Deciding who your clients are
Carolyn, As You Like It Consulting
Pros: I primarily see myself as a personal computer trainer in the same way that a personal trainer works on fitness. I work on getting the most out of the computer you already own. However, I am often called when people have gotten themselves into a mess; i.e. their Internet connection has stopped working, their grandchild has thrown all their files in the trash, or their hard drive is about to crash. I try and weed out those clients and refer them to better resources than myself.
Cons: I have had many sessions where I have driven a long way, worked on their machines for a couple of hours, and have not been able to move the client forward.
Greatest challenges: Getting good clients who will offer repeat business and good referrals.
Approaches to meet the challenges: Up until now, I have not charged those clients whom I could not help. However, they do take up my valuable time where I could be working with paying clients, so I have decided to institute a $40 fee for my just showing up, whether or not I can help them.
Mike, On The Same Page Technical Communications
Pros: The opportunity to do projects with the “Big Guys”; learning new technologies (such as Voice Messaging (Centigram), Biometric Security Systems (Identix), and Pentium (Intel)); long-term projects (1 1/2 yrs); short-term projects (2 weeks).
Cons: Getting in over your head; project is “too simple” (not challenging or stimulating); too many clients at once.
Greatest challenges: “Juggling” projects; coming up short with regards to delivering what the client expects.
Approaches to meet the challenges: Try to clearly define not only the deliverables, but the dependencies; that is, what the client is responsible for providing as well, such as equipment, personnel for reviews, or extra training as needed.