What if you dive into this consulting thing and it doesn’t work? Do you go back to your corporate job and cancel the golf games? Postpone the marathon and take your shirts to the cleaners?
I have a lot of experience running large medical device product development teams. Risk management and risk mitigation are required parts of every program, so I’m well acquainted with the concepts and various techniques.
I do a lot of speaking and enjoy speaking at our local universities in San Diego. Last fall I spoke to an MBA class on strategy implementation. I enjoy this class because the focus of my core consulting practice is implementation and execution. The professor also happens to have been one of my business school professors, years ago back east. So, it gives me a chance to catch up with him too.
I try to make my presentation as interactive as possible and encourage questions. I was talking about how I plan and manage various projects to make sure deliverables are completed on time. One of the students asked whether I had a contingency plan for missing milestones. My mind went completely blank. I thought for a few long, silent minutes and replied, “It never enters my mind that I will miss a deadline.” I had never thought about this before, but I realized at that moment that I have a “failure is not an option” mindset. It’s nothing I have worked to develop. It must be a combination of innate personality traits and great parenting by my Mom and Dad who instilled loads of self-confidence.
Failure is Not an Option
Does having a backup plan give you confidence or prevent you from succeeding?
Do you need to be all in or are you a plan B person?
Is it better to quit? Or start something on the side?
I think it’s hard to start a consulting business on the side. How do you find the time? And there is the potential for conflict with your day job.
Lay the Groundwork Ahead of Time
I do think it’s wise to prepare, educate yourself and lay the groundwork before you jump off. A woman in one of my recent programs did just that. She spent a few months getting things in place, figuring out what she needed to do and talking to people before she took the plunge. She was able to hit the ground running and start doing billable work right away.
I am a “failure is not an option” person so backup plans are not for me. But I do think there are some good points in this Career Emergency Plan article:
- Keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date
- Have an ongoing list of target companies
- Have a pitch email ready to send
- Network, network, network
- Document your career and lifestyle non-negotiables
My Emergency Preparedness Plan
I only need three things to be prepared for whatever life brings:
- An updated resume because you never know when you will need to find a job.
- A current passport because you never know when someone will offer you the exotic vacation of your dreams.
- A cold bottle of champagne in the refrigerator because you never know when you will have something important to celebrate.
Of course, this is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but shouldn’t we all live this way? Don’t let fear get in the way of the life you deserve to live.
Take Control and Take the Plunge!
This may seem risky and it is. But I know what’s in my pipeline and I know where my business is going. My revenue each month is not always perfectly predictable like your corporate pay check, but we all know that you can walk in to work any day and be laid off. So, I don’t think the risk is much higher and I have complete control.
It’s easier than you think to start consulting. 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.
The best way to get started as a consultant is to dive in. 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.