This is a guest post contributed by Bradley Jacobs. Bradley founded Mylance: a one-stop-shop to launch and sustain your 6-figure independent consulting business, empowering experienced tech professionals to monetize their knowledge, work for themselves, and work part-time with multiple sources of income .
Transitioning from full-time at Uber to part-time consulting: a story
“Almost immediately after leaving Uber, I was bringing in over $20k per month in 25 hours per week”
After 4+ years in Operations at Uber, I was feeling burnt out, undervalued, and that I had reached my ceiling. I wanted something new, I wanted flexibility and I wanted to work for myself. So I quit.
As I was leaving, I responded to 12 old Linkedin messages I had ignored about jobs and responded to each that I was not open to full-time, but I could use my experience to help them out in a contract capacity. Most of them ignored me or said “no.” One expressed interest and wanted to follow up with a conversation.
That company turned into my first client. It was a Series A self-driving company that needed help launching their food delivery marketplace, and given my experience launching Uber Eats in Miami and Milan, it was a perfect fit. They agreed to pay me $250 / hr, 90% in cash, and 10% in equity. I worked 25 hours per week for them, going on-site 1 day per week. So almost immediately after leaving Uber, I was bringing in over $20k per month in 25 hours per week.
It felt too good to be true. But it wasn’t.
I wanted something new, I wanted flexibility and I wanted to work for myself.
How did I make this happen?
1. I asked for it. This company wasn’t looking for a consultant. But, I asked for it. The key is a company like this needed help. They had a major problem to solve. And I could solve their problem. It didn’t matter how many hours per week or if I was full-time. I convinced them I could add the value they needed.
2. I honed my niche incredibly narrow. I told them I specialize in food delivery marketplace launches. This enabled me to match my expertise with their exact problem. And because it was such a good match, they were willing to pay me good money for the project.
3. I went in confident. In reality, I had no idea what to charge or how to make this happen, but I conveyed confidence and asked for a high rate (I asked for $287 per hour). Many are scared to ask for high rates. I was scared too, but I did it anyway. I knew the worst thing that could happen is they’d say “no.”
How can you think about consulting?
1. You don’t need to quit your job. If you’re more risk-averse and want to try it, you can. You can find a client in 5-10 hours per week on the side, and see how consulting feels for you. Many don’t know if they can do it, so this gives you the chance to prove it to yourself without taking the huge leap.
2. There is demand for your offering. If you’re fully employed at a job, or previously were, there’s demand for you. Companies hire talent to solve problems. You can solve those problems in a full-time role, or part-time as a consultant. You can carve out the part of your role that you like and offer that as a service. The best part: you deal a lot less with the politics and bureaucracy as a consultant!
3 keys to getting your first 5-figure consulting deal
1. Price for the value you bring, not your time.
You bring to the table years of education, work experience, skills, and investment into yourself over your lifetime. You’re not bringing just your time, you’re bringing that value.
That investment into yourself is what you are bringing to a client, and thus you can charge based on your value and output that you’re going to drive, not just your time. You’re not doing mindless tasks – you’re adding incredible value and bringing years of experience. That’s what a client is getting, that’s the value we bring, and so that’s how we’re going to price ourselves.
2. Hone your niche incredibly narrow
The first and arguably most important step in your consulting business is to hone your niche so you can clearly communicate your specific value to a potential client. This isn’t easy, and one that most struggle with. So it’s your chance to stand out, and a big area where Mylance helps our customers.
The easiest way to get started with this is to think about a situation where a client would be incredibly lucky to have you. What’s a situation you could walk into and a CEO would say “wow we are so lucky we found you!” Then give all the details of that:
– What industry is the company in?
– What kind of company is it?
– What problem are you solving for them?
– Is there anything specific going on at the company that requires your expertise in this moment?
– What outcomes does your work drive for the company?
Most will just read those questions and keep reading. If you want to set yourself apart, you’ll actually answer them. Answer them as if you were talking to a friend, and write down your answers.
Once you’ve done that, you will back this up with your accomplishments and experience. The above part is “what” you can do. This next part is “what qualifies you to do that?” To give you an example…
I had worked at Uber, and at one point launched Uber Eats in Miami and Milan. So I could write “I specialize in helping Seed and Series A start-ups launch food delivery marketplaces, given my experience launching Uber Eats in both Miami, FL and Milan, IT.”
With this one sentence, there’s no second-guessing what I do, why my experience is relevant, or in what situation you should hire me. It narrows down my clientele, and when I do find a client, it’s a home run.
3. Overcome imposter thoughts
Going out on your own is scary. It’s filled with potential rejection and fear of failure. You’re going to question yourself. You’re going to wonder if you can do it. You won’t get much confirmation until you actually sign your first client, and even then you’ll wonder if you can deliver what you promise.
This is normal. This is to be expected. You’re not alone. The first part is recognizing it. Recognizing that you feel this way. Recognizing you’re taking a leap outside of the “traditional path” that comes with uncertainty, the unknown, and a different mindset.
In order to overcome this, you’ll need to embrace the confidence you have in yourself. Think about all the things you’ve done in your professional career. Think through those times when you got a project you didn’t know how to accomplish going into it. Think about a role you took when you had never done anything like that before. How did it go? You probably weren’t perfect, but you figured it out. You learned what you needed to. You used your resources to do a good job. And when things didn’t go well, you took the feedback and you learned from your mistakes.
This is how you overcome Imposter Syndrome. According to Harvard, “Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.” This is often more common with highly successful people. “High achieving, highly successful people often suffer, so imposter syndrome doesn’t equate with low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence.”
Know you’re not alone, know this is normal, and know that you going out there on your own and trying it is a “win” in itself.
Taking the first steps
1. Hone your niche (as worked through above)
2. Reach out to your network and have intro calls
3. Ask for other introductions from those calls
4. Join Mylance to get help launching your consulting business
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