Before You Become an IT Consultant
There are a lot of things involved in IT consultancy. Most times, we focus more on how grand the career is or how much money we’d earn and forget about what we should do to help us succeed in such career.
Some lessons, though, you just have to learn yourself. If you’re a technology consultant, or if you’re considering branching out on your own, take a few tips from my experience of supporting hundreds of companies of all shapes and sizes.
These tips have been approved by experts to help you begin your career as an IT consultant (learn more here). You should actually know these:
- Some People Are Not Always Happy
You probably already know that some people just aren’t wired for optimism or happiness. That’s all fine and good, you may think. But the problem for you, as an IT consultant, is that these unhappy people may never be satisfied with the services you provide, the equipment you deploy, or the rates you charge.
The first few times you encounter such clients, properly and efficiently diagnose and repair their technology failures, and promptly forward a reasonable invoice for the work—only to be told your work is unacceptable —may leave you feeling perplexed.
- Not All IT Professionals Make Good Consultants
Some technology professionals prefer to focus on just a few projects at a time, working uninterrupted on a task until it is complete and maintaining expertise in a few core areas. Those IT pros don’t make good consultants.
Unfortunately, the nature of consulting requires consultants to support a vast range of clients operating numerous and different business models at unpredictable times of day, while leveraging a tremendous variety of hardware, software, and network technologies.
- Clients Expects You To Know All
Clients don’t differentiate technologies. They don’t appreciate differences between routers and switches, databases and applications, and systems administration and software development. This is especially true in smaller businesses.
Nor is it unusual for a client to call a technology consultant for assistance troubleshooting a stalled email server and expect the responding technician to also expertly troubleshoot and repair a seven-year old digital video recorder. So when you don’t please them or answer them satisfactorily, they tend to voice or show their frustration.
- Clients Only Remember What Doesn’t Work
Unfortunately, human nature is such that we often don’t remember the days that go well. Instead, what often stands out are the trials, tribulations, and tragedies.
A consultant’s clients are much the same. If a client suffers a hard disk failure on a critical system, you might get lucky and have an appropriate system with which to immediately replace the failed machine.
- Some Clients Never Intend To Pay
It has become clear that some owners and managers simply resent having to leverage technology to operate their businesses and organizations. They don’t want to pay for hardware. They don’t believe they should have to pay for software. And they’re not keen on paying for a consultant’s expertise, knowledge, and time. But that doesn’t stop them from asking for systems and software and demanding assistance.
Take these into consideration and you will have a flourishing career.