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Issue 9.3

COLUMN

Risk vs. Reward

The Risks and Rewards of Consulting

Issue: 9.3 (March/April 2011)
Author Bio: Bob is the owner of BKeeney Software. In addition to providing REAL Studio consulting, he provides REAL Studio training videos (currently over 23 hours worth), and sells software to consumers and developers alike. He is a founder and current President of the Association of REALbasic Professionals.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 5,388
Starting Page Number: 76
Article Number: 9311
Related Link(s): None

Excerpt of article text...

Being a consultant isn't easy. There are many risks that pop up along the way to trip up even the best of us. The rewards sometimes seem few and far between but when they manifest themselves they are awesome.

Perhaps one of the biggest problems with being a consultant is always being on the lookout for the next job. This means you always have your 'sales hat' on and, if you're like me, talk to friends, family members, and strangers about the benefits of custom software and how you can help them. You do this because you just never know when someone will need your services.

Most of don't have much of a support organization. So this means you're the Public Relations person who writes press releases and makes sure you're known in the community. Hate writing? Good luck. It means you're the I.T. department handling equipment purchases and repairs and handling the file, web or Subversion server when it goes down. It means you're a web designer and an expert at bending all of the various internet services, protocols and standards to your will. You are the support department and you're the one answering emails and forums posts about your products (if you have any) late on a Saturday night.

Once you get a new client, the work doesn't get any easier. You are the one to write up the contract and make sure it's complete. You have to review it if the client has any questions or objections. Then, once you have a contract you need to do billing and handle the bank deposits and general accounting. And all that is before you even start any coding!

So now you've got the work, you need to schedule it. For a consultant it's either feast or famine. You either have not enough work or too much. When you don't have enough work you hope your rates are high enough to make it through until the next project. When you have too much work (nice problem to have) you start wondering if you need extra help and if that means a temporary contract employee (or another consultant like yourself as a sub-contractor) or hiring a permanent employee.

Employees are another layer of complexity all by themselves. Your work in the HR Department just increased exponentially. If was bad enough dealing with yourself, but now you've got another person and their family to worry about. Do you offer insurance? What about retirement planning? Don't forget about taxes and the requisite paperwork for the local, state and federal governments.

...End of Excerpt. Please purchase the magazine to read the full article.