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Consulting - Quit the day job?

By e ·
I have a great job currently, network designer and admin, but I have a family member that needs care now due to illness, and am finding my usual 50 hrs per week hard to do and provide the care that I need to.

I've been pondering the possibility of doing consulting. My hope was to pick up a handful of small to mid size businesses and do computer support for them.

My question is, is it realistic to hope I could cut down my hours to part time (25-30 hrs per week), still make a little bit of a living and keep my career alive, doing pc, server and network support for a couple of clients?

Some folks tell me when you break out on your own you have to double your hours though it's a lot more lucrative. My problem is a difficult family situation and the need to cut my hours back and have some flexibility for dr. visits, etc. If I have to work even more hours I can't do it.

I'd be grateful for any input.

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Perhaps a stupid queston but...

by Tig2 In reply to Consulting - Quit the day ...

Have you explained your needs to your current employer? Under the Family Leave Act your current employer may be able to accommodate this change in your needs right now. Especially if you are simply looking for flexibility.

Consulting is a tough road. My experience has been that you can get overwhelmed pretty easily even in the best of situations.

I would start with a chat with your HR folks or your manager. Explain that you enjoy your job but have this challenge just now. Find out if they will be willing to work with you. My experience has been that many will.

Good luck to you and your family.

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Agree, and see about tele-commuting

by Maevinn In reply to Perhaps a stupid queston ...

More employers are willing to allow tele-commuting for more and more positions these days. If a significant portion of your job can be done remotely, see what they'll do to support that. It ends up being a time saver for them as well as a benefit for you. You'd likely still need to come in a few hours each week, but that could be 4 hours each morning, or 2 days a week, etc. Definitely worth asking about, anyway, considering the potential hardship of losing income during a stressful time.

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did check about fmla

by e In reply to Agree, and see about tele ...

We can have family leave, but my understanding is the law allows only a certain amount, and I think I might be in this for a longer haul, so was exploring the options ..

Regarding telecommuting, the current administration is old school about this . . if we can't see you how do we know you are actually working although the programmers are gaming while sitting at their desks and are thought of as productive . . .

I've been at the job a long time and even with 10 years track record of 5 nines they'd jump at a 20 something that would start for less than my hourly.

Just had heard the rates of freelancers, three times mine hourly, and thought that might be an avenue to explore.

thanks for the input . .

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Speaking as someone who's done that NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Consulting - Quit the day ...

I had the idea of going into semi retirement a few years ago and I set up this business with the idea of only working a few hours per week and having time for my Play Toys and do things that i really wanted to do.

That lasted 12 hours. Now I have 10 techs working for me one surly Office Manager who thinks that she owns this place and I'm constantly stealing from it and worst of all no Play Time at all!

Then to make matters worse I can not plan anything as emergencies crop up that need attention immediately so there is no time off for Good behaviour and I'm on call 24/7/365.

The closest thing that I've had to a holiday was a 2 week hospital stay on the 9-9-01 when I dropped a car on myself and even then for the first 12 hours or so I was left alone and then the next morning several of my staff turned up with a NB and several mobile phones that could be connected to the NB so that they could stay in constant contact. It also allowed me to collect my E-Mail and do any work that was required. About 2 years ago now I took 4 days off and drove to Melbourne. 1.5 days to get there, .5 of a day there and 1.5 days to get back I didn't get much sleep except on the way back I managed to grab a few hours of shut eye 6 about all up.

I didn't even get the 4 days either as when I got back I had a pile of work waiting and I had several members of staff unload the car and do whatever was necessary while I went off to work.

If you can I would see if it's possible to Telecommute for your current job. As the Network Designer & Admin you should be able to do most of this remotely and be flexible enough to allow you to do the necessary things required even if you have to constantly carry a NB with a Wireless Internet connection to VPN into the LAN that you are administering.


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by jdmercha In reply to Consulting - Quit the day ...

"cut down my hours to part time (25-30 hrs per week), " Sure you could do this.
"still make a little bit of a living" This is the tough part and it depends entirely on what a "living" means to you.
"keep my career alive" It might have to morph a little bit, but it doesn't have to die.

Some Options:
Do you need to be so involved, or do you choose to be? You could check with your local Social Services organization. They should be able to hook you up with free services that will provide some of the care you are trying to do yourself.

Working part-time as a consultant is much more time consuming then working part-time for sombody else. Check out UNLV. You might be able to get a part-time position there. Universities are normally VERY supportive of family healthcare needs.

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independent consulting?

by icerhack In reply to Consulting - Quit the day ...

For a manner of speaking, it is a tough job doing consulting on your own.

Unless, you have a wide contacts in the market, this means a lot of companies in the same business as your which will outsource some jobs for you, or are needing people like yourself to add value to their business.

you may also need to have a figure in mind of the minimum income that you are expecting to be able to survive.

if the situation in your family can be solve by hiring help with your current pay, then it's best to stick to the job.

Unless you can directly cure the illness, or you may know some medicine, DONT DO IT.

That's all.

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Consulting is good for money...bad for EVERYTHING else

by joe.crowe In reply to independent consulting?

DON'T do it. If you don't sell your soul with 24/7/365 you won't have reliable income.

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by sdrury In reply to Consulting - Quit the day ...

Consulting can be a greatmove - but make sure your industry contacts up to the highest level are rock solid and that you have the respect of your peers.

You will experience many empty promises at first so you'll have to consider how you market yourself -on and offline.

But from personal experience - having worked for one of the world largest corporates and taken the leap - I'd say GO FOR IT!

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Yes you can do it!

by info In reply to Consulting - Quit the day ...

I have worked here in the UK for the past 7 years doing just that. I work up to 30hours a week have 30 small business clients who I vist monthly.
Remote access, telephone support and offsite backup system all make it practical.
Just be strict with you time and charge a realistic price from the beginning.

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It Depends

by r.beckman In reply to Yes you can do it!

The advice above is relevant but no one can know for sure without more knowledge of your situation. A couple of points:

1. There is a reason for fewer women and in general young-family aged parents in consulting. Its brutal although well paid.
2. Remember, while working one assignment the staff is constantly marketing and writing proposals for the next job. Unless you are confident of a steady stream of work and good contacts for even more possibilities it could be a very tough "row to hoe". The client must have the money available to commit and you need confirmation of that from a willing "decider".

Personally, I would explore every possibility where you are now.

Good luck!

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