Is it time for a change and consider consulting?

Spring is often thought of as the season for change and renewal. That’s never more true than being in the desert. I was caught totally off-guard of spring in the southwest. The changes are everywhere. I love spring in the desert almost as much as I love autumn in the Midwest.

blooms

I’m pretty fortunate in that when I look outside my office window, I get to see the blooms on the right.

Which brings me to careers and trying new things. Hardly a week passes that I don’t receive a call from an individual or small organization looking to make their way as a services group consulting or creating an analytical product. The general area of analytics is just exploding and if you believe the press, it’s going to continue to do so for the next few years at least.

So, is this a good time to start an analytics consulting company? What is the competition and how much work is available? What are the rates and what is the cost to get into the industry?

All of those questions are good questions to ask. Never has the availability of good software and hardware been so affordable. One can easily put together a respectable analytics development platform for under $5,000. Along with the accessibility of affordable hardware and software, the climate is such that there are clients that can use your skills – if they are the current skill set.

For example, back in the day when I started out consulting, almost all statistical software was on the mainframe. It wasn’t realistic or even possible for me to lease a small mainframe or mini-computer to do such work. The software de jure was SPSS, SAS, BMDP and perhaps Minitab. All had considerable license costs associated with them.

Today, you can buy or build a decent workstation for just a few thousand dollars and install WPS, R and Python and have your own highly respectable analytics platform. Expect to have to add a laptop to the mix because you’re probably going to have to travel a bit when you start out, but still, well under $5,000. I’ll put a plug in for WPS right here. In comparison to our competitor, you can expect to pay approximately $14,000 more for our competitors product on a desktop for the first year than for a workstation WPS license.

As a matter of fact, you could license a copy of WPS for Windows Workstation, Mac OS X and a small Linux Server and still be $6,000 below the cost of our competitors workstation cost.

Which brings us around to getting business for start-up consulting firm. You have to have a state-of-mind that marketing your skills is as important as using your analytical skills. This is a broad topic and marketing and salesmanship is not the most natural thing in the world.

I’m not the most voracious reader anymore. Nothing like what I used to do. But I have been reading a few books that I think everyone who wants to go out and start a small business should read.

Even though no one I know likes to make cold calls, you are still going to have to follow-up with a near-cold call when you get inquires from your web site or blog. I recommend: The Conversion Code: Capture Internet Leads, Create Quality Appointments, Close More Sales

You are going to have to create a website and preferably a blog to communicate with your audience. In this case “your audience” are the companies who are looking for your consulting skills. Spend some time with: SEO 2017 Learn Search Engine Optimization With Smart Internet Marketing Strateg: Learn SEO with smart internet marketing strategies

If you are considering writing a vertical market application for resale, you don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to figure out if your idea is workable and attainable. A good read is: Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

And of course, the one that is truly important to me is: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. If you are working alone instead of a small group, motivation can be difficult. Finding a way to stay motivated is important and there are ways to deal with fatigue and lethargy.

About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC located in beautiful Tucson, Arizona. Phil has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS consulting and contract programming services and is an authorized reseller of WPS in North America.