Why You Should Consider Working for a Consultancy
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: “I’m a successful software consultant and I’ve quadrupled what I used to make at a cube farm. This is my success story. Blah. Blah. Blah. You can do it too!”
While inspirational, these type of posts tend to forget all the anxieties associated with making the switch to freelancing:
- How will I get paid?
- What if a client doesn’t pay me?
- Do I need an accountant?
- Do I need a lawyer?
And most important of all is: how do I land my very first client?
Sure, being your own boss and having the freedom and flexibility associated with consulting sounds awesome. The reality is though, if you don’t have a client, there’s no money, and with no money, you’ll quickly be heading back to the farm.
if you don’t have a client, there’s no money, and with no money, you’ll quickly be heading back to the farm.
Go Work for a Consultancy
My recommendation? Skip the “being your own boss” part for a little bit and go work for a consultancy. Instead of having to worry about things like accounting, lawyers, getting paid, and lead generation you will get to focus on the most important thing about freelancing: building relationships with clients by delivering them value.
The good news is that most consultancies are always in a state of hiring. They have two ways to increase their revenue: hiking up their rates or hiring talent to take on more work.
You do have to be careful about the kind of work the consultancy is taking on though. You don’t want to be at a place that is hiring developers to just fill seats. You want to be with a firm that empowers its developers to work intimately with clients.
a firm that empowers its developers to work intimately with clients
Some good questions to ask when interviewing are:
- How often will I be in contact with a client? You want be the primary point of contact. If you have to work through some kind of project manager you won’t develop the skills necessary to communicate with clients if you were ever to go independent.
- Who writes the proposals? The majority of consulting is understanding your client’s world view and effectively communicating it through project tasks and proposal writing. You want to be able to understand your client’s vision and coming up with a plan to get them there.
- Who manages project scope? You’ve got to practice when to say no and when to ship. It’s true that the client is always right, but sometimes their vision can be blurred by shiny new features. You’ve got to be their advocate in ensuring that the money they are paying the consultancy will translate to either making them more money or solving some kind of pain in their business.
Want to make the leap?
My good friends at Test Double are hiring.