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Starting a Consulting Practice

Giving your Notice takes Planning by RichGeoffroy
Posted: 14 May 04 (Edited 27 Sep 04)

Rich Geoffroy
Polymer Services Group

WeÆve all had dreams of telling our boss what he can do with our job, and going out and starting our own engineering practice.

For those of you who are actually considering ôtaking the leapö, this is definitely NOT the way to do it.  No matter how frustrated you may get with your job, going out on your own takes considerable planning --- not only to get your financial situation in order, but you have to plan your timing for entry, and get a lot of other things in order that you basically take for granted.  And, donÆt forget, your family has to be involved in this decision.  When business gets slow, itÆs hard enough as it is, you donÆt need them nagging at you as to why you put them into this situation.  They have to be behind you.  YouÆll need their support during the tough times --- and you will experience them.  It isnÆt all roses out here.

Once you ômake your decisionö to go on your own, the problems at the office seem to take on a whole new perspective.  I found that it took me two years after I made the decision before I got everything in order for my departure, but life was so much easier at work --- the garbage was still there, but my perception had changed.  Now, I viewed them as ôfundingö my planning period.  The more you get in order before you give your notice, the better position youÆll be in when you finally start your business.

DonÆt burn any bridges!  As much as youÆd like to tell off your boss, a colleague, or the ownerÆs son, DONÆT do it!  People know you for your past accomplishments, and the most recent work youÆve done, and probably the best so far in your career, has been for your current employer.  Many of your contacts will come from this job, and potentially some of your clients may come as referrals from your current company or its employees.  In fact, if youÆre as good as you think, they may not find anyone to really do what youÆve done for them, and they will contract with you for certain tasks.

Your present employer can be a strong asset to your success.  Their network is more established and widespread than yours.  Your current colleagues will remain sources of information, as well as opportunities for referrals.  A larger company will have expensive equipment that you may need access to in order for you to complete your assignment for a client.  In fact, you may even turn out to be a good source of sales for them --- a real Win-Win arrangement for both of you.

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