Good morning everyone. Sunday seems to be the day I take off of the normal grind and talk about a topic that is not necessarily related to vb.net. I guess I am entitled to do so. I after all own the blog. 🙂
As the days and weeks have gone by, more and more people are writing messages to me requesting my help. Usually its just another developer wanting to help with a snippet of code I had written in the past, or one that is requesting my help with something they are stuck on. Usually I am successful in helping them and they are on their way. Everyone wins. I feel good about helping them and they have what they needed.
I have had to cut a few people off. They would be working on a project and after the eighth or ninth request that they have put in with me I tell them its time we talk about a more formal arrangement. I usually never hear from them again. I don’t do it to be a jerk but it is clear they need more help than just an occasional code snippet.
But more and more often, I am getting requests for a more involved role in a given project as a consultant or to be available to their customers to do customizations of the software they have written. It’s nice to be asked. I am wrapping up involvement in two such projects currently. I am currently averaging about 80 hits a day on my blog and it is most always being referred from Google from a .NET search so I am not totally surprised. I do get uneasy talking about consulting in my blog. I didn’t start this blog to get this sort of thing out of it. This blog’s purpose is to keep me growing as a professional in what I do. It took a long time before my work here was being noticed by anyone. To this day I wonder how many it really helps. Please don’t think I am just soliciting work here because that just isn’t the case. If I didn’t get any extra work at all that is fine with me. I do the extra work because I love to do what I do! Plus I get to meet great people, and continue to grow in my skills.
How do I handle th financial aspect, the most not fun part of consulting? I have two different ways I charge. If I know the client is a "long term client" who will be coming to me time and again I am much cheaper than if I am a person who is being hired for one concept and than I am done. I use to charge an up front fee instead of hourly but I don’t do that much anymore. People are who they are. They can take advantage in a given situation. I would welcome your horror stories on this. Believe me, I have had my share.
Can I balance my regular job and the client’s request? Always. I have them submit their requests via email along with the specs and deadline they need it by. Sometimes I have to call the client or the other resources who work for the client for clarification. Then usually I sit down and work on their requests. This has worked extremely well. The only time this approach runs into trouble is when those who are wanting me to architect the application, design GUI’s for them that sort of thing. That is a long and involved process with a lot of people to consult and have them sign off on. In those situations, I will take a few days off and devote myself to that project and getting the aspect of the architecture I am being consulted on done.
There are restrictions on who I can consult for. But I go over that with potential clients when they contact me.
So I guess what I am saying is if you have work you need done and you like what I do and think I could help go ahead and contact me via email. Lets see what we can do together. And for those of you that I have helped I have really appreciated and enjoyed working with each of you. It has been fun even when it was stressful.
Make it a great day!