What if it doesn’t work? At least you tried…
Probably the NUMBER ONE QUESTION if you are standing on the edge of the cliff, about ready to make your own JumpToConsulting.
So, what if it doesn’t work? The brother of Go-Daddy founder Bob Parsons once told him, “Well, if it doesn’t work, they can’t eat you.” Parsons is now a billionaire.
Incidentally, web registration was the backup plan for Go-Daddy — the original plan was on-line tax software. Always good to have Plan B!
Full disclosure — my son (a catalyst for this blog) was their Controller when Go-Daddy was just starting out. He has great stories about working for Parsons, and might have stayed but moved back to Minnesota for personal/family reasons.
My son has since gone on to several more entrepreneurial adventures – including a stint consulting – which ended when a client made him an offer he couldn’t refuse as a VP of Finance.
Probably the simplest solution is to climb back into the corporate womb. I did that myself after a false start. Got laid off (fired actually) from a startup, so I hung out my shingle.
Not good planning. After three months, it was clear this was not going to work — at least for now. My “Plan B” was to find another job, which I did.
But the itch was still there, so three years later I tried again — and succeeded — even though the stock market crashed the first day in business. Thanks to the first try, however, I was much better prepared.
But what if you are successful, and just don’t like it? There is no law that says you must stay a consultant forever. As a bonus — you are likely valued more by your new employer.
Here are two more examples:
Dave specialized in EMI/EMC engineering (electromagnetic interference and compatibility) as I did. He started several years before me, and built a successful practice.
Shortly after I made my jump, I ran into him at a trade show. He was now working for a company. Concerned, I asked him why.
“Why the move?” I asked. “And is there something I need to know?”
“No, not at all,” he replied. “A client made me a very attractive offer. Besides, I was getting tired of having to hustle for business. This new move is a dream job for me, but I only got it due the visibility of consulting.”
Dave did quite well in his new position and enjoyed in immensely.
Steve, another engineer, was a talented writer and editor of a technical magazine. We met through my efforts to write articles (a favorite marketing method) and stayed in touch.
Several years after I started JumpToConsulting, Steve hung out his consulting shingle as technical marketer. We shared ideas, and thanks to his talent, hard work, and contacts, he was very successful within a year.
But then Steve stopped consulting. Concerned, once again I asked why.
“What happened,” I asked.
” Well,” he said, “I discovered I really like working with a team, and not all by myself. I miss the camaraderie.”
So like Dave, he went to work for a favorite client. He quickly moved onward and upward in his career.
Some lessons learned here:
- You don’t need to be a consultant forever.
- You may be seen as more valuable for your experience.
- You have visibility to many more opportunities than had you stayed where you were at in the first place.
The downside is that once having tasted freedom it may be tough to go back. (It would be for me.) But given the right opportunity, maybe not. Careers can be funny that way.
P.S. Tagged this post in “Success Stories.” Even though all three examples eventually left full time consulting, they did so after trying and succeeding. No doubt they could do it again!
“Better to have consulted and quit, than to never have consulted at all.”
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