Starting an IT consulting business can be a very rewarding experience. You get to be your own boss, set your own schedule, build a profitable company and make money doing what you love.
But even though this all sounds nice, you may be wondering how do you get to this point? How do you actually become an IT consultant? In the following article I hope to answer this along with some other common questions about IT consulting.
Becoming an IT consultant may seem like a pipe dream to you. However, if you have a good understanding of how to troubleshoot, repair and support computers then you can probably make money at least on a small scale as an IT consultant. Countless people start their very own IT consulting businesses this way. They start out small and then make the jump into full-time IT consulting once they have enough revenue coming in.
Others may already have the finances to float them while they launch their business or their life may be set up in a way where they can start a full-time IT consulting business right away.
And yet others start by using a combination of these two scenarios. This is how I started my IT consulting business. I picked up a part-time job while I built my IT consulting business during my free time. Once I had a good client base and some contracts in place, I quit my part-time job to work full-time in my IT consulting business.
If you are considering starting an IT consulting business then deciding on which of these scenarios to use will be one of the most important decisions you will have to make when launching your business.
Let’s take a look at some common fears when starting an IT consulting business.
I’m Worried I Don’t Have Enough Experience
If you are worried about not having enough experience then you are not alone. This is one of the most common fears people have when wanting to start an IT consulting business.
Since your primary service offering when starting out will be computer repair, you will obviously need to know how to troubleshoot and repair computers.
You should also know how to set up and support basic computer networks as well. You will see that most small businesses are using the same network products that residential clients do. You most likely won’t see enterprise level equipment unless you are supporting large businesses.
With more and more small business applications being hosted, most small businesses will not have servers. The ones that do have servers will typically be using them to host one specific line of business application or store files. If you are starting out and don’t feel comfortable taking on clients with servers yet, then simply don’t take them on. In the meantime, you should dedicate some time to learning how to support servers.
You can take comfort in the fact that you don’t need to have any IT certifications and that you don’t even have to have a college degree. Your clients won’t care about these things. They will be more concerned about your ability to do the work that you have agreed to do.
I’m Worried I Don’t Have Enough Money to Launch my Business
One of the great things about starting an IT consulting business is that the cost to get started is very minimal compared to other businesses. You can literally start your business out of your home with very few tools. And with the ability to ship parts to yourself overnight or run up to your closest electronics store, you don’t have to keep that many parts in stock. Since hard drive failures will be the main issue that will need remedied right away, I do recommend keeping, at minimum, a standard 3.5 and 2.5 inch SATA hard drive in stock.
Other expenses will include the cost to incorporate your business (get an accountant to help you with this), getting a domain name, creating a website, getting business cards and a phone (if you don’t want to use your personal).
Your biggest expense will be your general and professional liability (E&O) insurance. You can start an IT business without this but I wouldn’t recommend it.
I’m Worried About Going At This Alone
When starting an IT consulting business by yourself, you don’t have to go at it alone. There are other people and services out there that can help you out.
When you are dealing with a technical problem that you are having trouble with, there are services that you can call upon to help you out via remote support when you are in a bind. Some of these services offer level 2 and level 3 IT support remotely and charge by the project or by the hour. There are also other services that will manage your client’s servers for you for a flat monthly fee.
For your bookkeeping questions, you can and should hire an accountant. You will want to make sure you are managing your books properly to avoid unexpected surprises when tax time roles around. When you have legal questions, you will also want to hire a lawyer.
And if you have a question about running your IT business, you can also reach out to me as I am always happy to help.
I’m Worried I Won’t Make any Money
Another common fear is that you won’t make any money to live off of. This is obviously a huge concern when you are making the jump from a reliable paycheck to a new IT consulting business.
The best advice that I can give you is that you need to have a very good plan in place and work incredibly hard and securing new clients from day one. Check out my free guide at the end of this article that will help you come up with a plan to start making money as an IT consultant right away.
What Does a Day in the Life of an IT Consultant Look Like?
So what does the day to day life of an IT consultant look like anyway? Well, every day can be different but when you are first starting out, your day will mainly consist of marketing your business and trying to find new clients. This could include things like going to business networking events, cold calling, going door to door, asking people and business that you’ve already helped for referrals, and reaching out to people on Linkedin.
As you start landing some clients, your days could be more split between marketing, sales and responding to support requests both on-site and remotely. You will also have to manage invoicing and other internal tasks that are a part of running any small business.
Later, as your business grows, you may be managing an employee or two, spending time on marketing and sales, and tackling the occasional support request. If you don’t have someone to tackle your internal tasks then you will be taking care of those as well.
Great! So How Do I Get Started?
If you found this advice helpful and you are ready to start making money as an IT consultant then the first thing I recommend you do is to download my free guide on How to Make Your First $1000 as an IT Consultant. I put this guide together to help you develop a plan to start making money right away as an IT consultant.
Next, please post any questions you have below so I can help you out. I look forward to hearing from you and helping you start your very own IT consulting business.