It’s surprisingly easy to start your own consulting business. All you need is a computer, a phone, brainpower and business experience. The work is the same as the work you’ve been doing in your corporate job only better. If you start right away, you can be doing billable work as soon as next week.
I like to ask about your biggest challenge. The mission of Billable with Baby® is to help you find the courage to start your own consulting business so you can have the freedom and flexibility to raise your children the way you wish. I always learn something when I ask:
What is your biggest challenge with your consulting business?
- Finding the courage to dive in?
- Fear of leaving your corporate job?
- Getting started?
- Charging enough?
- Finding Clients?
- Juggling it all?
- Something else?
Getting Started Does Not Have to be the Hardest Thing
I always learn something, but the landslide winner is always Getting Started. I got started a long time ago, so that’s obviously no longer a challenge for me. But here’s the thing, I didn’t have big, overwhelming thoughts about starting a business and everything that means. I simply jumped in and did a project. I still remember the satisfaction of putting that first check in the bank. I landed the project, did the work and put the check in the bank. I was pretty darn proud of myself.
If the idea of starting a business makes you feel inspired and energized, that’s great. I’m all in. But, if you are like the rest of us and the idea of starting a business is overwhelming, stop right now. You don’t need to incorporate or build a web site or name your business. You simply need to land one project. Find a client who has a project and do some billable work. There are many steps to building a business and I will hold your hand every step of the way if you want me to. The other Billable with Baby® Mamas will be there too. But for now, let’s focus on landing a project and getting a check in the bank. Your confidence will soar once you finish your first project.
Big Mountain or Little Hill?
When I was a W-2 employee, I used to hear comments about 1099s and self-employment taxes. But I never really knew what those terms meant. And although I had a few friends who did consulting, I had no idea what was required to set up the business side of a consulting business. I had plenty of corporate experience, but I didn’t know whether this business stuff was a big mountain or a little hill. I’m here to tell you right now that it’s a little hill. In California, the only thing you need to get started is a business license. Everything else can be taken care of once you have your first check in your hand. Or even further down the road at the appropriate time. For more on administrative requirements, see Clearing Roadblocks to Revenue.
In the early days of my business, I didn’t charge enough. I was afraid that I wouldn’t win the business if my price was too high. Once I finally start charging what I was worth, my clients never batted an eye. Just think of all that money I left on the table.
STOP right now and write this on a sticky note:
I earned it.
I deserve it.
I am worth it.
My advice is to plan but keep your expectations open and flexible. It’s so hard to know how you will feel and what the temperament of your baby will be. I was so surprised by how much FUN I had being pregnant, having small babies and now a toddler and teen. And trust your own instincts. Trust your instincts about everything and try not to worry too much about what people say you “should” do.
Finding the Courage to Dive In
You don’t have to start a business, you just have to land one project. Consulting lends itself to one step at a time. There is no investment, no lead time and no set up time. The barriers to entry are very low. The best way to get started as a consultant is to dive in. It’s a bit like having a baby in the first place, if all the pros and cons had to line up, we’d never do it. There may be some leap of faith required.
If you need help, this free email course will walk you through three action steps to generate revenue now. If you start right away, you can be doing billable work as soon as next week. Following these three action steps gives you the best possible chance of landing a consulting project. It works for me and I see it work for others, over and over again. If you wait too long, your kids will be grown.
This is the first of the Top Seven Things to Know About Starting Your Own Consulting Business. Although it’s shockingly easy to get started, the next post is about the hard work required to build a sustainable consulting practice.