Raise cash to become a SMB technology consultant

Hi there – the good news is that reading my blog really doesn’t cost you any money and I am delighted to post up content from my accliamed SMB Consulting Best Practices book. We’re all in this today – so READ! Serisously – this is part of my dialy virtual book reading and I hope you enjoy!

Interim Measures to Accumulate Startup Cash

So you’re involved in a family feud and funds from the bloodline aren’t coming your way to launch you as an SMB consultant. Your friends flee fast as soon as you request startup cash. What’s a new SMB consultant to do? Clearly, you need to look at other financial alternatives. I have seen two strategies used to overcome the cash nest egg problem. These alternatives are (in order of decreasing desirability): working a night job and borrowing money.

Take a night job

Ever been to the retirement party for a titan of industry and commerce? If you don’t hear an immigration story of how the person arrived on these domestic shores (à la Ellis Island in New York) with no money, you’re likely to hear a story of how the individual went to night school, worked a night job, and the like. Many a great entrepreneur has such a story to share. For the small businessperson, this story is typically one of tending bar or delivering pizzas and are the fodder for many American success stories. You, as an SMB consultant, may well don the “funny” pizza delivery hat on the way up the ladder to generate cash during the early life of your SMB consulting practice.

And while I have nothing against pizza, there are some night shift alternatives that complement what you’re trying to accomplish as an SMB consultant in the long term. From the “do as I did department,” you could work as an adjunct computer instructor at night at a local vocational-technical or community college. This is exactly how I launched my technology consulting practice! But back to you. In many cases, educational institutions will start an instructor with little or no formal teaching experience. The old adage about teaching—”If you really want to learn a subject, teach it”—applies, plus you make a little pocket change along the way. Better yet, some of my longest SMB consulting client relationships hark back to my adjunct teaching days, because night teaching is a great referral source for SMB consulting engagements.

Another popular swing shift possibility for those with a propensity for technology is software product support. Many companies need to staff their help desks around the clock. This could be a software development firm or a traditional business that has a 24/7 help desk function. Think about it for a minute. Not only can you make some badly needed cash in your startup

phase, but this work allows SMB consultants to increase their technical skill sets. Swing shift technical support opportunities exist in the following types of firms:

·        ISVs — Computers don’t care what time it is, and many technology projects occur after hours when users have gone home. Both of these dynamics mean night work for you and others at software develop­ment firms!

·        Telcos and ISPs — Internet service providers and the telecommuni­cations firms that provide communication links experience some of the heaviest activity after hours. Any respectable telco and ISP will provide sufficient, bona fide 24/7 technical support.

·        Fortune 1000 and beyond — Regardless of where you are, there is probably real technology-based night shift work. In urban areas, the need is apparent with enterprise-level entities on every block. In remote areas, just look down the road at your local call center. And don’t forget you can play the time zone game. For example, in the United States, morning on the East Coast is half past the bewitching hour in Alaska (and nearly O’beer-thirty in the UK). More to the point-when considering global firms, part of their appeal is that they have business operations that are nonstop. Glance around your town and see what large firms have distant branch offices and remote locations. These firms likely staff a technology help-desk night shift crew.

·        Traditional night businesses — Night auditors are standard fare for hotels. Look for businesses that have long engaged in nighttime operations and can avail themselves of your contribution. These firms should receive your résumé seeking a swing shift, technology-based opportunity.



Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation www.smbnation.com

Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP

PS – did u know I host a technology conference in the New York City area each spring? Save the date for March 6-8, 2009 and watch “voice meet data” in the SMB space!

PPS – my SBS 2008 book will be out in mid-November 2008!

PPPS – my Microsoft Response Point Primer book is here NOW!


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