This week, IT Consultant Republic features a daily journal of Mike Sisco, an IT consultant, author, and former CIO. In this installment, Sisco describes a Friday in which he lands a contract extension and begins to lay the foundation for another contract. See how you can apply his knowledge and experience to your career.

7:00 A.M. Administrative
A quick check of e-mail shows nothing since last night other than the normal miscellaneous material I receive. I pull together a few business cards and a brochure along with my U.S. HealthWorks file in case the breakfast meeting with TA Associates—a start-up IT management consultancy—runs late this morning.

Read the rest of Mike Sisco’s IT Consultant Journal

Want to see how busy a typical week for an independent IT consultant can be? Check out the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday journal entries from IT consultant Mike Sisco.

8:00 A.M. Networking
I wanted to meet with TA Associates to learn more about their systems and network monitoring tools and their network management services. In meeting with the company, I learn about their capabilities, get some insight into their business model, and find out about opportunities related to their reseller program.

While I’m more of a business applications manager, I have managed many organizations responsible for company infrastructure as a CIO. In every case, I always find an excellent infrastructure resource that I can depend upon to help quantify the issues and to develop the appropriate priorities.

The meeting lasts for two hours, and I learn a great deal that should help me in future situations. I’m very interested in the reseller option because the pricing is extremely good compared to what I’ve seen in the past—less than half in some cases. In addition, their marketing approach allows a company to select from a menu of infrastructure monitoring, management, and consulting services to meet individual needs.

I make a mental note: There are always tradeoffs when dealing with start-ups, but the material that was presented makes it worth looking into further. We schedule a follow-up meeting for me to take a “look under the hood.”

11:30 A.M. Marketing
I meet with the CEO of USHW to discuss the Motion Reality Inc. (MRI) proposal, that I helped draft, to use MRI’s 3-D imaging technology with USHW. We discuss benefits of the technology to USHW’s business along with options as to how to manage such a project.

As it does to most CEOs, the additional revenue streams seemed to be of particular interest. Since I was the former CIO of USHW, the CEO appreciates both my insight to his business as well as my understanding of the applicability of the MRI technology for his company. He decides to call the COO of MRI to discuss the proposal further.

While there, the CEO extends my contract to allow completion of a project. That’s always good news and time to celebrate, even though it was a short extension.

2:00 P.M. Networking
While at USHW I learned that I had just missed a vendor that I had used while I was the CIO. I decide to call him to let him know of my search for additional contract work. I reach him, and by the end of the call, I’ve identified two more network opportunities. One of them might help me with my goal to move back to Middle Tennessee (you just never know how things might work out).

This particular vendor is located in Huntsville, AL, and I recalled that they had a client in Tennessee. One simple question creates two quality leads worth pursuing.

A few more calls, and I’m ready to settle into a weekend of writing. I have three projects:

4:00 P.M. Marketing
A company in Nashville calls me to discuss the possibility of my doing an IT assessment for them. We discuss some of the issues and dynamics of the company as well as my background and experience. I agree to send the company examples of my work and to follow up next week to determine whether we should pursue a proposal.

This prospect was created by my networking call that I made on Monday. I’m learning that networking can make all the difference. While I network much more handily within a company than outside of it, I’m getting better at it.

Today was excellent: I extended a contract, picked up a hot prospect as well as a couple of other potentials, the projects are in great shape, and my writing projects are making headway.

A quick look at the week’s to-do list indicates that progress was made in every area. My mental notes are to network harder and to devote the necessary time to finish writing my publications.

It was a fun week, and I enjoyed writing a daily diary for TechRepublic; I hope you got something out of it. As you look at my activities, it’s obvious that most of the time is spent in managing the contract, networking, and marketing. My greatest desire as a consultant would be to be in a situation that requires less marketing and selling for new business. Hopefully, this will become a reality over time as my business grows.

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