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Thread: Running part of the “Dark Side”

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Apr 2003
    Somewhere between the mountains and the ocean.

    Running part of the “Dark Side”

    I don’t know if any one has ever asked this one or not, but I know that it has floated around a few times with different people. Have you ever thought about starting your own consulting firm? Or more importantly did you? What steps would you, or did you go though to get started, how much experience do you feel is needed, how did you make the connections, and I know that some firms will specialize a section of planning? How much detail have you thought about it? Here is a chance to have fun with this.

    I would like to start my own someday, but it will not be for several years.
    If you want different results in your life, you need to do different things than you have done in the past. Change is that simple.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    Had I not landed the job in the City of Rock, I would have been seriously looking toward starting my own firm in the next year or two. The difference is, I think I would have looked at establishing a non-profit focused on a particular set of issues, with a strong ethic concerning the types of projects I would accept. I have worked with, or heard of similar firms established with the more design-oriented professions of architecture and landscape architecture. The mechanics of incorporation, tax filings, insurance and the like can be figured out pretty easily. Visit the SBA website and you will find business planning guides to help. Some states have pretty good step-by-step guides to their requirements. For me, the difficult thing would be establishing an income stream.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Jul 2003
    SW-Coastal WA
    Well, I got my business license June 4th.

    I have been reading books and magazine articles on starting/running your own business since I was 14. o

    I made connections hanging out online while up all night going through drug withdrawal.

    I have a certificate in GIS and I am 6 classes short of my Bachelor's in Environmental Resource Management. I have been a landlord and homeschooling mom and military wife who basically had to figure it out for myself and had no boss. I have been in charge of my little 1000 square foot fiefdom for so long that I am no longer qualified to take direction and, well, I have no real choice but to launch my own business.

    I also got my fictitious business name statement and opened a business bank account and business credit card -- they called me today to get info to give final approval for that so they can mail it out. I am still researching the "accepting credit cards" part since most of what I do is Internet-based. In the mean time, I am setting up my paypal account so I can accept online payments for managing a business website for someone in Ohio.

    I am researching groupware so I can more effectively collaborate with my business partner on the other side of the planet, who has an established GIS business with several employees. I will subcontract work to him.

    I have a business name that I heavily researched and a website. The website needs a few million hours of work to get it up to speed. And I need to more clearly define my "services". I am wrestling with that. I have had a couple of pro bono clients and now I have a paying client and it is way more than just "web design" that I am doing for her. She and I just got to talking and I was making suggestions for free and she ended up asking me if she could hire me. But I still have enormous difficulty trying to explain to people what I do.

    I have an extremely long "to do" list and um... what was the question??? :-}

  4. #4

    May 1997
    Williston, VT
    I didn't really start out to be a consultant. I just had one small project to tide me over a summer between semesters. Then it became obvious that I needed to leave that university - it was not a fun place to work - so I began the project and looked for jobs. The first project led to another (only $500, but it was something) and then another, and then I found an agency that needed a part-time manager to fill in for a while, and by the time someone offered me what might have been a good job, I was earning enough consulting to keep going. This informal start, with a part-time job for part of the time made it easy, but the fact that it wasn't a conscious decision may have put the whole affair on a less than business-like basis from beginning to end.

    So, I would recommend starting with a project in hand, even if it is a small one, and/or a part-time job. BUT I would also recommend doing things like a business plan and setting financial goals. I supported myself as a consultant for 12 years, 3 months, and 11 days, but ended up with all the current bills paid and no surplus that my ex didn't take (her lawyer valued my business assets, which consisted of some battered file cabinets and an old Mac at equal to all of our other assets and I was not in the mood to defend myself).

    Speaking of which, make sure you significant other, if you have one, is in full, make that FULL agreement with the decision to de-stabilize your income!

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