Consulting Tips

I have been self-employed for 12 of my 25-year-long career. Most were enjoyable. Here are 12 tips that have worked for me.

  1. Hoard cash and get a good dishwasher – you’ll be using more of both.
  2. Always suggest specific meeting times (e.g. “1pm, Wednesday” vs. “midweek”), or else you’ll commit yourself to someone else’s vague schedule.
  3. One steady client is better than a dozen flaky ones.
  4. The lifetime value of a client is greater than any single project.
  5. Value a current client more than a possible one; the most expensive part of running a business is looking for work.
  6. Being reliable is more important than being cheap.
  7. You don’t sell work; you sell the confidence it will be satisfactorily completed.
  8. Take screenshots of maps to important meetings. You never know when cell coverage may drop.
  9. Never overextend yourself financially. Maintain the ability to walk away from a bad decision.
  10. Use a logical file naming convention (e.g.“2017-11-22_acme_proposal.pdf”). You’ll save yourself countless hours and headaches.
  11. Be cheerful. If you don’t enjoy your work, neither will those who pay for it.
  12. Be kind. You won’t always win, but you can sleep at night.