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Leave job to do consulting

I am wondering if it is a right time to leave job and start software consulting work.  How is it out there - project wise - are there projects enough out there to make a living.

KS
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I give it a thirty-seven-point-two.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

You know the old saying, "If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it?"

I think something similar applies here. If you don't have a clue what you plan to do, who your customers will be, how you will convince them that you can deliver value... it's going to be a painful learning experience. I'd suggest you figure that out before you consider leaving.

A quick aside: Lots of people say "Wow, I wish I could be out on my own." But they don't really think through what it involves. Jobs (and pay) won't just fall into your lap, you know.

John C.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I concur with John and would add, if you mean join a consulting company, you should know where they get the same things.  Otherwise you are betting they are smarter than you. 

MSHack
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

>> How is it out there - project wise - are there projects enough out there to make a living.

If someone is offering a contract to you, you need to answer the following question with some degree of "comfort zone": how will you find the NEXT contract after the first contract ends? If your answer is "well, I suppose that someone will offer me something better" then "bzzt!" wrong answer.

A lot of people get into contracting because a project lands in their lap. They do fine in that gig. Eventually, that contract ends.  Then they give up contracting and look for a regular job after their first contract ends and they realize they had no clue on an "exit strategy".

How do I know? Because it's happened to me, and I've seen people leave contracting generally because they didn't know how to market themselves as contractors.

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

One other thing too. If you do research into contracting and decide it's for you, don't let the current economy or conditions dissuade or encourage you overly much. I've known a lot of wanna be contractors who believed that a "rising tide floats all boats" who sank in a good economy, and I've also seen mensches who prospered while everyone else was starving.

IE, contracting is as "assymmetrical" a calling as you could find. Success in it usually comes from within and it can defy logic sometimes.

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Thanks guys..

I think I am confident of my skills - but I think i am just overly paranoid of being without job for any period of time, and too that not very good at marketing.. or don't have a clue how to market

KS
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Something that a lot of people don't realize about the salary->contract transition is the added self-imposed pressure. When you're on salary, then there's that vague sense that "so long as I'm generally moving towards the goal, I'm okay, and I'm still getting paid"
Need to take the time to learn about grids? Paid. Have to research threading? Paid. Two days with the flu? Paid.

When you're contracting, if you're not generating code, then in all fairness, you're not getting paid. This can really weigh on your mind sometimes. If you get a fixed-fee job, then you are *definitely* in the "not writing, not earning" boat.

Now with experience you can work your contracts and manage your time to get out of this pit. But it generally takes time and experience to do so. Getting there can be hell.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, January 15, 2004

I do get very good ideas for tools and applications, which I create, and have a set of ideas, tools and applicaitons sitting on my computer.  That was the reason i was thinking whether i should think about ventureing out. 

What Philo, says is true. It is comfortable and peaceful to get paid for everything you do.. but it keeps you an unsatisfied soul all the time

KS
Thursday, January 15, 2004

KS wrote >I think I am confident of my skills - but I think i am just overly paranoid of being without job for any period of time, and too that not very good at marketing.. or don't have a clue how to market<

The quality of your skills won't matter if you can't find a market. It's a big mistake to think running a business requires the same skills a building a software app as someone else's employee. Money is not going to simply come to you no matter how good your ideas; you'll have to go out and earn every dollar you make.

If you are paranoid about being without a job for any period of time, you need to assess with brutal honesty how you will feel (and pay the rent, and eat) during those months when you have zero revenue, either because you're just ramping up and don't have paying customers yet, or because you're in the midst of a project and won't have more money coming in until you're finished, or because you've just finished a project but your client won't pay your invoice for another 30-60 days.

Striking out on your own can be incredibly fulfilling, but you really want to do some homework before you conclude it's the right move.

John C.
Thursday, January 15, 2004

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