IT Contracting is the life, isn’t it? You put your bare feet up on your desk, make a few phone calls to clients who eat up your advice like caviar, and then just count your money.
Not quite. There are lots of things that can go wrong when professionals go independent. So it’s a good idea to survey the road for some of the most common potholes, and to consider making a pit stop before you blow a tire and lose control of your business.
1. You Stop Prospecting for New Business
Countless IT consultants get in a rut and work with the same small group of clients year after year. Stability is great, but if you don’t regularly test the market for more challenging projects and prestigious clients, you could be missing stellar opportunities.
Our advice: Learn how to fire a client and market yourself and your business.
2. Your Fees Don’t Keep Pace with the Market
You have a longstanding relationship with a client and can’t seem to find a way to move your fee up from $60 an hour. Rising expenses chip away at profits, and it’s obvious that other potential clients would pay you $90 an hour, no questions asked.
Our advice: Rationalize what you charge.
3. You Enter Agreements Blindly
Work for hire, hold harmless, irrevocable assignment — who knows the meaning of all that legal mumbo jumbo? You’d better find out — with the help of a lawyer if necessary — or you may end up in civil or bankruptcy court.
Our advice: Get everything in writing.
4. You Give Away Your Intellectual Property
Your client takes that ingenious little algorithm you wrote, turns around and licenses the code to five other companies for a cool $500,000. It’s all perfectly legal, and what do you have to show for it? Resentment.
Our advice: Leverage your intellectual capital.
5. Your Home Office Gets Out of Control
Your office looks like an office supply store that got hit by a tsunami. You’ve actually lost business by misplacing contact information. Or maybe your toddler knows where to find that flash drive, and she’s using it to test her new molars.
Our advice: Get organized and stake out your territory.