MechanicA few times now I've been flattered when someone who is about to set out on their own as a consultant takes me out for coffee, hoping for advice on getting started. Needing a summary of what it's all about and I suppose, having survived for 5 years as an independent consultant this is what I've distilled over time. 

Loughnanes' 10 rules of independent consulting

1. Only 1 in 10 of your proposals will turn into anything, the other 9 are just training

2. 50% of the money spent going to conferences is a waste. Please let me know when you figure out which 50%.

3. You never know whats coming down the pipe when the phone rings, which is half the attraction of this business.

4. Yes, we do that, have done it for years, would be pleased to do it for you and are recognized as the world leaders in that.

5. Some days you need half of you, and some days you need two of you. The former are depressing and the latter are stressing.

6. If you think something at a clients firm should be changed, remember that change takes juice and consultants have no juice.

7. RFP's both government and business are great but ultimately 80% of your business is going to come from referrals. For a consultant on their own, socialise is better than advertise.

8. Remember it's management advice you're going to give not direction. It's futile to be upset when the manager you're consulting for doesn't follow it, he's carrying the weight, you're just watching.

9. You will always be busy when you want to vacation during the summer and underemployed in the winter when you'd rather work. Until it's the opposite.

10. Customer relations will not be a thing you do, it will be THE thing you do.

Bonus round..

11. Before you barely knew where to find the printer, now you can probably guess the price of replacement toner to within a dollar.