The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully

Author: Gerald M. Weinberg, Virginia Satir
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by wglb   2020-10-20
Here is a book that helped me a bit in my consulting career https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Consulting-Giving-Getting-Suc...
by DyslexicAtheist   2019-07-12
Depending on skills you can earn a magnificent hourly rate in comparison to full-time employment and have more freedom in the types of projects you pick. Location matters a lot though. Be ready to jump on a plane / train to discuss with potential clients. It takes a lot of grit especially if you build your own client base and wish to avoid middle-men who broker to the larger companies.

For larger firms though you won't get in without middleman (because of preferred supplier lists (PSL)). The bigger players pay you usually competitive rates (unless the middleman is fucking with you which is rare but happens), but you won't own the relationship with the client (the middleman does). Work for smaller firms and you run a higher risk of losing money, not getting paid or getting shafted simply because they think they can.

Ask a lawyer to help you draft contract templates which reflect how you envision any business relationship and then make your clients that you work for directly sign that (rather than expecting them to talk to their own lawyer which the won't do if they never considered bringing in a freelancer).

Find other freelancers in your region to speak to and get a feel for what they charge and how they go about acquiring new clients.

Biggest question when pitching to middlemen is "do you have any freelance/consulting" experience. If no this will be a read flag. So be creative to get your foot in the door.

Ensure you stay on their radar: Send your professional profile to every middle-man in the country and keep updating them with the latest version and your current availability.

Always say yes to any opportunity when asked for an interview (even you're busy right now with something else, or it is slightly off-topic for you). It's a chance to network and to practice your pitch (practicing the skills of interviewing and marketing your skills/brand is even more important than knowing your technical stuff, the latter should be taken for granted).

Gerald M. Weinberg's "The Secrets of Consulting" is excellent for anyone starting out in consulting or for those who consider hiring them (in any case your world might never be quite the same after reading this book):

https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Consulting-Giving-Getting-Suc...

by DyslexicAtheist   2018-11-11
if you ever only read 1 book about consulting, I warmly suggest Gerald M. Weinberg's "The Secrets of Consulting"

It's a bit like diplomacy for engineers.

for those not familiar with Weinberg: https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Consulting-Giving-Getting-Suc...

by DyslexicAtheist   2017-12-26
The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald M. Weinberg. It showed me how to deal with, and get true value out of consultants. It also helped me become a better consultant myself and scale my service to bigger projects & customers. Also the book has great advise on how to sell your service. It's not only what you sell that sets the price but how you "package" your service. In a nutshell it's a book that can help leap from external contractor, who works only via agents to become a "true consultant" where you pick your own clients without a middle-man, create a pitch, draft the offer, and also carry the full commercial risk.

https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Consulting-Giving-Getting-Suc...

There was another HN thread some years back linking to a fascinating blog post of somebody who pointed out not to charge hourly rates and invoice per week. It was giving really solid advise on pricing strategy for individual consultants to increase the rate from 100/hr to 6-8K/week. It argued to never compromise on the price but see what parts of the project could be left out, etc ... If somebody here remembers this site/article it would be fantastic (I can no longer remember where to find it unfortunately).