Success Stories

A Success Story – Susan Kimmel, Ph.D. – Medical Market Research

It gives me great pleasure to introduce our latest success story, Dr. Susan Kimmel the daughter of my late business partner Bill Kimmel.

Susan received her PhD in Business from the University of Michigan. After trying teaching, Susan decided academia was not for her, so she pursued a career in market research. This eventually led to a position with Guidant Technologies, a leading medical device manufacturer in Minnesota’s “medical alley.”

After watching her dad enjoy the consulting life, she became infected with “The Itch.” Once that happened, there was no turning back. Thanks to her dad’s advice and her own hard work, she and her business partner Beth have run their own very successful consulting firm since 2007.


Here is Susan’s Success Story:

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

Four major factors:

(1) I began doing market research for Guidant (now Boston Scientific) in 2001, and by 2004 was at the top of the market research function there. I had hit the ceiling, with little prospect for additional growth at the company.

(2) During my time at Guidant, I noticed almost no market research suppliers really understood how to do good market research for medical devices. With my background working inside a med device company, I knew few suppliers would be able to match my level of knowledge about the market.

(3) Beth, my current business partner. One day I was (once again) complaining about management when all of the sudden she said that we should go into business together. As we talked it through, it seemed to be a great move for us – both professionally and personally – while giving us more spend time with our young kids.

(4) My dad, Bill Kimmel. He had already”primed the pump” by showing me that it could be done and helped me to understand all of the great things – as well as the drawbacks. I remember him once telling me that I had the disease that would lead me to go out on my own, “but it’s not terminal yet.”

(2) How has it been going? You’ve been at it a while, so obviously you are established.

It’s been fabulous – we’ve done much better than we ever hoped!

I remember going to the bank to open our corporate bank account.There we were, talking to some young kid pushing the paperwork. Just to make conversation, he asks “So how much do you think you’re going to make?”

We look at each other and sort of shrugged, not really knowing how long it would take to be “in the black” – or the point where we would at least make our old salaries.

Then he says “So how much, like $10,000?” We laughed about it later, guessing he was looking at two moms with young kids and thinking we were going to bake cookies or something.

Fortunately, that was NOT the case. We started taking small paychecks within a couple of months, and equaled our old salaries in 2-3 years. I’m saying 3 years because Beth had a baby after year one, and I slowed a bit in year two with two young ones of my own.

We’ve never looked back. We are now even subcontract work to colleagues (often moms).

(3) What do you like MOST about consulting (your own business?)

Consulting plays to my strength – doing the work.

People hire me because they know I can do the work – and do it well. I was recognized for that when employed, but I didn’t do well at managing the politics, which sometimes bit me in the butt.

Sure, I’m still affected by the client politics, but working with multiple clients/companies diversifies the portfolio. No more “I could lose my job” issues.

The other fabulous aspect is the flexibility  I can plan long vacations as long as it’s well in advance. I can chaperone my kid’s field trips or take them to music lessons in the day without having to ask someone. I control my time.

(4) What do you like LEAST about consulting (your own business?

The level of responsibility can be scary.

If I mess up something, I need to redo it at my expense (I bid on a project basis most of the time). That could eat up profits and I might end up donating my time.

The buck stops with me. I don’t have a boss to help “fix it”. Knock on wood, I’ve managed to not get burned too much, but the vigilance to minimize that risk can be stressful.

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

Luckily for me, getting the work done well at Guidant created a lot of good will for my “brand”.

And while I felt at times like management didn’t really recognize my efforts as much as I’d have liked, in the end it created some great contacts, referrers, and potential clients.

Close to 100% of our client base are from colleagues at Guidant; referrals from those colleagues, or referrals from the referrals.

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

As a purchaser of market research at Guidant, I had a pretty good idea of our “market value.”

First I created an outline of competitive pricing for common services we planned to offer. I combine that with an estimate of my time at my internal hourly rate to create a project cost estimate.

The hourly rate has evolved over time, based on discussions with colleagues who do similar work. As a result, I have a pretty good feel for what is market acceptable.

We also subcontract some specialized parts of the market research (this is common, even for larger companies), so of course I get bids from my suppliers and include that in the estimate. .

But I always go back to the “market rate” and compare it to that. I aim to be competitive, but if it is an area of special expertise I will charge more.

So there is some art mixed in there with the science. In the end, the market will give you feedback on whether or not your pricing worked!

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

As mentioned earlier, my business partner and I noted that medical device market research was an underserved niche that we are good at – and few others are.

That, and we both love the business. These are cool products that involve high technology, and they help people. So something we like – are good at – and benefits others – kind of a no brainer. Why even think about cookies?

Also, primary market research (we do mostly surveys and in-depth interviews) is an area where we have strong expertise, and something that companies need and are willing to pay.

We found it easier to build and sustain a business in a specific niche, as opposed to colleagues who struck out to do generic  marketing.

(8) Lessons learned since you started consulting?

First of all, my dad has once again proved to be a genius. (Ed note – Yes , he was!)

 So much of what he told me held true. Things like “It’s not a project until the money is in the bank”.

I also learned that cutting the price to get the business work is a BAD idea! The idea of working for cheap makes me cranky the whole time, and then there’s the slippery slope of the client expecting the same price again next time. Best avoided!.

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

Dad always told me, “While lots of people would LOVE to do consulting, most just can’t generate the business”.

Now that our company is mature, and we don’t need to market as hard anymore, we’re set. Besides, no one would be willing to pay me what would be required to go back to working at an office with a boss.

Also attractive – I am now 50 – is knowing this is something I can dial down whenever I like. I don’t need to keep going full steam and then suddenly quit and it’s over. There’s a lot more choices. Dad pretty much epitomized this.

(10) Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to colleagues who might be thinking about consulting (or going out on their own?)

Look at what you are doing now, what you do well, and what you enjoy.

People sometimes call me an entrepreneur, but I disagree. When I think of entrepreneurs, I think of creating a totally new business (like making cookies).

We simply took something that we were doing well (while working for somebody else), tweaked it, and then sold those services to people with whom we have real, established business relationships.  When done as a continuation of something you’re already successful at, the transition can be smooth indeed.

Susan Kimmel, PhD – Partner – in2ition

www.in2itioninc.com – 800.796.5162

Susan resides in the Twin Cities of Minnesota with her husband and two sons. She has a beautiful office in her home, which means that in addition to having no boss, she has no commute. 


P.S. I disagree that she is not an entrepreneur. In my opinion, anyone who starts and runs a business qualifies. But like may consultants, she is a “lifestyle entrepreneur” – keeping her business small while carving out her own path – just like her Dad. Well done, Susan!

© 2016, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Three Favorite Lifestyle Bloggers…

Scored the hat-trick*… meeting THREE of my favorite bloggers/authors/philosophers all in one week. How great is that?


Chris Gullibeau – Art of Non Conformity Chris was in town promoting his latest book, Born For This, already #5 on the NY Times nonfiction list.(To be reviewed in a future post.)

Like his earlier two books, this one focuses on figuring out your mission in life — and then doing something about it. He stresses the intersection of Joy-Money-Flow. Similar to my personal philosophy of Do Some Good – Have Some Fun – Make Some Money.

Chris also stresses the importance of quitting. Sometimes things just don’t work, and it is time to move on and try something else. Good advice, but counter to the conventional wisdom that “Winners Never Quit/Quitters Never Win” I agree with Chris — check this.

Along with his three books and other projects, Chris has visited every country in the world — a quest he completed by age 40. An interesting person, and worthy of reading his books and following his blog.


Pam Slim – Escape From Cubicle Nation & PamelaSlim.com – Pam was at the same book event to introduce Chris, a longtime friend. He claims her as his inspiration. I share the same sentiment, as Pam was an inspiration for JumpToConsulting.

Pam has two books under her belt, and has a third underway. Like Chris, she also focuses on careers and the world of work. As her first book name suggests, she is an entrepreneur and has helped many make their “escape” from soul sucking corporate jobs.

Her second book mellowed a bit, as she share insights about succeeding in the corporate world — at least if you are so inclined. After all, not everyone should be a solo entrepreneur. We still need big companies for big enterprises. I mean, would you fly on JumpToConsulting Airlines? I wouldn’t.

But the best part of seeing Pam again was simply getting a big hug from this very caring fellow Arizona blogger. Thanks, Pam.


Bob Lowry – Satisfying Retirement Journey – Mary and I had lunch today with another fellow Arizona blogger and his wife Betty. Bob was forced into an early retirement fifteen years ago, and started blogging about it at Satisfying Retirement Journey. 

Like Chris and Pam, Bob has a book under his belt along with hundreds of advice-filled blog posts. It is one of the more popular retirement blogs, and for good reason.

In addition to blogging and writing, Bob and I share interests in ham radio and RVs. In fact, as we traded RV stories, by the end of lunch we were both ready to head out for some new RV adventures.


A common thread shared with all three — along with blogging — is that all three have been consultants in past lives.

  • For Chris, it helped pay some bills starting out, but he soon moved on to group events like the World Domination Summit which now draws thousands every year to Portland, OR. Like training, he figured out how to leverage his unique talents.
  • For Pam, it was a transition from corporate life to that of a solo entrepreneur. She used the consulting fees she earned to be her own venture capitalist. She loves to tell the story of being pregnant, puking in the gutter, and then getting on a plane to visit clients – multiple times. Talk about dedication to starting a business!
  • For Bob, he ran a successful one-person consultancy for many years. He traveled all over the country as a radio advertising consultant. This was a natural for an ex-DJ and he had a great time. Joy-money-flow indeed. Then the market changed, and the business dried up. But he realized that he had enough stashed away, and that he no longer enjoyed getting on a plane every week anyway. So he switched gears, and started blogging, writing, and just enjoying life.

Three inspiring author/bloggers who have trod the consulting path, and who now share their advice and life experiences with their followers. It is a sincere pleasure to share all three with you!

When you’re done here, hop over to their blogs:
The Art of Nonconformity – Chris Gullibeau
Escape From Cubicle Nation/Pamela Slim – Pam Slim
Satisfying Retirement Journey – Bob Lowry

*A natural hat trick occurs when a player scores three consecutive goals, uninterrupted by any other player scoring for either team. The NHL record for the fastest natural hat trick is 21 seconds, set by Bill Mosienko in 1952 for the Chicago Blackhawks. — Wikipedia

© 2016, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

A Success Story – Bill Schweber (PE) – Engineer/Author/Editor

Bill Schweber is a fellow member of the Laid-Off-Twice club. When it happened the second time two years ago, he decided to hang out his shingle and has been having a ball ever since.

Bill is an Electrical Engineer who specializes in technical communications. His quick success is no surprise. Engineers who can communicate effectively are special and in high demand. Consultants often thrive at the intersection of diverse skill sets.

Bill has written three text books, hundreds of technical articles, opinion columns, and product features. He was an editor for EDN (a leading trade magazine for EEs) and in marketing communications for Analog Devices (a leading vendor of analog and mixed signal ICs.) And much more, including analog and power electronics design.

As such, he had immediate visibility and credibility in the technical community.

I’ve know Bill for many years–it gives me great pleasure to share his success story here!

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

It was a combination of things: a layoff was the trigger, but I had become increasingly disillusioned and even cynical with all the corporate craziness, politics, constant changes in strategies and inexplicable rationales for each, and had a real desire to have more control–for better and worse–of my time and energy.

(2) How has it been going? Looks like you’ve been at it a while, so obviously you are established in your business.

Full-time writer about engineering advances, trends, products, and technical engineering topics since June 2012, and it’s been going well, I’m keeping busy full-time and with a solid queue of both first-time and follow-on projects.

(3) What do you like MOST about consulting (your own business?)

Ability to set my own priorities, with flexibility that suits my needs.

(4) What do you like LEAST about consulting (your own business?)

The usual complaint: the lag between starting a project, completing it, and getting paid!

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

I was a visible and reasonably well-known editor for many years at major trade publications, and had met many key players in person, so I was known by, or known to, many in the industry.

So I contacted many of them and said I was available, and that started things rolling. I also get a lot of referrals from clients to people they know and need help, as well as sales/marketing people who have customers who need help.

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

Usually I estimate using a fixed rate per word, but charging less if it is a re-write or there is a lot of good collateral available, and more if there is a lot of research needed. Or, I establish a fee for the project, based on how long I think it will take.

I rarely charge by the hour, it’s too awkward and leads to bad feelings (they think you are acting like a lawyer, stretching things out). But I have an internal per-hour rate I like each project to bring in, to justify if it is worth my time.

(7) How did you decide what to consult about (or focus on?) And why? (Third question I get asked.)

I focus on the fact that I am an engineer who really understands what the client is talking about; I am not just repeating the words to them. When they talk technical, I understand and can ask solid questions.

When I interview technical people at the client to get the information I need, I emphasize two things:

(a) this is not a “60 Minutes” ambush interview or hatchet job, and

(b) I am a real engineer with solid hands-on experience and broad expertise, not just a “science writer” or, worse yet, a journalist who talks smoothly and spells the words right, but doesn’t really understand the subject, the technical terms, the underlying issues.

This usually brings a major sigh of relief and minimizes the fear factor as well as their concern that I will not grasp the key points or get them wrong.

I also tell people that I spent 8 years in high-tech marketing, so I understand how to frame the result but also to ask the tough key questions up front:

-What is the story or product here?

-Who is the target for the resulting story (such as editors, end users, trade show audience, investors, co-workers)?

-Why would they be interested in reading it?

-What’s the audience’s background on this?

-And finally, the key questions: what’s significant about what you have, anyway? What do you bring to the party that’s new, noteworthy, or different?

(8) Lessons learned since you started consulting?

Most projects are hurry-up-and wait, then they move to crisis “we need it now” mode.

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

I plan to do this until I no longer can. I’d be a fool not to!

(10) Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to our fellow engineers who might be thinking about consulting (or going out on their own?)

Contact people who know and respect what you’ve done, tell them you are available if they need help, and ask them to let others know, as well.

Then deliver a quality, thorough, wrapped-up project with no loose strings, and do it on time or even ahead of deadline.

Bill Schweber, PE — Jaffa Engineering — schweber (at) att (dot) net

P.S. Been a bit sparse on posting of late. Took some vacation time, but now getting back into the groove. Thanks for riding along!

© 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.

A Success Story – Bob Bly, Copywriter

Always love it when a former engineer does well! And Bob Bly, a chemical engineer by training, has done very well as a marketing consultant who specializes in copywriting and related services.

Bob also shares his knowledge and ideas through a free e-mail newsletter, which I have received for several years. He has written 80 books, and sells numerous educational packages through his newsletter and web site (www.bly.com).

Like so many of us, Bob did not originally plan on becoming a consultant. But his love of writing soon caught up with him. Although a degreed ChemE, his first employer hired him as a technical writer. He then moved into technical marketing, and the rest, as the old saying goes, is history.

Bob combines the analytical mind of an engineer with the creative mind of a writer. How is that for a niche? He is also an astute business person, and at 56 is financially secure. But he still works 12 hour days, which he describes a pure fun.

Here are Bob’s responses to my Success Story questionnaire. Very succint!

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

My boss asked me to move from NYC to Wichita Kansas in 1981 and my fiancee would not go. So I quit my job.

(2) How has it been going? Looks like you’ve been at it a while, so obviously you are established in your business.

Full time freelance copywriter since February 1982.

(3) What do you like MOST about consulting (your own business?)

Writing copy for my clients– copywriting is what I love to do.

(4) What do you like LEAST about consulting (your won business?

Advising clients who know less than me, are not successful, and need help, but then when I advise them, argue with me.

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

I have been around so long people know who I am and where to find me — I get more inquiries than I can handle every week of the year.

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

My fee schedule is attached. (Note – Please contact Bob directly for his rate sheet at rwbly@bly.com.)

(7) How did you decide what to consult about (or focus on?) And why? (Third question I get asked.)

I am a copywriter and do that because when I had staff positions, that was the only part of the job I enjoyed.

(8) Lessons learned since you started consulting?

Most clients won’t take most of your advice most of the time.

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

I plan to do this until I no longer can.

(10) Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to our fellow engineers who might be thinking about consulting (or going out on their own?)

There is a lot of competition today. What will set you apart from the rest of the pack? If you don’t know, then don’t do it.

Thank you, Bob, for sharing your story! Although I’ve not personally met Bob, we’ve exchanged e-mails, and I’ve found him to be a very gracious person.

PS – Just purchased Bob’s latest Kindle book (Don’t Wear a Cowboy Hat Unless You Are a Cowboy –  And Other Grumblings From a Cranky Curmudgeon). Could not put it down… 75 of his favorite pearls of wisdom. Humorous yet blunt… Bob is another Andy Rooney!

© 2013, 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.

A success story – Kellie Hedrick, PE

Time for another interview with another successful consulting engineer — Kellie Hedrick, PE, of Environmental Process Solutions PLLC.

Kellie is a Civil Engineer and a Registered Professional Engineer (PE), and specializes in wastewater treatment. How about that for a unique consulting niche? She has been in full time practice since 2010, and is located in Charlotte, NC.

I first connected with Kellie on a small business forum on LinkedIn, so I asked her to share her experiences and advice here.

Here is the interview:

(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?

Like a lot of people in 2008/2009, I was laid off. After looking for a job for about a year, I found that it seemed people needed my assistance on more of a part time basis.

After contracting a little bit, I decided it would be better to form a company and start consulting, so I officially launched my company in 2010.

(2) How has it been going? Looks like you started in 2010, so obviously you are established in your business.

Business has been reasonably good. I really enjoy working with industrial wastewater and helping my clients gain or maintain compliance with their discharge permits.

It makes me incredibly proud to solve problems my clients are facing and the fact that I can get paid to do what I love makes it the perfect situation for me.

(3) What do you like MOST about consulting?

I like working with different companies and solving different problems. I tend to get bored working on the same thing all the time, so the variety I get with my company is very nice.

(4) What do you like LEAST about consulting?

I was never fond of the typical engineering consulting format. I prefer more of the contracting type jobs where I’m providing a routine (or maybe not so routine) service over a long period of time.

The typical engineering format seems to be to get a project, design something to fix the problem, possibly oversee installation and move on. The design aspects take so long and require more office work that I really like to do.

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

The majority of my clients have come from referrals either from former co-workers or from vendors I work with on a routine basis. I have gotten one or two random client calls and it seems that they usually originate from them finding my Manta page.

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

I did a lot of research initially and based my starting fees on information I found on the GSA website for government contractors. From there, I have adjusted a little to try to be generally in line with firms in my local area.

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

I had my area of expertise and there are many consultants working in the environmental industry, so with my focus on wastewater engineering and operations, I decided I’d see if I could make it on my own.

(8) Lessons learned since you started consulting?

Networking is extremely important.  As is keeping your name out there online.

As a business owner, you start out doing all jobs and so far, I’ve found that Michael Gerber’s E-Myth Revisited book to be extremely accurate in the depiction of a person who starts on their own with a love for what they do in their business and how much of a struggle it is to expand into actually running a business rather than managing a job.

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

At this point, I’m enjoying what I’m doing and where I am with growing my business, so I’m likely to stick with it for now. I haven’t made any long term plans other than the fact that I plan to work forever and never retire.

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

Make sure that you learn the business side of setting up a consulting company. I’ve been at it for about 3 years now and still have a ton to learn about the business side. I love learning, so I’m still going for it.

I think I’ve been lucky to have good networking groups in Charlotte, NC where I can attend a learning session along with meeting lots of new people.

Thank you, Kellie! Perhaps your story will inspire and encourage other engineers wondering if they too could make their own JumpToConsulting. (One of the secret objectives of this blog.)

Finally, in closing – a bit of engineering humor. When I once chided my brother (a retired Civil Engineer) about his own wastewater projects, he responded “Well, it may be sewage to you, but it is MY bread and butter.”  Gotta love that engineering attitude…

© 2013, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

A success story… ViewThatData.com

Just got this e-mail from “C,” who you have already met in previous posts. We kept her name private, but she is now happy to share some details of her brand new consulting practice.

Catherine helps organizations better organize, analyze, and use their client/member databases using mapping technology. This is based on her years of experience providing this service for government agencies.

What an interesting consulting niche! And what a great example of leveraging specialized experience, and transferring specialized technology to new markets.

Hi Daryl,

I’m sure it seems like I dropped off the face of the earth, but alas I got my first check for my very first client this past Friday.

Which was a totally different client than the one I thought was going to be first. (They are still interested so they claim but are not moving forward.)

My first (real) client wanted a poster size map of their family farm with boundary lines, aerial photo, and topography.

I had invoiced them on June 17 and when 30 days went by with no payment (the payment terms on invoice) I had to give a little nudge but check was delivered on Friday July 26.

So I am OFFICIALLY in business 🙂

All the best — Catherine

Here is my reply:

Hi Catherine,

CONGRATULATIONS! Yes, you can now say you are OFFICIALLY in business. Feels great, doesn’t it?

Not terribly surprised that the first one didn’t pan out right away – that is often the nature of this business. You need to keep on turning over new rocks.

And now, onward and upward to the next client, right?

Thanks for sharing your success! — Daryl

We first connected via Mr. Money Mustache, my favorite blog on financial matters. Written by another engineer who achieved financial independence at the tender age of 30.

No magic either — just a combination living below his means and stashing away as much as he could for several years. Similar to the focus and discipline it takes to start a consulting practice (or any other small business.)

Catherine is following the same path, and is using her part-time consultancy to improve her retirement stash. Way to go, Catherine!

Since then, we’ve exchanged a few e-mails, some which are summarized in my blog.

It delights me to hear of her success… it’s one of the reasons I started this blog!

To find out more, visit Catherine’s web site at ViewThatData.com. So, any success stories YOU would like to share?

© 2013, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

A Success Story – Beningo Engineering…

Here is my first “interview” — Jacob Beningo of Beningo Engineering. It was his newsletter that provided the humor in the previous post.

Jacob speciaizes in the “development and design of  quality, robust embedded systems.” He has a degree in Electrical Engineering (another gEEk), started consulting in 2009, and has been on his own since 2011.

Here is the interview:

(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?

Pretty much since I was a Junior in high school I’ve had the itch to start my own engineering/consulting company. However, I didn’t start to give it serious thought until the 2007/2008 timeframe when I was working as the lead engineer at a start-up.

That company didn’t survive the economic down turn of the time but I started working at a university and started my company as a part-time side project at the same time. I guess you could say that the collapse of the start-up helped give me the extra push to have more control over my own career.

Over the next two years my part-time company eventually got enough work to support a full-time engineer. I took the plunge and have now been doing this full-time plus for the last two years.

(2) How has it been going? See you started in 2009, so obviously you are established in your business.

Paperwork and my first client was back in 2009 mid year. I consistently had part-time work for around a year and half before going on completely on my own in 2011.

In 2011 I was actually working full-time as a W2 employee of one of my clients from the year previously. We were developing sensors for measuring blast profiles from IED’s in the defense industry and there was enough work there that I went on there full-time until the project was completed.

(3) What do you like MOST about consulting?

The best part is all of the projects and technologies I get to work with. Working for just one company you often get highly specialized or forced to live within a small box within the larger design cycle.  I don’t have those restrictions.

I get involved sometimes as early as designing the system requirements, in the heavy development or sometimes at the end just to perform system verification. I have my specialization but also still keep a good birds eye view to understand the technologies and industries and see where they are going which helps my clients immensely.

(4) What do you like LEAST about consulting?

The thing I like least is having to sell. I always feel like I’m boasting when I go through our capabilities, what we bring to the table and what we have done. The customer though wants to feel like they are getting an expert in the field even though, in my opinion, expertise is fleeting with the rate at which technology changes.

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

Word of mouth is one of the best techniques for me in addition to LinkedIn. I’ve found that networking with people and just getting in front of someone for 30 minutes with some example projects can go a long way.

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

I like to use the different consulting salary surveys such as the IEEE consultant survey. It gives a good idea of what other consultants are charging. The value tends to be on average $110 – $120 which is also what a typical engineering company will charge per hour as well.

Personally I like to come in below that average. I can easily reference that average figure and then show them how they are getting a deal immediately. The quality of our work for the price I think really goes a long way.

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

I consult about what I know. I’m an embedded systems guy with a heavy focus on embedded software.  It is what I know best so my clients get the best value by having me consult in that area.

Now that doesn’t mean that I always just do software. Embedded software is tightly coupled to electrical design and hardware. Sometimes I’ll consult just on the hardware design without any software input. Other times I’m given the entire project and design hardware and software, system tests and the whole thing.

If you are just starting out focus in on a niche and then over time open up capabilities. Starting out its tempting to go general to get any business but its better to just focus your attention on one thing.  (Easier to say than do).

(8) Lessons learned since you started consulting?

I’ve learned that I always have to be selling. Just because a big project comes along doesn’t mean that the selling can stop. That project will eventually end and if the selling stopped then there could be months before the next project comes along. Time needs to be set a side every day/week to network and work on selling your services.

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

The goal right now is to do this for a long time. Hopefully with time the work load will grow to where we can hire more consultants and eventually develop our own products. We are moving that way but consulting will remain a core for a very long time. It’s fun, challenging and working with different companies and people is just too much fun.

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

Focus on a single niche and go after it. Don’t generalize your service. Sell, Sell and then Sell some more. (Sorry that’s two pieces but once I start talking/writing it’s hard to stop).

Here are some of my comments to Jacob that you may find of interest: 

Thanks for the information. Although I’ve featured a few other firms, you are the first of my “interviews.” I’ll probably post that in a week or two.
 
Glad to hear it is going well. Once you get past the first year or two, you finally realize you’re going to make it. So, congratulations!
 
I certainly agree with your assessment regarding working on different projects. That has been a major appeal for me too.

Frankly, I wish more engineers would break loose so they could enjoy engineering again.  Way too many stuck in the corporate rut. It really pleases me to hear of your success.
 
Yes, selling can be a pain, but it is a fact of life when you are in business.

A little trick I play on myself is to treat the marketing and sales challenges as just another engineering challenge.  After all, we’re problem solvers, so what is another problem to work on?
 
I also consider myself a bit like a doctor — here to help clients either get well or stay well.  Put in that light, it doesn’t feel like I’m bragging when I explain what we can do for them. 
 
Finally, keep on having fun!

Would you like to be featured here? Answer the questions in an email. Can’t promise it will make you rich and famous, but it might just help inspire somebody else to make their own JumpToConsulting.

PS – You don’t need to be a geek — all are welcome to submit their consulting success story.

© 2013, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Resource Review – The Likeable Expert Gazette…

Recently ran across this web site and newsletter, and wanted to share it here. In addition to being a useful resource, it is also a delightful success story.

In 2000, Michael Katz launched Blue Penguin Development, a one man firm that teaches professional service providers how to position themselves as “likeable experts.” Much of his emphasis is on newsletters (a favorite technique of mine) and social media.

Following his own advice, he has published over 275 issues of “The Likeable Expert Gazette,” a weekly E-Newsletter with over 7000 subscribers around the world. Just added my name to his list, and really enjoy his musings. Light, refreshing, and easy to digest. (Gee, I sound like a food critic.) Nutritional, too.

Michael has a BA in Psychology, an MBA, and a past career as a columnist and humorist before going independent twelve years ago. He started about age 40 (boomers take note) and is still going strong. Best of all, he is as bald as a billiard ball, which always sits well with me. Hair is way overrated…

His services range from writing newsletters to helping with marketing. He does this through books, webinars, and individual consulting. If you sign up for his newsletter, he’ll even send you a link to his free E-Book, “It Sure Beats Working – 29 Quirky Stories and Practical Business Lessons for The First Time, Mid-Life Solo Professional.” Loved it!

I’ve not met Michael Katz, but hope to at some point in the future. It is a real pleasure to recommend him to those of you considering your own JumpToConsulting.

The Likeable Expert Gazettete, by Michael Katzwww.BluePenguinDevelopment.com

© 2013, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Success Story – Don the Engineer…

Boomers and geeks take note! Close to retirement, and wondering about consulting? My long time friend Don shows you a way.

Fresh out of engineering school, Don and I worked together in the late 1960’s at Collins Radio. In addition to both being EEs (Electrical Engineers), we shared a common interest in amateur (ham) radio – a hobby that got both us both started in electronics.

Within two years, we went our separate ways. Don headed back to his hometown of Chicago to work for Motorola, and I headed north the Minneapolis/St. Paul to work for Sperry Univac. We both remained involved with radios — Don as a systems engineer with VHF/UHF radio systems, and me as an EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) engineer.

Due to our mutual interests, we stayed in touch. Don progressed up the ranks, eventually becoming a Staff Engineer in charge of planning and installing sophisticated communications systems, including one at the White House. He enjoyed what he was doing, and never really considered being on his own.

But a few years before retirement, his company fell on hard times. Offered a lucrative buyout, Don took it. But not ready to hang up his spurs, he wondered what to do next.

This is where Uncle Daryl enters the scene.
You see, I’d been bugging Don to consider consulting for some time. He had a wealth of experience, tons of credibility, and the right credentials — both FCC licenses and a PE (Professional Engineer) license.

But Don was still unsure. Almost forty years of corporate living can do that to you.  So, when I called to inquire how things were going, he mentioned he was taking a short class on resume writing.

What!” I exclaimed. “I thought you were hanging out your consulting shingle.” He hemmed and hawed, so I said, “You know a lot of people in this business. Geez — just make a few phone calls and see where it leads.” He agreed to give it a try.

Actually, he didn’t even get that far. A colleague had just heard he had “retired”, and called Don to inquire about his availability. A nearby county was upgrading their public safety communications system, and invited Don to manage the project — and for a rather attractive fee at that.

Thus began Don’s consulting career.
He kept busy for the next several years on a number of similar projects. Most of his leads were referrals from former customers, colleagues, and even old ham radio buddies.

Thanks to all his hard work over the years, he had a ready made network. His marketing was minimal — all he needed to do was let the network know he was available.

One of those referrals came from Yours Truly. A former client called looking for some help with some VHF/UHF radio systems. Based on their problem, I immediately thought of Don. He took the job and solved their problem, making both of us look good.

The project required a mountain top visit — not your usual consulting job. I had visited the same mountain top for a radio frequency safety survey. There were also some strange radio phenomena on the mountain that needed Don’s attention.

We both agreed these were probably some of the more interesting projects either of us had undertaken. And the views from the mountain top were priceless!

Don finally decided to fully retire (no more mountain climbing.) He enjoyed his stint as a consulting engineer, and enhanced his retirement funds at the same time. He now enjoys his free time playing with his radios at his new retirement home in Tennessee.

So, is there a lesson in all this?

Yes, of course. If you are approaching retirement (or are already retired), you have plenty of very valuable expertise — probably more than you realize.

Consulting can be a good way to leverage all your years of experience. It can keep you involved, and it can help fund a lot of fun retirement stuff too!

© 2013, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Success Story… Prior preparation paid off…

As the Boy Scouts say… be prepared! Because Dave was prepared, he was able to make a rewarding career change to consulting after unexpectedly losing his job.

Dave’s experience was a actually a catalyst for Kimmel Gerke Associates. I knew Dave casually, and my business partner was pretty good friends with him.  It was the mid-1970s, and we all worked together at the same defense contractor.

Dave loses his job…

Due to a business downturn, a significant number of engineers were laid off — an occupational hazard of the defense business. Dave was a very competent engineer, but as he was just winding down on a project, management considered him “expendable.”

Job hunting was tough, as other defense contractors were downsizing as well. But several years earlier, Dave had obtained his PE (Professional Engineer) license. While this credential often means little in the defense industry, it is very important for engineers working for consulting firms. It is a bit like having a CPA license in an accounting firm.

Dave quickly lands a new job…

On a lark, Dave called up one of the largest engineering consulting firms in town to inquire about jobs.

  • The FIRST QUESTION was, “Do you have a PE license?”
  • With a YES answer, the SECOND QUESTION was, “What is your background?”
  • When he answered electronics, he was immediately invited in for an interview.

You see, most of their electrical engineers specialized in power, not electronics. A PE with electronics experience was rare. He had exactly what they needed to work on electronics systems in buildings — security, fire alarms, HVAC (heating/ventilation/air conditioning), etc.  Furthermore, as a PE, he could legally sign/seal the engineering drawings, and also supervise the work.

Prior preparation paid off…

Thus Dave began his new career. He called my partner and told him to “Go get your PE  — you’ll never know when you will need it!” Soon after, we were both enrolled in a class on the PE license. Not long after becoming licensed, we started our own part time consulting practice – later to become full time.

Today’s Lesson… Get credentials and licenses BEFORE you need them!

© 2011, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Integrity matters…

Roger Boisjoly, P.E.  – Truthteller

This success story is a shining example for all consultants — not just engineers. Roger is best known for trying to stop the Challenger Space Shuttle Launch in January 1986 due to his concerns about faulty O-rings in the rocket boosters. Although often referred to as a whistleblower, Roger prefers the term Truthteller.

Roger never intended to become a consultant. As a mechanical engineer, he enjoyed working in the aerospace industry for 25 years, and probably would have spent his entire career doing what he loved.

But all that changed the day Challenger exploded!

At the time, Roger worked for Morton Thiokol, the manufacturer of the solid state rocket boosters on the Space Shuttle program. In July 1985, Roger wrote a memo to his managers warning of a faulty design that could result in a catastrophe. Due to program concerns, Roger’s warning was ignored. So were subsequent warnings.

Roger’s memo was based on an investigation that revealed failures in the O-rings used to seal sections of the rocket boosters. These failures were aggravated by low temperatures. Further investigations resulted in a warning not to launch at temperatures under 53 degrees.

With overnight temperatures of  30 degrees for the Challenger launch, Roger and his engineering colleagues tried to stop the flight. They almost succeeded, but were subsequently overruled by management. As a result, seven crew members lost their lives in a fiery explosion 73 seconds after liftoff.

A presidential investigation followed the disaster, and Roger was called as a witness. His  testimony exposed the truth about senior management’s failure to heed warnings from him and his colleagues. Warnings about it not being safe to launch in freezing temperatures that would result in a disaster.

That testimony ended his career with the Space Shuttle program.
Retaliation was swift and brutal. Roger lost his position and was blackballed from the industry. He paid a stiff price for simply telling the truth.

But Roger survived, and became a consultant.
He passed his Professional Engineering (PE) exams 29 years out of college. Now licensed to practice engineering as an independent consultant, he started his own forensic business. That business gradually evolved into speaking engagements as he traveled nationally and internationally to lecture about Professionalism, Organizational Behavior and Ethics.

Roger is considered a hero in the engineering community. For his honesty and integrity, in 1988 he was awarded the Prize for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility by the American Association for the Advancement for Science.  He has received numerous other honors as well.

Roger retired from full time speaking requiring air travel in 2005, but still keeps semi-active driving to southern California several time a year to speak to selected managers about his experiences.

Integrity matters… Thank you, Roger, for yours.

Edit – It is with regret I report that Roger recently passed away.  RIP, Truth-teller.


© 2011 – 2012, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

A forensic consultant ramps up fast…

Gene K. Baxter, Ph.D., P.E. – Baxter Engineering

I met Gene a dozen years ago through a professional group in Phoenix. A mechanical engineer, Gene specializes in forensic consulting (accident investigations, product failures, etc.) Typical clients are attorneys or insurance companies that need a professional to investigate and assist in legal proceedings and, if it goes to trial, to act as an expert witness.

Gene had started a local professional group, the Forensic Group
, composed of a range of forensic experts — engineers, accountants, nurses, and more. Since I had done some forensic work myself, he invited me to join and attend their monthly meetings.

Although curious about the Forensic Group, I was even more curious how Gene got into this particular business. His story was most fascinating.

It was Friday, February 12, 1993, and Gene was suddenly out of work. Intrigued by both consulting and forensics for some time, he hung out his shingle as a Forensic Consulting Engineer two days later — Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1993.

The good news is that Gene had very solid credentials — a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, and a Professional Engineer’s (PE) license. The bad news is that he had no prior experience in forensic work, although he had experience as a consulting engineer while employed by GE.

So what to do? Gene went to the law library at a nearby state university, picked up some law magazines, and reviewed the consultant ads in the back of those magazines. He then called several of the consultants to see how they got started in their business.

One of these forensic engineers was Roger Boisjoly, who you may recognize as the Whistleblower (Roger’s term is Truthteller) prior to the Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster in 1986. It turns out that Roger lived only a few miles from Gene, so they got together for lunch.  (Roger’s story is so interesting we’ll cover it in a subsequent post.)

Soon after the lunch with Roger, Gene contacted another local forensic engineer, and had lunch with him, too. Both engineers were very gracious in sharing ideas and encouragement. They did not see Gene as a competitor, but as a potential colleague.

Gene thought likewise. Since he enjoyed meeting both, he suggested a third lunch with all three of them. One of them brought along a fourth friend who did forensic accounting. Over lunch, they decided to meet once a month to discuss their mutual interest in forensics, and thus, the Forensic Group was born.

Gene’s first consulting job came from this network.
A few months after their first meeting, Roger asked if Gene was interested in a job related to a hospital  HVAC (heating, ventilating & air conditioning) system. Thanks to that referral and the help from his group, Gene’s business was off and running.

Over the years, Gene has received several referrals from this network. Likewise, Gene has steered many jobs to others in the network when they were better qualified to handle the job. It has been mutually beneficial for everyone.

Gene pursued other avenues too — always a good strategy.
There is no “silver bullet” when marketing a consulting practice.  As one example, Gene started calling insurance companies to see if there was any interest in his services.

Although it took a number of phone calls, Gene hit pay dirt with one automobile insurer. They retained Gene to review rear end collisions. He became their “low-speed rear-end” expert, which resulted in dozens of consultations for this client alone.

By end of the year, Gene was making almost as much as he had as an employee. While not usually the case for a startup, it shows what diligence and determination can accomplish. That, and the help of some newfound friends.

Although semi-retired, Gene is still active, and the group he formed still meets monthly. If you are interested, you can visit Gene’s web site at www.forensicgroup.com. You can find Gene’s information there, too.

A quick disclaimer. I no longer pursue forensic work, but I’ll discuss forensic consulting in a future post. As Gene says, it can be both intellectually and financially rewarding.

Do you have a success story to share?  If so, please send it in.

© 2011 – 2015, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Karl the Engineer

A retired engineer does the math…

Every time I tell Karl’s story, it bring me joy. My engineering colleagues always love it, too. You see, when some big company bureaucrats (BCBs) tried to stick it to Karl, he struck back and won.

Karl didn’t intend to consult. Nearing retirement, he alerted his company that it was time to find or develop a replacement. His expertise was soon going out the door, and he planned to do a lot of fishing. Of course, BCBs dragged their feet, and one day, Karl retired. As planned, he went fishing.

After about three months, however, Karl was getting bored. Not only was he fished out, but he had made all the household repairs he had put off for so many years. Winter was on the way, and he wasn’t sure what to do next.

About that time, BCBs realized they needed Karl’s help. So they called him, and offered him a part time contract. But there was one small catch. Since he received a pension, any contracting fees would reduce his pension by $1 for each $2 in fees. Well, as Karl put it, “You didn’t need to be an engineer to do the math.” He politely refused their offer.

But since he already had his PE (Professional Engineer) license, he decided to form a one man consulting firm. He incorporated, and then asked the BCBs if “consultants” subject to the same pension cuts. “Well, no” they replied. So he quickly said, “Fine, we can do business. And here are my rates.” The rates were about four times what they originally offered him as a contractor.

It turns out they needed Karl — badly. They swallowed hard, and brought Karl in as a consultant.  He enjoyed it so much, he started consulting for other local firms too. When I met Karl, he was actually starting to wind down. A professional colleague, he became a friend who graciously shared advice and even sent referrals our way.

After hearing the story, it finally explained his aging Cadillac. I’d always been curious, since Karl just didn’t seem like a Cadillac person. Well, he needed a new car anyway, so he took his first consulting proceeds and bought a Cadillac. He told me he did it for the BCBs — whenever he came to consult, they got to watch him drive up in that Cadillac!

Karl finally did retire, but he had greatly enhanced his retirement funds. He and his wife traveled around the country in a motor home , plus they made several trips to Europe.  All this, plus the Cadillac, courtesy of his unintended consulting business.

Do  you have a success story to share?  Please send it in…

© 2011 – 2012, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.

Doing well by doing good…

Here is my first Success Story. These are tales of those who have succeeded at consulting (or small business in general.)  Many  are acquaintances, but feel free to send me your stories too.  This is one of my personal favorites.

I first met Lynn when we moved to Phoenix in 1996. She and her husband belonged to the church we joined. Lynn soon retired (her husband continued to work), but she wasn’t ready to slow down. Being socially conscious, she was looking for ways to contribute to the community.

Lynn had worked as a nutritionist, so she already had some specialized skills and experience.  She didn’t really intend to start a consulting business, but that was the ultimate result. At first, Lynn simply volunteered at one of the reservations in the Phoenix area. She was already aware of  some nutritional challenges faced in the Native American community, and just wanted to help.

Starting in the fall, she worked at no charge and with no expectations on compensation. The joy of working with her colleagues and seeing some success was more than enough. In the spring, she was asked if she would like to stay on for the next year, but with compensation. Unknown to her, grant money had been secured to support her efforts. It would mean traveling around the state, however, as her skills were needed in other Native American communities.

Lynn agreed, of course, and became a well respected nutritional consultant. The grants continued for several more years. She wore out two cars in her travels, but did a lot of good and made many new friends.  She also added to her retirement funds. Due to health limitations, she finally did retire, and enjoys life with her husband in Wisconsin.

Do  you have a success story to share? If so, please send it in…

© 2010 – 2012, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.