[nycbug-talk] Getting started in Consulting

Kevin Reiter tux
Fri Jun 3 19:54:32 EDT 2005

>> How did you first get started ?

I imagine most of us got started the same way - working a full-time job 
while doing tech work on the side, then either layoffs or whatever came 
about and suddenly your hobby became your job.  Speaking for myself, I 
got tired of working my arse off to make someone else rich, so one day I 
quit my job and started working for myself full-time.

>> How did you get your first client ?

A friend of my parents was looking for someone to fix his network, and 
he heard I "knew about computers."  He was impressed with my work, so I 
asked him if he wouldn't mind telling people that he was happy with me. 
  One thing led to another, and because of him, I suddenly had about 15 
new clients.

>> Where do you look for clients ?

The only marketing/advertising I've ever done is business cards (of one 
form or another.)  Word of mouth is IMHO the best advertising you can 
ask for.  I recently paid for a marketing deal with one of my vendor 
partners, and I'll let you know how it goes after next week when I get 
done with all of the follow-up calls :)

>> How do you sell FreeBSD to clients ?

I usually slip it in when they're looking for a server of one type or 
another, usually a file server for the small office or a firewall.  I've 
found that showing them the cost comparison between Windows and FreeBSD 
(licensing, purchase price, labor for installing weekly patches/updates, 
etc.) is a good way to show them how expensive it can be to have a file 
server.  FreeBSD wins 9 out of 10 times :)

> For the most part you don't.
> My experience is with small business so anything I wrote forward is 
> about that market.. (under 20 employees mostly).
> For the most part I think there are two types of clients. Those that 
> want a solution and don't care how you do it and those that think they 
> know what they need and tell you to do the work in a particular way. 
> Those for the most part I avoid.. if they really knew how to do it, they 
> would not be talking to you in the first place. :-)
> A bit of an exception is if they have someone in the shop that is a tech 
> person, but not necessarily the same as your knowledge. Example if you 
> are a developer and they have a network person.. There is also the rare 
> case where they have a good person, but he just has so much work that 
> needs some help.

*nods in agreement*

> As much as I like the live of a business owner it's a big challenge for 
> us tech people because we want to spend more time doing tech work than 
> doing marketting and just getting our face out there.

You got that right :)

> Then you have the issue of actually managing the business. For example 
> if you get a contract, finding the right price that will keep you happy 
> and the customer coming back... managing your expenses.. paying yourself 
> (payroll).. health insurance... etc...

.. you get paid?  :P

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