One year ago, I quit my job and started consulting full-time, after 10 years of industrial wage slavery. I was financially successful in this year, but made a lot of mistakes. I managed to fall into bad headhunter relationships, make mistakes in my accounting that required a 101 class to fix, became thoroughly confused about whether to be incorporated or not, and generally made a lot of newbie mistakes with a handful of clients ranging from garage startups to established software firms. Other local consultants gave me advice and I learned from my mistakes. I can tell you how I did it and what I could have done better; and how it compares to what other local consultants say. I will cover:There are interesting names on the list of speakers, including Jared Spool and Chauncey Wilson, Beth Loring and Joe Dumas, plus a host of other local employers. The talks range from research methods to design case studies, with a bit of business thrown in (thankfully, for some of us!). It's even multi-track, reflecting how many submissions they get. And their cocktail hour is fun and well-stocked.
You'll get a handout with the Top 10 Most Important Consulting Considerations in case you too want to do this!
- Your use of the internet to advertise yourself (search engine optimization, job sites, Linked In, blogs, etc.)
- Portfolio work
- Branding (logo, name, etc.)
- What to charge (the many factors and equations; plus: "they're charging WHAT and someone is really paying it??")
- Headhunters and job offer pressures
- Basic accounting and expenses to track
- ... And other things I learned the very, very hard way, like the portable office equipment it might be nice to own because the client site is a cave with rocks to sit on.
BIO:Lynn Cherny has a Ph.D. from Stanford that she hasn't used in years, except for some statistical skills. She has 12 years of experience working at and/or managing interface design at companies including TiVo, Excite, Adobe, The MathWorks, and AT&T Labs. Her current consulting identity is Ghostweather Research & Design, LLC. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Mini-UPA conference in Boston
Boston's mini-Usability conference is coming up on May 28 at Bentley. This is a reasonably priced one-day event that attracts quite a local crowd, and not a few non-locals. I had a good time at this last year, when I was a speaker on online community design. This year I am speaking about life as a consultant, and mistakes I made in my first year. Here's my abstract: