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Thread: Going consultant

  1. #1
    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    Going consultant

    Can anyone give me any wisdom on how to move from municipal employee to a consulting practice? My experience is in the areas of planning/zoning, community development and city management.

    How do you find your niche? Should I start by working for a consulting firm or try on my own? Should I make a business plan? Can I set things up while still employed and move into it slowly? What are the pitfalls?

    In general I am wondering how to do it and if the risks are worth the reward.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Get thee to your nearest Small Business Development Center.

    The staff there should be able to help you answer many of these questions, at low or no cost to you.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    I think working for a consulting firm first is a good idea. You'll get a better understanding of how things work in the private sector, from writing proposals to determining how much a particular service costs to learning how best to sell your expertise.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mud Princess View post
    I think working for a consulting firm first is a good idea. You'll get a better understanding of how things work in the private sector, from writing proposals to determining how much a particular service costs to learning how best to sell your expertise.
    ^^^What she said.^^^

    Speaking as someone who's been working for The Dark Side™ for six-plus years now, I can't imagine starting one's own firm without any private sector experience. I'd suggest working for a consultant firm for a year or two, and then evaulating whether or not you want to strike out on your own.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SGB View post
    Get thee to your nearest Small Business Development Center.

    The staff there should be able to help you answer many of these questions, at low or no cost to you.
    Seems like they should be a good resource, but they are mostly useless.

    I tried on my own, setting up the company three months before leaving my job. Although I got work, I found at the end of the year that I had spent about $30,000 more than I had taken in. That's pretty normal for a start-up business. The big problem was that I was continually going up against competition with large staffs and long histories. You won't have that as an independent, and without it, you can't compete. All of my work came through networking and relationships.

    My recommendation to anyone wanting to go into the consulting business for themselves is to have a full year's salary in the bank and enough work already in hand to bring in at least a third of what you will need to earn.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Jess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by munibulldog View post
    Can anyone give me any wisdom on how to move from municipal employee to a consulting practice? My experience is in the areas of planning/zoning, community development and city management.

    How do you find your niche? Should I start by working for a consulting firm or try on my own? Should I make a business plan? Can I set things up while still employed and move into it slowly? What are the pitfalls?

    In general I am wondering how to do it and if the risks are worth the reward.

    Why not start now?
    Have you compiled all the requirements for Business Permit? Maybe start as single-proprietorship firm.
    Have you commissioned an ad agency to do your company profile? (you can do this yourself if you you have extra time)
    Have you contacted all your networks?
    Do you have friends, ex-co-workers or professionals who can be you collaborators to do detailed plans?,etc.,etc.,etc.

    Business plans?-yes.

    Your Mission-Vision Statement?-Yes.

    Set things while still in muni and move slowly?-Yes. Build up business relationships with your current applicants, friends, builders, etc., Networking

    Pitfalls?-Poor management, cash flow problems. Poor monitoring of overheads. Unsatisfied clients. Or simply-bad design.

    Remember: Next projects after a project is building a confidence from clients to you. Meaning-"Have that repeat order in mind". Good luck.

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