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Could an alliance of independents work?

I've quit my job as a consultant, and I'm in the process of deciding whether I should just take another job, or whether I should become an independent freelancer.

As an independent, I don't think I have much chance in attracting the bigger and often more challenging projects. As an employee, on the other hand, I lose the freedom.

It seems to be that a viable alternative could be to establish a local alliance of independent consultants. Something like that should have a better chance of being visible and attracting clients.

I'm surprised that such alliances don't seem to be very common. The best example I've found so far is http://www.abcol.co.uk, and those are not IT consultants.

Does anybody here have any experience in this matter?

Anton
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The URL without the comma is http://www.abcol.co.uk

Anton
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

From what I know, http://www.asynchrony.com/ started as such an alliance.

It may be worth studying their web site, and also it may be worth looking at OLD versions of their site ( http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.asynchrony.com/ ), when they were still a cooperative.

MX
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

www.rmpcp.com is an attempt that may or may not be what you are looking for...

GG
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

You could consider http://www.nerdsonsite.com (Nerds On Site) something like that, as ultimately it is a collection of independent, self-directed people operating fundamentally as franchisees, but with the benefit of centralized marketing and administration.

http://www.iwanttobeanerd.com/

Bias note: I'm friends with a couple of people involved in that organization.

Dennis Forbes
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Members: 32,942
Projects: 1,817
Active Projects: 1,340
Completed Projects: 29      <------
Open Job Postings: 1,818


Asynchrony seemed to be having problems shipping.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I just got back from the UK.  It seems like the market for consultants is much better there than the US.  There is no way I would try to go it alone as a consultant right now in the US, but at the ACCU conference there was a whole session on it.   

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

One other thing.  I got the impression that the delivery rate in Europe was far worse than the US.  It sounded like nothing was getting done.  Is there any real evidence for this?  It made me think that I would be better off trying to serve EU markets rather than the US.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

>>> As an independent, I don't think I have much chance in attracting the bigger and often more challenging projects. <<<

Not sure what you are thinking of here.  No matter the size of the project, you will only get to work on a part that is big enough for one person to complete.  I generally prefer smaller projects where I get a bigger fraction of the work.  But that is my preference.

Getting to the main topic: I am just starting on the path of being an independent consultant.  Not yet sure if it will work out.  I only have one customer so far.

I have been finding people who have been working as independent consultants or have very small businesses.  They often know others with related skills and make informal alliances.  If they get a major project they'll just subcontract parts of it out to other independents that they know.

This seems like it could work well, and several of these people have been at it for years.  I figure I need to meet more of them if I expect to have an ongoing business.

mackinac
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

IT people seem to act like matter and anti-matter when you put two or more together. We're too much in love with our own ideas and self images to cooperate as professionals in other fields do.

Like "herding cats".

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

There was a study of independant woman consultants where they discover by always referring to the inner circle of non-competing 40 something professionals, they were able to always get business through referrals. So if you want try to find like-minded professionals who don't really compete in your space in agreement.(if you specialize in HTML, let someone else do backend db or backend web, and everyone let someone else do copy, and then have a separate guy for networking) and faithfully refer to each other, it could really ease your job mapping contract opportunities to solution providers.

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

40 something = not age, but number of professionals

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Good point. I've known a few networks like that (and been in one.)

They all started from people who worked together at various firms then went out freelancing, often for those same companies.

If you knew them and did a reasonable job, you would get regular work. Make a politically incorrect statement, as I did once ( in support of firearms ) and your work evaporates.


Friday, April 30, 2004

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