I have been in the IT field for two decades and have worked as a consultant for at least 10 years.
I am often asked the best way to start a career as an independent consultant by IT managers who are looking to do something different, enjoy more job flexibility, and, hopefully, make more money.
You will always need to be making contacts to get more business.
It's imperative that you constantly ask current clients for more work and also ask them if they know of other similar businesses that can use your skills.
It takes more than a business card and some organizational skills to start your own consulting business.
As one former IT leader explains, it requires skills, from accounting to time management, and there's more than just a few hurdles in the path.Of course, you will, hopefully, work more than 2,000 hours in a year, but you will never know this until you start.My company predicts 2,080 hours in a billable year because we want to earn the two-week vacation before we take it.This will also give you an idea of what kind of income you can expect when you go out on your own.The key figure you need to determine is what dollar amount you are worth to a client on the open market.This is an ongoing networking process that you need to develop to establish a long-term business.After you have answered these initial questions and are hopefully still excited about starting a consultancy, there are some basic steps to take.This is important because I have had clients who are very happy with my work until I send them an invoice.They will then argue that I didn't spend that much time on the project.I believe in a business plan, but my experience has shown that a lot of consultants spend quite a bit of time developing a great business plan but never get any billable income.That is why I don't advocate a business plan until you get revenue started.