Contracting and Consulting

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

Take Advantage of Those Consulting Gaps – Part 1

Bored-Businessman
“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

Guy in Server Room
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…

Treat Your Best Clients with Care – Part 2

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It’s always important to treat your clients well.  After all, client retention is the best strategy to success: It’s easier to retain good clients than it is to land new ones. Last week, I discussed two strategies for treating your most valued clients well – how you can let them know they are important to you. Specifically, we talked about: Reaching out to clients even when you’re not currently working for them. Sending them new business whenever possible. This week,… continue…

How to Protect Yourself Against Problem Projects

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Even projects that start strong can begin to unravel as time goes on. Sometimes the problem lies in scope, budget or other issues that are beyond the team’s control, but in other instances the issue lies with the team, either in whole or in part. It’s not surprising. Each project team has to figure out how to get along, how to work together and — if it’s an Agile team — what each individual’s role is to be. During one… continue…

Treat Your Best Clients with Care

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If someone asked you to pick your best clients on the spot, could you do it? Can you name your top five right now? If so, you’re doing pretty well. If not, then you better re-assess where things stand with all your clients. If I were to ask what you’ve been doing for those “special” clients to let them know how much you value their business, would you have anything to tell me? Are you letting them know that they… continue…

Would My Client Hire Me Next Time?

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By Brad Egeland Have you ever asked your spouse if they would choose you again if they could do it all over? I have, but I have to be careful which day to ask. Likewise, have you ever wondered whether your client would hire you again? Was your performance such that they would want you? For most of us, I’m sure the answer is a resounding yes. But there are always those uncertain cases out there, some of them even… continue…