5 Keys Transcript Part 1 of 6

Back to Part 1 - 5 Keys To Becoming A Successful Consultants as a Software Developer

Part 1 – Why I Became a Consultant

Transcript for Part 1

Hey Everyone Scott with motivatedcodepro.com
Today I am excited because we’re going to start a 6 part series about how to become a successful consultant as a software developer which includes 5 Keys to becoming a successful consultant as a software developer, stay with me.

Alright, thanks for coming back I am glad you’re here.
Today is part one of a six part series on how to become a successful consultant as a software developer.

And today, I want to talk about why I became a consultant, and how I got to the place where I am consulting, and so a little bit about my journey.

And to begin with, we’ve been running this consultancy called Pinch Hitter Solutions for 11 years. And so I’ve learned a lot over the years, and what I wanted to do and the reason I’m doing this, the reason, the original reason for the whole YouTube channel was really to share my experience and to help other people sort of avoid a few pitfalls and to make efficient steps as they work through their process of building their careers in independent contractor or as a freelancer or as a consultant so that’s what this is all about and that’s what this series of videos is about.

And so, about me, OK so when I was really young I fell in love with programming.
You could say I lived to program for a long time, it was the reason I got out of bed for years and I really loved that. And as a result of working really hard I progressed through the corporate ladder and I at some point learned to manage people, and I was still very technical and so I really, really enjoyed all of that.

And then, I was offered a CIO position and this is almost maybe 18 years in, so it was a lot of time and I’d done a good bit of consulting and contracting along the way myself but at this point this was like the end game, man, this was IT.

I was going to be the CIO. So I spent four years in that role and I loved it at first.
And even before my CIO roles, and other senior management roles, the idea of participating in the way we grew the company, the way we put projects together that affected the bottom line (and that’s a big deal) and so that was exciting to me.
But I still had my hands in it, so when the CIO job came along, after awhile it became fairly clear to me I could not really program and be an effective manager.
So I worked a ridiculous amount of hours trying to keep my hands in it and trying to satisfy the management responsibility that I had and it was just too much.
And I had to look in the mirror one day and say “I don’t like all of the strategic planning and meetings, to go to meetings, and plan more meetings to schedule the next meeting” and all of that rinse-and-repeat stuff.

At some point I was just very unhappy and I realized, like an epiphany, that programming and the things that sort of moved me along in my career were the very things that I as a CIO really shouldn’t do, really couldn’t do, and be an effective manager.

So you could say being a good programmer got me promoted right out of being a programmer. And that was a miserable thought for me, and I didn’t like it, and I had to be honest with myself and set my ego aside, and admit that I really missed programming and the heart of software development more than I liked the title and the responsibility, and the money and all the stuff that comes with that.

It just wasn’t me. I’m not the guy that can evolve out of software development and keep my hands out of it.

And so that really didn’t leave a lot of choices.
I could back up. I could take a different job as a software developer, or somewhere kind of between software developer and senior manager/CIO kind of stuff. There’s plenty of roles where you can manage and manage the technology pieces and still be involved in software.

But I thought, what could I do that’s different, right?
So along the way and over the years, I had this idea…
Check out this video I wrote about a piece of software that I wrote {____} and I wanted to have a software company and so having a consultancy was sort of in that same vein and I thought, “Man I could do that”. I could become a Consultant.

I had been hiring consultants and contractors. I knew what they were about and I understood the requirements and the skillsets and all of that so I thought OK I’m doing to do that.

And you know I was super excited and spent months thinking about it in fantasy land thinking about how I was going to help other people solve their technology problems, I had a lot of experience building software,  I was a skilled Java and JavaScript developer, with a lifetime of AS400 programming and RPG, CL, and all that other technology stuff in addition to that so I felt like I had a lot to offer.

But still, there were a lot of HOW questions.
(I’m going to refer here to my board here so I can read some of this off)
Here are ten HOWs that I struggled with, right?

1. How do I stay busy as a consultant?
How do you find work, essentially, right?
2. How do I market and sell?
3. How do I close deals when I have an opportunity?
What if I am competing with other consultants, and companies, and consultancies?
4. How do I price my offerings?
You know, with different geographies, and different parts of the country all of that is in play. Right?
5. How do I find additional programming resources (is number 5)?
If I need to expand my group, over time, which we did in our company.
6. How do I manage finance and accounting?
That’s a big one, man, don’t underestimate that one.
7. How do I handle legal issues?
You know, when contracts are put in front of me, how do I manage those?
8. How do I grow my company beyond just me?
(as Joe Freelancer, or Scott Freelancer, right? Scott FREE-lancer?)
9. How do I manage contracts?
And that sort of touches on the legal part but there’s more than just the legal stuff in that  that’s  you know the legal stuff that is required of you is part of that too like what they want, what you expect, and when you’re going to get paid, and a lot of contract stuff.
10. How do I stay relevant technologically?
With the other things I just mentioned, the first nine, there’s a lot there, and so staying current with technology as you manage all those moving parts is complicated.

And I am going to talk about all of that in the subsequent videos.
And so, how I evolved to this Youtube channel, how I evolved to do this at all, was the idea that at the end of last year I was thinking about all the lessons I had learned and I thought “Man, when I started there just wasn’t a lot out there about how to do this” about how to grow a consultancy, how to become a consultant out of gee find work and stay busy. It just wasn’t…
In 2007, I didn’t see anything to be honest. I may have missed it, but I didn’t see it.
So to me it’s been a lot of blood, sweat, and swearing, a lot of late nights and early mornings, and just a lot of work. And sometimes, a lot of swing and miss at things, you know I would try and they weren’t always successful but I’ve learned a lot of lessons and so this series of videos and this Youtube channel in specific is really about how do I help somebody else skip a few of the problems that I’ve encountered.

You know, and I can put some perspective and somethings in front of you to help you take that step if you’re willing to do it and you’re wanting to do it. You really have to ask yourself if you wanting to do it.
You’re really have to ask yourself if you want to do it.

And I am going to talk about all of those in the next 5 videos, go to motivatedcodepro.com check out the blog entry for this post, and I have an E-Book on this whole series that you can download as well or that you can have emailed to you.

Anyway, I’m Scott with Motivated Code Pro, I’ll see you on the next video, for Video #2 of this 6 part series, Keep coming back!

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About the Author Scott Salisbury

Scott is the creator of Motivated Code Pro and the Managing Partner of Pinch Hitter Solutions, Inc. Motivated Code Pro is devoted to helping developers build better software careers. Pinch Hitter Solutions (phs4j.com) is a consultancy focused on mobile app development and enterprise web work. Scott works primarily in Java and JavaScript and focuses on Spring and Ext JS.

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