I started out as a consultant because I needed the flexibility to work around my growing family and there was no shortage of work.
I set up in 2006 when the Construction Industry was booming. I was working in the housing sector and was developing a specialism for refurbishment projects. The company I was working for had been bought out by an international business with a phenomenal safety record. I worked on the transition team for a year, training up our site managers in the safety philosophy of the new parent company but my sites were finishing and I would have had to move South to continue with the company. I saw this as my cue to go my own way.
My Consultancy Vision
I didn’t initially have aspirations of being “a consultancy”. I was just going to be a freelance Health and Safety Manager. I intended to take on as much work as I needed to match the salary I had been earning. I basically had a blank diary to fill and marketed myself as an outsourced safety manager. I intended to work on clients premises during office hours, so I didn’t need an office and kind of figured I needed 5 developers to work for 1 day a week each. My pricing strategy was simply charge the same hourly rate as I got when I was employed (BIG MISTAKE)
Turns out this wasn’t really a good business plan for several reasons.
- Most developers have in-house Safety Managers.
- Working for your old hourly rate fell massively short of the monthly salary I was used to.
- I didn’t consider time or money for marketing
My Biggest Fear
I’d seen many people I worked with set up their own consultancy businesses and had always said “That’s not for me. I couldn’t sleep at night if I didn’t know how much I’d earn at the end of the month”. The fact that I now have a successful consultancy business and a full diary will be hysterically ironic for people who worked with be in the early 2000’s!
As it turned out, I didn’t need to be too worried about money. It kept coming in thick and fast for the first 6 months but that was pure luck, not strategy or planning.
Where It All Went Wrong
I didn’t consider for one minute that the construction industry would come to a standstill, pretty much overnight.
But it did.
And that is when it all changed and I went from a freelance, rent by the day Safety Manager to a Consultancy. And that is a WHOLE different ball game.