The only thing I knew for sure – was where to take the next step. The path is unexplored and the final destination could be anywhere. But that’s what we wanted, and we’re enjoying things with HackDigital.net. Looking from the other side of the fence, I’m grateful for the decision to take the plunge, and thought I’d share five things I’ve learned since striking out full-time.
I really enjoyed the chapter on this topic in Chris Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup. You’ve just got to work it. This will come more naturally to some people than others. But it’s mandatory for all who take this path. My original plan was to take pot-shots at leads from Traralgon, where it was cheaper to live, and string together the meetings I had in Melbourne in clumps.
This works fine in theory, but I’m beholden to my lead’s schedules – not mine. A future contact rescheduled 30 minutes out from a meeting. I told them that was not a problem. Only it was for me as I had half a day to kill in Melbourne now and was relying on that meeting. Instead of flapping about, I whipped out my phone and started looking at co-working spaces. I saw an available slot for a tour, and subsequently bumped into an old contact and my first customer.
Guess which percentile my first customer was in?
It’s natural to look behind
I left some pretty green pastures. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly and during the times I doubted myself – I really took stock of what I’m doing and looked back defeatedly. What the fuck am I doing? Should I really have done this? And my mind went walkabout.I’ve received some well-timed sage words over the course of the last month or so, and been reminded why I chose to do this in the first place, and to have faith.
Nailing a sales pitch
I touched on this last entry – it’s very hard to encapsulate what I do. It shouldn’t be. One thing that’s helped is securing the first customer, and allowed me to flex my consulting muscle and see where my true passions and skills lie. I know I have what it takes, but taking what I have and framing it in a way that people get it is key.
Consulting has been interesting
I didn’t read much on the “right” approach to consulting before diving in. I wanted to demonstrate value, help justify the customer’s faith in me, and impart as much of my wisdom as I can within a constrained allotment of time. Since starting I’ve read about consultants that try an on-sell and make themselves indispensable.
Forget that noise. The best manager I’ve ever had extolled this wisdom to me:
Your job is to train yourself out of a job.
In training yourself out of a job, you’re doing your job.
-probably misquoted, but you get the drift
I’m documenting everything I do, walking them through the thinking, adapting to their way of working, and keeping it all in the cloud and ready for handover. I’m focusing on good work and letting the rest happen.
The only thing I’m sure of in the future, is that I might be doing something else. There’s no guarantee HackDigital.net is going to be continuing in its current form. The goal was to clear my head, adapt, adapt, and adapt. This approach is fraught with uncertainty, but it’s also the way I want to go.