Running a Product Management Consulting Business

This blog is a little “off topic”. We generally blog about all things Product Management but I thought that I would share my experiences running a Product Management Consulting business in Australia.

This blog is the result of a conversation I had with a friend last Friday evening at Vera Cruz, a Mexican restaurant in Sydney.

Most people are generally curious as to why I quit full time work 3 and 1/2 years ago to start this business. Well to be perfectly honest, I quit full time work in search of something “different”. It just so happened, the “something different” morphed into a consulting business with a bunch of like-minded, hard working team members and an office in the middle of Sydney.

Like everything in life, running a consulting business has its good and bad points.

The Good

1. Surprising Myself

I am completely surprised by my capacity to manage change. Everyday is different. A phone call can bring a new client, with new opportunities or it may deliver bad news about the end of a project.

I am also surprised by my tolerance for risk. You truly never know where your next dollar is coming from. Sure, you can plan and forecast but an incidental, external or internal change has big effects on a growing consulting business.

2. Continuous Learning Curve

We’re constantly exposed to different business models, a range of great to kooky ideas and new, wonderful, people. You’re thrown in the deep end and asked to deal with issues that were previously someone else’s responsibility. Its impossible NOT to learn when you work in a consulting business.

3. Adventure

This business has taken me to Paris, Boston, San Fransisco, Auckland, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok…. Need I say anymore!

4. Discovering A Community

Online that is! This business has given us the opportunity to share our ideas and reach out to similar people across the globe. Sounds corny. Probably … But, I trade emails with Product Managers globally and can even pop across to the US for a beer with some.

The Bad

1. You’re Always On

There’s no rest when you work in a growing business. If you’re not working on a client project, you’re working in the business. Weekends are set aside to catch up before the week begins again.

2. Paperwork

The dreaded paperwork of running a business rates as a bad point. My tolerance for administrative work, from invoicing to completing a quarterly business activity statement, is low.

3. The Cold Call

Eeekk… I’m a consultant, a thinker and a doer. Making a cold call still sends shivers down my spine!

Would I trade this in….. Not Yet! Its still too much fun sitting on the edge of the world, diving in and out as I please.