My Top Lessons Learned As The Owner of An Independent Consulting Firm (Part 1)

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Being an entrepreneur comes with its ups and downs. As a glass-half-full person, I try to learn what I can from my downs so I can become a better person, a better leader, and a better, more successful entrepreneur.

To celebrate my fourth year in business, I’m sharing some of the not-so-great decisions and mistakes I’ve made since launching my business. I’ve put these lessons learned into two broad categories: (1) Business Structure and Operations and (2) Getting Clients and Generating Revenue.

For this first of a two-part article, I’m focusing on Business Structure and Operations. Keep reading. I hope it helps you avoid some of my mistakes.

Business legal structure

The very first mistake I made when I launched the business was registering it as a DBA (doing business as). Not only did it cost more money, it was more of an administrative headache.

Here’s why I did it.

I already have a business registered in my state and thought…why register another business, just add the DBA so I don’t have to get a new bank account and start over.

Today the shortcomings also include using my official business name which I rarely use on all legal forms and applications. As I was writing this post, I decided to review the pros and cons of using a DBA and I’m even more convinced it was not the right move and I’ll likely have to hire an attorney to shore up a few things soon.

Document your processes as you go

I have to say that I started this one in about year two of my business. I started creating templates as early as year one but once I started to realize the inefficiency of recreating something I’d done before, I knew creating and, importantly, documenting them was the way to go.

Set up automation and systems early in the business

If you’ve watched any of my YouTube videos, participated in any of our workshops, or you’re in the Ready Set Go Consult Membership, you have heard me singing the praises of automation. If there’s a way to automate it, I’m doing it.

Here’s why—saves you time and allows you to earn more revenue. That’s it.

There are some critical automations that an operations specialist will implement for my consulting business in the next 1-2 months and I’m eager to see it in action.


Hire help ASAP

One of the best tips I’ve received from my former business coach is to hire help as soon as it’s feasible. Feasibility is the key here. The decision must be made once you have a consistent and reliable flow of revenue and enough of it to hire help.

Help can come in the form of a virtual assistant, a 1099 contractor, or a part-time employee. Only can decide what’s right for you based on your budget and after assessing exactly what your needs are.

In this video, I shared a few tips I learned from my former business coach on how to identify what help is needed and an easy way to identify what that person’s responsibilities will be.

It is important to keep in mind the kind of support you need. Do you need help with service delivery? Or is it sales support, administrative work, operations, or business development?

Hire a long-term 1099 contractor 

Not able to hire staff right now? Why not hire a long-term 1099 contractor? Yes, you can easily find someone on Fiverr or Upwork, but I find it easier to hire a 1099 contractor, train the person to do what I need them to do, and work with that one person for as long as the working relationship is productive and a good fit for both of us.

Get your IT straight

When I first started the business, I had a customized Gmail email address and the full Google Drive that comes with it.

However, I also had an Office 365 account. I first used my personal Office 365 account and then transitioned to Office 365 for Business. Once I realized I was paying for systems that provided similar services, I knew one had to go.

While I’m focusing on applications, there is a lot more to IT. There are cybersecurity considerations, especially if you want to be a government contractor. There are also hardware issues, specifically employee’s use of company-owned hardware.

Now that our clients are more diverse and larger organizations, a transition to Microsoft only is needed. However, that means hiring an IT contractor. Fun times.

 What’s next

You can take the time to learn by making mistakes like I did, or you can get step-by-step support to reach your goals faster by joining the Ready Set Go Consult Membership. We cover these topics and much more including client engagement, proposals, operations, and services. To learn more about the membership, visit this page.


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