consultants are specialists, not generalists. And it better be fun – no sense pursuing something you don’t like or enjoy.

5. You don’t know WHO to consult for – You need to identify your niches, both demographic and geographic. You can always change or expand, but you better have some specific targets in mind before you start.

6. You just got laid off –
Don’t know how many calls I’ve had over the years from colleagues who just lost their jobs. NO, do NOT do this… unless you have enough money to keep you going for at least six moths without any revenues (a year might be better.) See my story.

7. Your finances are not in order – See the comment above. If you don’t have money in the bank, or someone who can support you, stick with you regular job. Then start saving – aggressively – so that you can break free later. See Mr.  Money Mustache for ideas – he “retired” in his 30s and now does his own thing with no financial worries.

8. You aren’t ready to make sacrifices – In time, money, and relationships. Like to watch lots of sports? Forget it. Like to buy toys? Forget it. Like to dine out regularly? Forget it. You need to focus your resources on starting you business. And make sure any significant other agrees with you, so that does not end up as a sacrifice.

9. You have little kids – In my opinion, not a good time to start any business, unless you have no other choice. When little, they need your love, attention, and guidance. And your spouse needs your help. Besides, they grow up way too fast. You can always start a business later, but you can never get this time back.

10. You think its cool – One of the worst reasons to start a consulting practice, or any business for that matter. In today’s culture, being an entrepreneur is often seen as cool. But it is really a lot of hard work. You better have the passion (along with the ability) to help your clients solve their problems and/or improve their situations.

Some candid advice from Uncle Daryl. Consider it a counter balance to my earlier post – Top 10 Reasons to Become an Independent Consultant.

Finally, if you still want to consult, come on in — the water’s fine. For me, it has been a 30+ year blast. Best Wishes in 2014!

© 2014, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Losing the Lard…

Down 40 pounds in six months! This post was sparked by comments on my weight loss last year, as reported in the 2013 Year End Review. Specifically, how did you do it, and what got you off the dime in the first place?

So I thought this post might be a good way to kick off 2014.

Perhaps it will help those whose New Year’s resolutions included dropping a few pounds (or like me, more than a few pounds.) Besides, if you are not healthy, you might not be able to make a JumpToConsulting … or any other opportunity for that matter!

First, some background…

I’ve always been on the heavy side. Even as a kid, I was a bit tubby. I enjoyed good food (still do), and didn’t care for most sports. I was a nerd, and liked to read books and to play with my ham radio. Neither of these were very conducive to better physical fitness.

Over the years, the weight crept up, and then up even more. (Being on the road as a consultant didn’t help.) In recent years, I developed metabolic syndrome — elevated cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels — a precursor to diabetes.

My doctor kept saying “You should lose some weight…”  How many of us have heard that — and simply ignored it? After all, there are pills for all that stuff.

At my annual physical last summer, my doctor congratulated me. I had graduated, and now passed the diagnostic criteria for diabetes. He prescribed some more pills.

“What about losing weight?” I asked. He just looked at me, and handed me a prescription. How many other consultants have had their good advice repeatedly ignored?

That was a wake up call.That, and a retired neighbor (and fellow engineer) in the advanced stages of diabetes. Only a few years older than me, he has lost all feeling in his feet, has congestive heart failure, and several other complications. His advice when I told him my diagnosis was “Do something about it – NOW!”

So, I began the SEC diet…

Like any good consultant, I immediately began to research the problem. Got a couple of books, and dug into Google and WebMD. The message was clear–I was eating too much– and the wrong stuff to boot! Too many calories and too many carbs. Time to change!

So I looked at a number of diets and programs, but finally created my own plan. Dubbed it the SEC Diet – for Stop Eating Crap. (AKA the SES diet.) Here is what I did:

Cut out the white stuff. No more bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, or sugar. Went through the pantry and got rid of all the snacks – potato chips, crackers, and more. Fortunately, Mary joined me in this adventure, making it easier to cut back.

Cut the carbs. Learned to read nutrition labels. My goal is 100 – 150 grams/day max, where a normal USDA approved diet is about 300 grams. That alone cuts out 600- 800 calories. Also replaced simple carbs (like white bread and sugar) with complex carbs (like whole grains, fruits, and vegatables.)

—  Cut the portion sizes. Reduced meat portions by about a half, and replaced carbs with more vegetables and salads. This works well when dining out too – simply divide the portions in half and have a “second” meal the next day.

Cut the unhealthy snacks. No more ice cream or cookies (OK, an occasional cookie). Instead, my doctor suggested small snacks of almonds and jerky. Just a little bit usually kills any hunger.

Ate regular meals. Skipping a meal does NOT work for me. I more than make up for it on the next meal. Breakfast is simple – usually a bowl of oatmeal, but no more big scoop of brown sugar or glass of orange juice. Lunch or dinner are light too – soup, salad, or yogurt. The remaining meal is more varied, but with limited portions.

Unlike many diets, I’m rarely hungry. My research suggests that limiting carbs and eating regular meals have minimized blood sugar spikes and leveled insulin production. Apparently these two factors tell your brain you’re hungry. They also pack on the fat.

Next, upped the exercise…

I’ve been on a moderate exercise program for several years. Originally, I hoped this would help me lose weight, but all it really did was keep it from increasing even more. Sadly, even one cookie can offset an hour on the treadmill.

But as part of my plan, I increased the exercise to several times a week. This includes both cardio and resistance training. We already belong to a gym, so doubling the visits actually decreases the cost/visit. How’s that for some consulting cost analysis?

The increased exercise does help. While it does not burn a lot of calories, it helps remind me of what I am trying to accomplish. Plus I feel better.

A few other tips I’ve learned…

–Weigh every day. Most diet plans suggest weighing once a week so you will see larger improvements. I find weighing every day keeps me honest — even a small increase jolts me back into action for that day.

–Slow and steady wins the race. No, its not really a race, nor is it a diet. Rather, it is a change in lifestyle. My long term goal is to lose another 60 pounds, and then to keep it off. It may take a while (the easy pounds are gone) but eventually I hope to get there.

–Cut yourself some slack. Yes, I’ve hit the dreaded plateaus, and even increased a few pounds after falling off the diet wagon. But when that happens to you, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on. Just like in the consulting business.

The bottom line…

So that’s my story. So far, so good. Here are some benefits I’ve already seen:

— More energy – Was taking almost daily naps. As an old geezer, I figured this was normal. Guess what? Haven’t taken more than a handful of naps in the past six months, and then usually because I was up really late the night before. I feel years younger.

— More comfortable – With much of the big belly gone, confined spaces like airplane seats actually seem larger. Also, it is much easier to bend over to pick up things, and I don’t seem to get as winded. The exercise probably helps too.

— More self-aware – Used to grimace when seeing my profile in a mirror or window. Never been narcissistic, but I do like the new improved profile better than the old one.

— More sensitive – A lot of overweight people are depressed, and society’s obsession with being slim often makes it worse. That in turn can lead to more overeating. My recent experiences have made me much more sensitive to my fellow fatties*, and our struggles to control or lose weight. Perhaps this post will help someone else out there.

Finally, Uncle Daryl wants YOU — to be Happy and Healthy in 2014! And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

* Not meant to be derogatory, but let’s be candid — that is how many of those disgustingly skinny folks often see us. But so what? Just keep plugging away.    

© 2014, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

JumpTO… Not FROM…

Time for a short New Year’s rant…

Hate your job? Life passing you by? Frustrated, and just want to escape? But no thoughts or plans on what to do next? Waste of energy!

Better to have an idea or two in mind. Something to move TO, not FROM. Rather than wallow in misery, time to explore some options. A challenge for 2014…

Time to ask three critical questions:

  • What COULD I do? What talents and experience might have value to others?
  • What SHOULD I do? Would I enjoy it? Can I make a living at it?
  • And WHAT do I need to do to get there?

Regarding the last, NO, you don’t need to go back to school for another degree. (Unless it is necessary, like to become the doctor you always wanted to be.) Too often, this is just a cop out for making the hard decisions on what to do next. See this post.

And NO, you don’t need to become a consultant. Although if you are reading my blog, I assume there is at least some curiosity about the subject. But the world today is full of possibilities and opportunities – more so than any time in history. Just explore them.

If you are unsure about what to do next, visit fellow Arizona blogger Pam Slim at EscapeFromCubicleNation. Full disclosure – I’m a big fan of Pam – unlike too many Internet charlatans, Pam is the real thing. She has also walked the walk.

Read her blog and buy her books. If you still want help to sort things out, she also offers personal coaching services, with an emphasis on small business.

If you are interested in starting/running a small consulting practice, stick around here. More to come in 2014, as I share more ideas and information based on thirty years experience as an independent consultant.

Finally, this is why I named my blog Jump-TO-Consulting. I wanted to focus on what it takes to get there. Still damn glad I made my own Jump-TO so many years ago!

Thus ends the rant. What are YOUR options for 2014? Jump-TO ???

© 2014, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

A Newbie Success Story…

This recently arrived in my mail box, and I wanted to share it. It certainly made my day!

This is from Catherine at ViewThatData.com, who I featured a few months back in an earlier post. Sounds like she is making great progress towards her goals of both occupational independence and financial  independence.

Hi Daryl,

I hope this finds you well. I am doing fine.

I am very hopeful, enthusiastic, and excited to jump to this next phase in my life and career.

I wanted to take a minute and give you a brief update. You have been so helpful and inspirational in my jump to consulting that I wanted to keep in touch.

As you may remember – I took your advice and set my business up as an LLC. I am currently working on getting my application together for both the minority business enterprise as well as a veteran owned business. I recently got certified in my profession as a GISP (GIS Professional).

I finally got the go ahead with that church and finished their project (who I thought was going to be my first client but they weren’t).

I represented a friend at a book fair to sell her book and the man in the table beside me is a historian and turns out he often needs maps for his books so I gave him my business card. Within a month he contacted me and I have since completed 3 maps for his new book.

I have 2 nonprofits that within the week have given the word that they want to move forward with their proposals. With one of them saying not only did they want to do the training I proposed but wanted to know if I would be interested in fee-based task services for things they needed help with.

So it has been utterly amazing – every proposal I have put out has gotten approved so far (there have been 6 so far). I know that this won’t always be the case but it is a great start, plus all invoices have been paid with promptly.

And honestly I haven’t even began marketing full force – I have been concentrating on admin activities like setting up my books, professional certifications, minority and veteran certifications, etc.

We have had a major life change in my family and my goals have now changed in relation to them. My new goal is to be able to go full time with my business and become a full time consultant within the next 1 – 2 years and work from my home.

Part of the dream with that avenue is to work hard when I’m working and have the flexibility to travel several times a year as opposed to the vacation leave limits I currently have.

Here is my reply:

Hi Catherine,

Congratulations on all the progress — that is great!

But don’t let up on your marketing. BTW, your certifications and applications for minority/veteran business status are marketing efforts too. Consulting is all about “credibility and visibility.” Sounds like you’ve been doing a good job on both.

In any event, it occurred to me that your email would make a nice blog post — perhaps offering some inspiration to others who might be on the fence regarding consulting. An update from “them that’s doing.” I like to do “success stories” and yours certainly falls into that category.

Glad to hear things are going so well!

Daryl

Way to go, Catherine!

P.S. Been a little lax on blog posts here – October was busy with both work and fun stuff, including an RV trip following the old Santa Fe trail as we returned to AZ from MN. The consulting biz lets us be location independent too — and the independence is great!

© 2013, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Questions from a CPA trying to break free…

This question was posted recently on LinkedIn. Can’t help myself … I just had to jump in… marketing a consulting practice is a favorite topic!

I am a CPA who would like to would like to own my own CPA firm, but clients have been hard to come by.  Any ideas on a proven marketing program?

Here is my reply:

Yours is the first question asked when people find out I’m an independent consulting engineer. But after 30+ years in business, I’ve concluded there is no “magic bullet” or “proven marketing program.”

But don’t despair – you can do it as many have before you. It just takes time and effort.

One big advantage you have is a professional license, in an area where almost everyone can use your help. The big questions are WHO do you go after, and HOW how do you reach them?

The key is to focus. You need both strategies and tactics.

STRATEGIES — Try to define your ideal market(s), subdividing into niches. For example:

  • Business (B2B) or personal (B2C)?
  • Local or nationwide?
  • Special services like tax, audit, financial planning, estate planning, or???
  • What about specialty markets, like accounting for medical practices, or??? (Heard of one accountant who specialized in homeowner associations, and owned his local market – now that is a clever niche.)

TACTICS – Its all about credibility and visibility. That can be done through:

  • Speaking (such as local professional groups)
  • Writing (focused tutorial articles or white papers)
  • Teaching (adult education,seminars, webinars)
  • Networking (LinkedIn of course, along with cultivating live contacts.)

It won’t happen overnight, but it is worth it. Pick a couple and start working on them.

Incidentally, many of these can be done while you are still employed. We spent several years “laying pipe” before breaking free in 1987. Even though the market crashed (the very first day in business!) we still survived thanks to those previous efforts.

So it is doable, but it takes work. Is it worth it? I certainly think so – no regrets here!

Several other replied, but here is my favorite, from Carl Harrington, another tax accountant. Great nuts and bolts advice – my favorite kind.  These ideas apply to other disciplines too.

Couple of brief comments based upon my myopic view.

1. People don’t want to pay CPA’s to do the tax work because they didn’t want to pay the taxes in the first place.

2. Many people don’t understand the limited FAT privilege. The people who need you the most (in trouble) can’t hire you or share with you as you are not privileged. I would target every tax attorney in town and offer assistance, to come and meet the client at their office as part of their virtual staff or under a kovel letter. I would do this for free, or else you are not helping to facilitate their employing you.

3. You have a great chapter 9 going on in Detroit, probably with enough accounting and audit work for 30 CPA’s. Have you scoped it out yet? Why not? That work is not only huge, it would be fun too. They are re-negotiating thousands of contracts…..

4. Start volunteering with VITA, Start volunteering with public law firms who do things for indigent people. Soon your reputation will precede you. Go to small business meetings, become a volunteer for SCORE and other similar organizations. Teach classes on tax and accounting. Teach areas of taxation for attorneys, CPAs and EAs.

5. Shadow the local CPA; EA; TAX ATTORNEY meetings. Look for office space opportunities (a) to find what’s out there, (b) as a pretext to meeting new people.

6. Get the tax prep software (demos) and become familiar. Take free training from Drake etc. Get all your computers organized to go into business and clone everything so that you will have backup.

You will have a lot to do, and you will be able to open the CPA office “naturally” as you become so in demand that it is the greater of your choices.

Get busy and sustainedly busy before you launch.

Lot of work to do this……no time to slack off…….but you will be in demand…..

Of course, I invited Max and the others following the discussion to visit us here.

If you are one of those readers, welcome.  If not, you are also welcome!

© 2013, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Consulting as a Side Hustle…

Thinking about consulting, but not ready to go full time? Then consider consulting as a side hustle. You will learn a lot, and it will be much easier if/when you make your full-time JumpToConsulting.

First heard this phrase back in 2010 from fellow Arizona blogger Pam Slim at Escape From Cubicle Nation. I’ve sung her praises before, and will continue to do so. Unlike too many Internet bloggers/marketers, Pam is the real thing —  genuine, caring, and full of great advice and insights on starting ANY business.

But enough of the accolades. When I heard the term, it immediately resonated — for that is exactly how I got started in consulting over 30 years ago. Not ready to jump in full time, the part time route was a great way to test the waters to see if I would even like consulting in the first place.

The side hustle also brought in some extra bucks. With two kids at the time, any extra moolah was welcome. It even provided a tax shelter of sorts, by investing profits in some new fangled personal computers. (Have we come a  long way from that first Apple II…)

But most important, the side hustle provided a place to try ideas. Some worked, and some didn’t. The biggest disaster was a foray into computer seminars — but I learned an important lesson about barriers to entry. The biggest success was learning how to market consulting —  different from most traditional businesses.

So what was the original side hustle? We began teaching adult evening electronics classes at a vocational school (now part of the University of Minnesota system.)  My business partner had just started, and recruited me when another instructor had to drop our at the last minute.

Although I never taught before, it sounded like an interesting challenge. The challenge turned out bigger than expected, but I survived (as did my first students.) Actually, we all learned together, and my class reviews were positive.

That following spring, the school asked for help in organizing their evening electronics curriculum (a bit of a mess.) Recognizing an opportunity, we submitted a proposal. We had just  recently attained our PE (Professional Engineer) licenses, so we felt a nominal fee was warranted. We called ourselves Kimmel Gerke Associates.

The school jumped at it. When the dust all cleared, we probably earned a few dollars an hour. But we had tasted blood, and we had our first job under our belts.

We did many subsequent projects for the school (at improved rates). These included developing/presenting on-site training for several local companies (anybody remember BASIC?) The capstone was winning a state grant to develop a multi-year program on printed circuit board design, which was a nice chunk of change.

Other consulting projects began to emerge too. We were approached by a local county medical society to help them select a computer system. A small manufacturer asked us to develop a marketing white paper. Our side hustle was starting to generate some serious side income.

So why didn’t we break free? Well, actually I did — for three months. It took that long to realize I still needed to learn a LOT more about consulting, and I also needed to have a LOT more money in the bank.

Back to the corporate world I went, sadder but wiser — and also more determined that ever to make my own JumpToConsulting. It finally happened several years later, but it might never have happened without the original side hustle.

What about YOUR side hustle? Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you enjoy it? No sense doing it if it isn’t fun. After all, it is YOUR hustle.
  • Can you make money at it? The  bottom line.  But if your are not sure, a side hustle can be a good way to test a market without risking everything.
  • Any conflicts of interest? This is both an ethical issue, and a practical issue. Not a good idea to risk you day job over a side hustle. Keep it legal too.

Make a list of possibilities. A good place to start is Pam Slim’s original post, “What’s Your Side Hustle?” Be creative, and add your own ideas – even if the seem esoteric. Who knew there was a market for a couple of Electromagnetic Interference engineers?

Finally, give some thought to WHO your potential clients are, and HOW you would reach them.  This is called marketing — the linchpin of small consulting practices. No clients — no business.

Hustle on!

© 2013, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Consulting as a Path to Financial Independence – Part II…

In my last post, I discussed how consulting eventually led me to Financial Independence. The primary focus was prior to making my JumpToConsulting. In this post, I’ll elaborate on things done at and after my break for freedom.

First, I put away a startup stash. This is key, as there is nothing worse than having to give up too soon because you’ve run out of money. In my case, I had enough for six months with no revenue, or a year with half revenue.

Although I was pretty sure I’d make it this time (after a false start a few years earlier), a safety net still made sense. That also made Mrs. JTC more comfortable, although she was behind me right from the start. Plus as an engineer, it is always good to have a Plan B.

As it turned out, we never really needed to dig into the startup stash. Thanks to all the plans and a couple of startup contracts, we ran in the black right from the start. And although I stepped out first, my business partner was able to join me in a few months.

Next, we watched our income/outgo like a couple of hawks. No fancy offices – we both used spare bedrooms in our homes. No fancy cars either. Neither were really necessary, as most of our business was on-site, and often out of town.

Each month we would review both our bookings and our billings. The latter is really important for cash flow. Unfortunately, clients often delay paying (particularly their smaller vendors), so you need to stay on top of your the payables.

We did spend money on necessities, such as collateral (business cards, brochures, etc.) but even then we did not overspend. No fancy multicolor brochures — just two colors (blue and gray) on gray stock. We did hire a graphics artist for a logo and typesetting, and it all turned out very professional looking.

After two years, we set up retirement accounts. By that time, we knew we were going to make it, and the income was more predictable. Our accountant suggested Keogh plans, which let us put away up to 25% of our income in tax deferred accounts.

To even out the personal cash flow, we both drew modest salaries – about 80% of our previous corporate salaries. This forced us to be frugal, and helped maintain a cushion in the business account for slow months. It also assured that the Keogh funds would be available at year end.

Any additional profits were distributed as a bonus. Since we were a Subchapter S corporation, these were not “retained earnings” so we paid taxes on the bonus. These funds were put into our regular savings/investments.

At our accountant’s advice, we eventually hired a “fee only” financial advisor. Good thing we did — when the market went sour, he minimized our losses. That lets us focus on making money, while he manages it. Like us, he is a professional who knows his stuff and does his job well. We consider it money well spent.

A word of caution! You need to discuss these issues with financial professionals – your accountant, attorney, and financial advisor (if you have one.) The laws are constantly changing, and unless you are a financial professional yourself, you need their advice. The last thing you need is to tangle with the IRS.

Finally, we didn’t win the lottery — our incomes were comparable with corporate salaries for engineers, plus a reasonable profit for our risk. It was the combination of regular savings in the tax deferred retirement plan plus self-enforced frugality that eventually led to Financial Independence.

You can do it too, and you don’t need to be a consultant. But you do need to exercise some financial discipline and planning. Trust me, it is worth it! Good luck…

© 2013 – 2014, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

You don’t need to outrun the bear…

One of my favorite stories, I often share this with wanabee or newbie consultants. It goes like this:

Pat and Mike are out in the woods hunting. They hear a lot of noise in the brush, and suddenly a bear appears fifty yards away.

They decide to run. But after a few yards, Pat stops, drops his backpack, and removes his heavy boots.

Mike says, “Fool, you can’t outrun the bear that way.”

To which Pat replies, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun YOU.” (With apologies to me Irish friends and ancestors.)

Yes, it is an old story, and a bit corny too. But it does capture the essence of what we do as consultants. You don’t need to know everything about everything — you just need to know enough to help your clients.

Too many people worry about the bear. Rather than jump in, they hold back. They already know enough to be a successful consultant, but they keep spending more time and more money on more seminars, more workshops, more books, more programs, more CDs, more DVDs, or more ???

And there are plenty who feed on those insecurities — particularly in the on-line world.  Ever wonder why they aren’t out there doing it for themselves?

In fairness, there are a few (VERY few as near as I can tell) who have actually done what they promote, and who are willing to share what they know at a reasonable price (sometimes even for free.) Those are the ones you want to follow and learn from!

No, you don’t need to outrun the bear. But you do need to get into the hunt. And best to do so with those who already know how to hunt, and how to outrun the other guy in the first place.

Happy hunting!

© 2013, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Top 10 Reasons to Become an Independent Consultant…

With apologies to David Letterman…

10 – MONEY Can lead to Financial Independence. It ultimately did for me.

9 – PLACE Choose your own work location. Worked out of my home for the past 30+ years, and must say I really enjoy the commute. The view from the patio is nice too.

8 – TIME – Set your own schedule. Never did like the idea of 8 to 5. Or worse, never liked the idea of unpaid overtime. Much better to be PAID for working on a panic project.

7 – SECURITY – Can’t be fired. Took two layoffs to figure this out. Real security is having multiple “bosses” — no single client can put you out of business.

6 – SATISFACTION –
Do some good, have some fun, make some money. Nuff said.

5 – INDEPENDENCE – Call your own shots. Stop cleaning up messes made by others. As a minimum, you at least have the fun of making the messes in the first place.

4 – LEADERSHIP –
Be a leader, not a follower. Be the captain of your own ship, even if it is just a rowboat.  Besides, little rowboats can often go where the big boys can’t.

3 – LEGACY –
Make the world a better place.
Leave the world better than you found it. Like teaching, your counsel and advice may well outlive you.

2 – LIFESTYLE –
No need to conform. Work when you want, where you want, and as much or as little as you want. You can even wear goofy hats!

1 – FREEDOM –
That is what really drives Uncle Daryl. Rule your world! Do it YOUR way!

Upon reflection, these top ten rules apply to almost ANY small business!

© 2013 – 2014, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

You don’t need an MBA to consult…

I’m living proof. No MBA, and in fact, I’m an MBA dropout. But more on that later.

This post was precipitated by a recent post by Martin Zwilling at Startup Professional Musings, where Martin discusses the pros and cons of an MBA for entrepreneurs.

His advice is right in the title – Don’t Delay Your First Startup to Get an MBA. I could not agree more — don’t delay a JumpToConsulting for the same reason.

Now my personal dropout story.

I had just started a new job as a Field Sales Engineer.  My new boss, who I admired, was an EE with an MBA from a local university. When asked, he spoke highly of the program, and encouraged me to take advantage of the evening program and the tuition reimbursement.

So I enrolled. The first courses were interesting, and I learned some good stuff about finance and accounting. However, it was apparent that the MBA was designed to prepare one to move up in the corporation – not to start your own venture.

By that time in my career, I was already smitten with the entrepreneurial  itch. Unfortunately, you can’t shake it.

So I was faced with a decision — spend the next two years studying to become a corporate rat, or spend the next two years plotting and planning my eventual escape to independence through consulting. As you may have guessed, I did the latter. Damn glad I did, too!

Incidentally, this is not meant to disparage the MBA, or any other advanced degree. (My older son has an MBA, and it has helped him immensely.) If you already have one, toot your horn. After all, you worked hard for it and you earned it!

But as Martin points out, if you are itching to be an entrepreneur, more education may actually slow you down. Unfortunately, many people use getting an advanced degree as a crutch in lieu of just jumping in and starting something.

Some advice for my fellow geeks. I agree with Martin — if you have NO business background, the MBA can give you basic business knowledge. But so can a few good business books.

Or, you can do like I did, and get a job as a Sales Engineer. I learned more about business, sales, and marketing in the first year that I had in the previous ten years as a design engineer. Plus the real world sales experience was far more valuable than any theoretical MBA class could provide. Nothing quite like doing it to really learn it!

Finally, if you really want an MBA, the go for it. But just make it will take you where you want to go.

PS – If you have the entrepreneurial itch, sign for Martin Zwilling’s blog. It is a daily dose (yes, every single day) of solid business advice from a fellow Arizona Baby Boomer with a ton of experience as a successful entrepreneur.

© 2013 – 2017, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Why critics don’t count…

Did you ever notice that there are no statues for critics?

President have them. Statesmen have them. Military heroes have them. Even business leaders have them. But NOT critics. Hmmm… there must be a lesson here.

So what propels critics? In some cases ego. In other cases a desire to tear you down. And occasionally, an honest desire to actually help you improve. Often it is hard to determine the underlying motives.

Not saying you should ignore critics. If the criticism is valid, take it and learn from it. If the criticism is invalid or comes from someone unqualified, just ignore it. Either way, don’t dwell on it or take it as a personal attack (even if it is…).  It is often the price you pay for visibility and success.

Here is a story from early in my career.

I was transferring to a job where I would be dealing directly with customers, rather than being a back room engineer.

Stan, my boss (and a wise retired Marine colonel,) offered some unsolicited advice which later proved invaluable. As he wished me good luck, he added, “You are now going to be highly visible. Don’t take any criticism personally — to those critics, you are just a target.”

At the time, I wondered why he said that. But it wasn’t long before I was hit by some undeserved criticism. Thanks to Stan, I saw it for what it was, and didn’t take it personally. I was just a convenient target.

Fast forward 30 years, and here is another story.

In this case, I was only an observer. One of our colleagues had just published a book, which became quite successful. Unfortunately, that success prompted some petty jealousies within our engineering community.

Another colleague was ranting on about how the book wasn’t really that good. To which my business partner said, “Well, it’s better than your book.” Miffed, the critic replied, “Well, I haven’t written a book.” The touché by my business partner, “That’s my point.”

As a consultant, you will often be the target of criticism — often unjustified. If so, you can always comfort yourself with this century old quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts…

Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
Or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,
Who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again,
Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.

But who does actually strive to do the deeds,
Who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions,
Who spends himself in a worthy cause,
Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
And who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

That quotation has hung in my office for years, as a reminder of what is REALLY important!

© 2012 – 2016, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

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