Contracting and Consulting

How to find work, keep clients happy, run your business and keep your skills up to date.

Do They Really Know What They Need?

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Sometimes clients are confident creatures, certain of what they want and need and ready to explain it to us – the hired consultants – as soon as we walk through the door. While that sounds great, it’s generally not. Why? Because what they want and their proposed solution may not always line up. One client brought me in to help get a couple of failing projects back on track. I came in and managed the project schedule, the outside clients,… continue…

When Another Consultant is Called In

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If you’re a consultant then you’ll probably get this scenario. You know how the competition can be fierce for high school or college students trying to be at the top of their class? You want top billing so you have to remain confident, never show fear and never look weak or ask for any help whatsoever. Sound familiar? You must be oozing confidence…. In consulting, there really isn’t much difference if you happen to have company – meaning other consultants… continue…

Stay Away From These Types of Consulting Clients

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If you’re an independent consultant looking for your next big gig, you may not be looking for warning signs of relationships that can be, well, trouble. But those signs are often there, flashing brightly right in front of you. By learning from our own mistakes, we can recognize them. Yes, you may need the work. You may, in fact, be desperate for the revenue. But avoiding certain problematic clients by learning how to quickly identify them can save you a… continue…

Take Advantage of Those Consulting Gaps – Part 2

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I’ve been writing about what we can constructively do with the scary gaps in our consulting assignments, otherwise known as “bench time.” In part one, I looked at two of my five suggestions: Attend a Conference: You’ll learn about new technology and may be able to network and gain new clients in the process. Publish Expert Content Articles: Write about your areas of expertise. It’ll expand your horizons, get your name out to more potential customers and generally raise your… continue…

Take Advantage of Those Consulting Gaps – Part 1

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“Downtime” and “non-billable hours” are two terms that can strike fear into the most confident consultant – especially in a questionable economy. And for good reason: Too many of either can make the difference between succeeding and calling it quits. But downtime happens and it’s the reason we often charge what we do for our services. There’s rarely “100 percent utilization,” right? In reality, it usually ends up being 200 percent or 10 percent. Sometimes we work non-stop for 48… continue…

Success Tips for Business Analysis Contractors

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In a webinar from the International Institute of Business Analysis, Laurie Ryan gave some great advice on being a contractor Business Analyst, and shared some effective ways of succeeding from job to job. If you’re a contractor now, or are thinking of becoming one, here are some of Laurie’s nice, handy pieces of advice to keep in mind. Ask hiring managers as many questions as you want. They should be able to give you any information you need. If you… continue…

What If My Client Wants to Hire Me Full-Time?

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It’s always nice to be wanted – especially at the end of a job well done for a client you enjoy working for — and who now wants to hire you full-time. Of course, you need to take stock in their reasoning: Do they really want to keep you around forever, or is it more likely that they need you for longer than they anticipated, and/or it’s a cost-saving measure disguised as a compliment. Either way, it feels good and… continue…

4 Tips to Combat Consulting Burnout

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IT consultants can get worn out or burned out for a number of reasons, but those reasons can help you identify possible next steps to take to keep your career going. Let’s look at the reasons first, and then examine possible ways to combat burnout and keep moving forward. Technology Consultants have a reputation for living on the leading edge of technology and often see that as a reason they’re called in to save the day. It’s difficult to wake… continue…

3 Ways to Be Indispensible to Small Business

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Want to make your IT consultancy indispensable to a small business? Here are three key ways to make yourself the go-to consultant for the small company in need of your services. In my IT consulting work, I find that most startups and small businesses need help in these three key areas: Strategic planning Leading a critical or new strategic project Resource management As an experienced IT consultant, you have the confidence, experience and connections to make a huge difference in the… continue…

Leverage Business Continuity as a Revenue Generator

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Companies across the U.S., and all over the world, are looking for groups within their organizations to either cut or downsize dramatically. If they don’t see you as part of the solution (revenue generation), then you’re part of the problem (costly overhead). And if your company has a separate business continuity group, it’s highly likely that it’s already been hit with reductions, or at the least is facing cuts or elimination soon. Business continuity groups may be safer if the… continue…