On being a consultant

Although I do not consider myself a consultant, but found this tech-tip from “Steve Friedl” on “Being a Consultant” very interesting and true. There are some points I find very very important:

  • You must give the customer The Warm Fuzzy Feelingâ„¢
  • Detail is comforting to a customer
  • Your references are your reputation in the consulting world
  • Be Easy to Fire [YES, it is very important]
  • The customer is NOT always right, specially in Iran.
  • Said by customers: “He was a great guy, but he was never available”. I do this mistake, alot.
  • Your customers are buying your judgment, not just your time
  • All programmers are optimists, and all projects run into unexpected roadblocks.
  • Steve’s section on Billing is great. Read it once every week.

And there are some points I want to add:

  • Be something, but be it! A student is not a real consultant, and is not a “real” office worker neither.
  • A consultant must be cool and ready for difficulties when the customer is not
  • You gain a lot of consultance requests for:
    • what you have done before: “I’ve seen your job in ABC, and need same type of help here”
    • references by your friends, co-workers, people working for former customers now moving to other companies and former customers
    • as Steve says, your website! If you do not publish things on it, at least keep it tidy, well designed and up-to-date you will not be considered much of a techie guy.
  • Always know more about what you have done, your timings and expenses and …, than your customer knows.
  • Beware of the terrible customers coming right from `bazaar`. They think they can take advantage of you as they did from their poor clerks. You are not a clerk. YOU ARE NOT A CLERK!
  • Be clean shaved(!) and dress like real people. A geeky outfit is not what most customers accept.

Note: Actually I had written it on Novembver 2005, but today recalled it once again and thought it was worth posting here.