How I became a consultant | Consultant Journal

At parties, once people realize that I really am a consultant and not someone covering up for unemployment, they inevitably ask how I got into consulting. I became a consultant about 10 years ago, but not all at once. You see, at the time, I didn’t have any clients. Most people who become consultants are in the same position at first. (Unless, of course, someone tosses them some work and, boom, they’re a consultant.)

I ramped up to consulting work…

I’d thought about starting a business for years. I’d even figured out how to become a consultant. I’d put together a business plan, printed up business cards, carved out a niche and put my name out there. I’d even gone through a self-employment program, just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything along the way. However, when I finished my launch plans with the self-employment program, I realized I wasn’t quite ready to strike it out on my own – at least not on a full-time basis. Coincidentally, I was offered a full-time contract at a local software company and I leapt at the chance. After all, I’d planned to target my marketing services to local tech firms!

But I got a job instead!

And so, instead of pursuing consulting on a full-time basis, I got a job. No, not a second job — a full-time job. And I worked really hard at that job. I put in long hours and lots of unpaid overtime. I soaked up everything I could. And then someone who remembered me from the self-employment program gave me a call. They asked if I could put together an ad campaign for a local computer store.

And moonlighted…

Pretty soon, I was moonlighting as a marketing consultant. I stilled worked hard at my full-time job, but the occasional weekend and evening saw me doing consulting work. I loved it. When an ill-fated dot-com lured me away from my job – but blew up before I even started – I suddenly found myself out of work. And yet I wasn’t out of work. I had my consulting clients to keep me going. My old employer even hired me back on contract for a couple of months. Then, when that company downsized, my network spread across the city and I quickly found I was making more than I’d made in my full-time job, even after adjusting for benefits.

My older, wiser career advice…

The lesson I learned is that nothing has to happen overnight. Once you decide to become a consultant, you don’t have to take on the world. You can do it one step at a time.

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2 thoughts on “How I became a consultant | Consultant Journal”

  1. Rajeev Rangray


    I’ve taken the decission to become a consultant and have even started marketing my niche (open source apps). I have a client who requires solution that can be solved by a free app available online.

    The question is how do I bill him and because it is the first order I am not sure of the amount to quote and how to get the amount once the solution is provided.

    Please help.


    Rajeev Rangray

  2. Your stories are really encouraging. Keep it up…I want to become one and after reading your stories – I just want to start NOW!


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