Friday December 17 10:53 am
How to Become an IT Consultant
How to Become an IT Consultant
This class introduces you to that's required to go out on your own as an IT Consultant. Starting your computer business is relatively easy. This class talks about
Tools You Need
Where You Should Have Your Office
Advertising Your Small Business
Billing your Clients
I started my consulting business during the IT recession after the .COM bust. After 1 month I was paying my bills, after 3 I was doing better then I had ever expected. Once you learn how easy it is to work for yourself it's hard to ever imagine working for anyone else again!
Becoming a consultant is surprisingly easy and if you have the right mindset for it you will be happier and make more money than if you are an employee. If you have the wrong mindset you'll be bankrupt and miserable quick.
What you need
The Little Green Bag
Don't buy tools until you can use them to make money
Sometime clients will buy you tools for a specific job (This is how I originally got my wire testing kit
To start with all you need is a screw driver and a can of air
Where to work
Your basement is FINE!!!
Too many people waste valuable money trying to look professional by getting office space.
Small business clients will not have a problem with you working out of your house as long as you do good work.
Put up a website and get your email address first!
Pull tab signs work great
You're not ready to advertise on the web yet!
Cheap is good. You have lots of time, and little money. Do cheap advertising until you are so busy that you don't have time for it.
Knock on doors -- By going to business districts and knocking on doors/ handing out flyers I found that every 3 hours I was out netted me at least 1 client. (On average... sometimes I would work 10 hours and get nothing, and then pickup 3 clients in under an hour)
Get business cards ASAP! Always have business cards with you.
Always talk about your business. (I used to get clients by simply going to the local bar where all the business people hung out and having a few drinks)
If you want to reduce the bill reduce hours billed, not what you bill per hour
Lump bill better then time + materials -- You get more profit from giving a job price.
Always get a deposit worth hardware
Credit cards... checks are better -- Credit card customers can revoke charges up to 3 months after payment.
FEIN Number from IRS -- FEIN is technically only required if you have employees, but vendors think you are more professional if you have one
Sales Tax Certificate /reseller -- To sell products you need a Sales Tax license from your state. Many distributors require a Sales Tax Certificate.
Doing Business as Name allows you to accept checks under the name of your business.
LLC..? Supposedly better for tax and legal issues. While you are starting I wouldn't worry about it. Once you have a "real' business you should do it.
Under Promise Over Deliver
If the system doesn't do what the client needs they won't pay!
Don't make up answers, "Let me find out."
Answer the questions your clients don't know to ask.
Liability / Contracts
Handshake deals are easier and quicker then contracts
Contracts give a legal recourse if the client doesn't pay, but if you don't provide what is in the contract you may be held liable.
Errors and Omissions insurance -- as a "professional" you are required to inform clients of things they may not think of.
Product / service creep
The more products and services you offer the more complicated and expensive it becomes to provide them.
Offering too much can be far worse than not offering enough.
Good people can be pain in the ass employees
Use Metrics to verify employees are doing what they need to do
Treat the hiring and firing of Employees the same way you would treat purchasing or retiring servers. Both servers and employees are simply resources that are required to make the business profitable.