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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,<br>
I work p/t out of the home, and I am thinking of WOH less so that I can put some energy into developing a consulting company. I love my job, but I also love being around my daughter!<br><br>
Ideally, I'd like to do both p/t, unless we move away from my current job.<br><br>
Any tips on resources for starting a consulting company?<br>
Developing and researching a business plan?<br>
How did you make the first leap? Find your first clients?<br>
Did you work for free/cheap for the first ones, to build your profile?<br>
How do you balance work and ... well...life?<br><br>
I'll have some time to work on some real development this summer, since dh is a teacher and has the summer off!<br><br>
Ideally, I'd love to see an ongoing support thread for consultant mamas ... or perhaps this already exists?
 

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I do medicolegal consulting.<br><br>
I really recommend the book "Getting Started in Consulting" by Alan Wiess. He goes through the step-by-step details of getting started in your business and every other detail you need consider. Some may apply to you, some may not, but pretty much everything you'll need to consider is in that book (I know Van Library has it, btw!).<br><br>
Basically, I registered a domain name, got a website designed and hosted, registered as a business (you'd want to visit Small Business BC's website), opened a business account at my bank, and got a Virtual Office through a local business centre (they provide a non-residential mailing address, sign for deliveries, secretarial and other services as needed, provide space to work or conference, all on a per-use basis so it's very economical and you only pay for what you use) and that was that. My total startup costs were about $4000 - $4500.<br><br>
I didn't do a business plan b/c the startup costs were low and I could afford to use my own funds (read: credit card, lol). I could do one if I wanted a line of credit for my business account but my cost outputs are very low so no need. Eventually as I build up a record of income with them they will give me one. Making a business plan is an intensive project so consider whether you will really need one (you really only need one to get credit from lenders).<br><br>
My first leap was writing an article for a weekly publication that is targeted to my client audience (in my case, lawyers). It cost me nothing, and shortly after it was published I got my first call. I'm still getting clients who say they cut out my article and filed it away for future reference. I'm planning on writing another article when I get a lull in business. You can't beat free advertising!<br><br>
Also note that it can take up to 3 months for Google to find and index your site, so if you want to get started earlier you could sign up for a consulting listings website. For me, I went with a site that specializes in my field of consulting. It consistently brings me up very high on Google searches and I got two clients from it, making the $200 for a year of service very well spent indeed.<br><br>
I have done two "pro bono" cases, though interestingly they weren't my first clients. I think it's good karma, and it allows you to build up experience as well. One in particular really needed someone to advocate for her (it was a private - non lawyer - client) and I felt great being able to reach out and help someone.<br><br>
Fitting in work, kids, and life. Honestly I don't work that much. Right now I have a project that I've estimated will take about 20 - 25 hrs and I have one month to do it so I plan accordingly. DH will take the kids for a day on weekends and may even take a day off work if I'm in a deadline crunch. I can squeeze time in here and there. Fortunately I can do almost all my work with just an Internet connection so that is helpful. I haven't been swamped with work yet, lol. But the work has been steady and the pay is fantastic. I absolutely love that I can still use my education, do work that interests and stimulates me, and get paid fairly large sums of money to do so. And it's totally flexible and lets me be a homeschooling mom to my kids. If and when business picks up, I will have to choose between balancing how much extra money I want to make, versus taking time away from spending it with the family, but right now I'm not in that situation just yet, lol.
 

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I work as a soft goods designer in the toy and premium business. I work as a consultant for companies that want to manufature a soft toy product. I worked in a conventional toy business as an employee for a number of years. I met a lot of good people and made some great contacts. This helped me get established. I still had to have some outside help in order to run my business. I had to go overseas when my child was small. It is feast or famine in the business so it's great that you DH has a steady job. Teaching is pretty child and family friendly.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks - I have that book on interlibrary loan, coming soon....<br>
I will explore the Small Business BC site too.<br><br>
I do anticipate having some outside help, but I hope that I could do more night/weekend work than I do now, moving some of my work out of dd's waking, weekday hours.<br><br>
Ideally, I'd keep my current job going, which is fairly steady, then add some consulting. I think that the amount you've got going is what I'm looking for, Piglet!<br><br>
How did you get up the gumption to decide to call yourself a consultant? I think that the "feeling like a fraud" factor is a big one for me, even if it's in an area I know!
 
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