How to Build a Consulting Practice

Troubleshoot Your Problems by Going Back to Basics

Whenever I do consulting work for a customer who is having serious problems, I tend to look at the basics first. And I mean the extreme basics. Things like computer names, network routes, DNS resolution, Active Directory membership, etc. I’m going to stereotype a bit here and say that the people I work with who’ve…

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How to Sell Enterprise Software

One of the biggest differences between selling software to small businesses versus selling into the Enterprise space is the price. Most people think that it has to do with how well the software scales and it’s ability to do its job on an “Enterprise” level, whatever that it supposed to mean. Others will say it has to do with the feature sets and whether you bought the Micro-ISV edition or the Enterprise Edition. Simply not true.

The one and only difference is the total price on the bottom of the bill. And it is this total price that dictates whether or not you need sales reps to sell your software.

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Tips on negotiating a great consulting rate

One of the more difficult parts of being a consultant is determining and negotiating your rate with a customer. Consulting is a lot different than product based sales because you can generally charge whatever you think you can get away with. The first few months of my consulting career, I was charging $67.50/hour. It took several iterations for me to find out what my time and expertise was worth, but eventually I did. My rate increased to $70 for my second client, $90 for the third, $120 for the fourth, and eventually peaked at $275/hour.

The key to making good money as a consultant is to know how to negotiate your rates. This is not a skill you generally learn in college. It takes time, practice, and even if you’re good at it, you don’t always get what you want. This article contains six and a half tips for negotiating a good consulting rate.

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Mike’s Laws of Business

Once upon a time, I wrote an article called “How to bootstrap a consulting business”. It was a good article and was well written for what it was designed to convey. The last line of the article sums it up pretty well:

“The hardest part about the process is having the willpower to make the leap into being self employed. After that, it’s really not that hard.”

If you want to get anywhere, you have to start your own business. It doesn’t matter if you do it alone, or if you have one or more partners. The most difficult thing to do is get started. And that gave rise to Mike’s Laws of Business.

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