This is a blog about how to start, build, and operate a small or solo consulting practice. It is aimed at the following readers:
- Those ready to start (or already running) a part-time or full-time consultancy.
- Those who are over 35 (mid-life and beyond).
- Or those who are simply curious about consulting.
Others are welcome too. But the above reflect my personal experience as a semi-retired electrical engineer who began consulting in his 30s – spent over half his career as an independent consulting engineer – and had a ball doing so!
The goals here are to share ideas, demystify this business, and offer encouragement. Hey–I did it–and you can too!
As the co-founder a successful engineering consulting firm, I’m often asked about the “inside secrets of consulting.” Questions come from several directions:
- Clients (Can we go to lunch? I have some questions…)
- Colleagues (I’m curious… How did you do this, anyway?)
- Strangers (Oh, you’re a consultant? I’ve been thinking about that…)
- Other consultants (Can we compare notes?)
It is always fun to engage in these conversations, and I often learn more than I share.
A SPECIAL WELCOME to “Geeks and Geezers…”
If you are neither, but are just interested in consulting, you are still WELCOME here. After all, consultants come in all specialties, sizes, shapes, sexes, ages, and more.
Some FAQs about the blog…
WHY did you start this blog?
An unscratched itch, precipitated by a comment from my older son (an accountant).
In 2010, my son (the same age when I started consulting full time) said, “Dad, we should talk about consulting…”
He is only one of many people over the years who have inquired about consulting. Most were just curious, but several have since made a successful JumpToConsulting.
Well, I’d been harboring the idea of a introductory book on consulting (the unscratched itch) for several years anyway.
- A book aimed at the novice thinking about consulting — not necessarily the expert already in practice.
- A simple primer on consulting, based on my own experience — sharing things learned over 30+ years of starting and running a successful engineering consulting business.
- A guide for those who might want to follow the same path — or at least, those who want to check it out.
The book has been outlined, and there is even a big fat file of notes. But for various reasons, I kept putting it off. Then, the blog idea struck. Why not just start writing small pieces, and share them right away?
WHO should read this blog?
Anyone curious about the mysteries of consulting. Here are some examples of what I envision as a typical blog reader:
- You’re a frustrated corporate (rat) engineer (like I was 30+ years ago), and you wonder what its like to be a consultant, and how to get there.
- You’re a “big firm” accountant (like my accountant was 30+ years ago), and you’ve thinking about hanging out your own shingle.
- You’re an architect (like an ex-neighbor), and you want to do some moonlighting.
- You’re a lawyer who just wants to do something else (like an airplane seat mate who started her own firm on jury selection and is now having a ball.)
- You’re a retiree who wants to stay involved, like a friend who volunteered her skills to a local Native American school, and who ended up getting paid to travel all over the state — providing her immense satisfaction and enhancing her retirement.
Or maybe you are just thinking about joining the consulting/coaching ranks, and you’re seeking some practical information from someone who has actually been there.
WHAT will you cover?
A wide range of topics. The blog follows two parallel tracks:
- The first track focuses on the “nuts and bolts” of the consulting business — marketing, sales, finances, fees, operations, and more.
- The second track is more general, and includes success stories, resources, anecdotes, and perhaps even an occasional rant.
Initially, I’ve identified over 200 topics to discuss. That should keep us going for a while. With your feedback, I’m sure we’ll find even more.
WHEN will you update your blog?
At least twice a month, alternating between tracks. Since I’m still involved with my full time engineering practice, that may occasionally slip if my schedule gets too hectic.
As such, you may want to subscribe to the newsletter or RSS feed if you don’t want to check in.
WHERE will this take us?
Who knows? But life is a journey — and you’re invited to ride along with me for a while.
In closing, here is a favorite quote that captures the spirit of my blog. This plaque has hung on my wall for years:
“It is good to be a seeker,
But sooner or later you have to be a finder,
And then it is well to give what you have found,
A gift into the world,
For whoever will accept it.”
— Jonathan Livingston Seagull (by Richard Bach), one of my favorite books.
May you enjoy the gift of my blog…
Rules of Engagement…
Questions, feedback, and shared experiences are welcome. Comments will be prescreened to prevent spammers and trolls. Keep it friendly and helpful, and most important, have some fun.
Copyright 2010 – 2016 Daryl Gerke. The material in this blog is protected by copyright. You may excerpt passages as long as you attribute the source. References to this blog are always appreciated. All I really ask is that you don’t claim my material as your own.
© 2010 – 2016, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.