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Consulting Basics

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Consulting Basics

ASTD Publications,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Thinking of quitting your comfy, salaried job to be an independent consultant? Find out if you have what it takes.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Independent consulting is not for everyone. Do you have the discipline, drive and determination to leave your day job, set up your own office, sell yourself every day, produce first-rate work and keep track of a thousand mundane details that have nothing to do with being creative? If you think you might, you need grounding in the basics of the job, how to set yourself up for success and how to thrive. Like any good consultant, author Joel Gendelman presents what you need to know in clear, concise prose. He covers every detail and offers solutions to problems you probably didn’t think even existed. Worksheets and questionnaires help you analyze your strengths and weaknesses and understand all aspects of the consulting business. getAbstract recommends this fast – but by no means superficial – read, which aspiring and working consultants will return to again and again.


Who Are You?

Before you leave the comfy if limiting confines of a full-time salaried position, you must ask yourself if you are ready for self-employment. You must know yourself objectively: What are your talents? What tasks do you like and dislike? Where would you most want to live? Can you deal with the emotional and financial costs “for the freedom of being your own boss”?

Working for yourself is much harder than working for someone else. You will labor more for less money and suffer more anxiety. You must self-promote nonstop; don’t expect your former employer to hire you. As a freelancer, you will be treated with less respect, and at least half your work time won’t be billable. Of the money you do take in, expect that 50% will go toward expenses. And sadly, you still will have to do lots of work you loathe, like accounting, cold calling and selling yourself to strangers.

An “angel” – a financial backer with both funds and patience – is your start-up’s best asset. Barring that support, set aside at least six months’ income before you begin. You also need decent health insurance and the fortitude to cope with uncertainty. You should have the “discipline” to...

About the Author

Joel Gendelman is the president and founder of Future Technologies, Inc. He holds a doctorate in education and has been a consultant for more than 20 years.

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