2013 has been an interesting year for myself, and Calwell. It has been a good year to be involved with technology consulting, and we’ve has helped solve a lot of technical challenges. During the year, I’ve also seen a great shift. More prolific blogging about real products and ideas. More companies and individuals interested in having me be a part of the ideas they’ve created. I have had a few ideas of my own over the years, but I am now in a better position than ever to support and invest in other ideas.
What connects all of this is Calwell’s continued growth. Through the great number of challenges faced and starting with almost little support and less investment – Calwell was not supposed to succeed. Over the years, however, a lot of amazing folks grew to support what I was doing and that grew to something I’m proud of today. Sure, it’s ongoing, but I’ve learned a lot about this thing called “independent contracting”. Today, many see this as something they want to do. On an average day, I see a number of elevator pitches from various companies and individuals – many of them I have started to invest in.
And, Independent contracting is not a new thing: A recent study by American research firm MBO Partners makes it clear that the ranks of self-employed, independent contractors are rising. With 17.7 million independent workers in the U.S. alone, this trend is harder than ever to ignore. The majority of folks I encounter in the I.T. industry are either thinking about becoming independent or actively working towards it. What seemed like a crazy idea when I started some 13 years ago, is now decidedly mainstream.
Why is that? I have a few thoughts about why.
1. Larger companies are mistreating highly skilled workers. But, more than that, these skilled workers see other options. Those disgruntled workers are walking away from companies they feel should treat them better.
2. Costs associated with starting any sort of independent work are at an all-time low. Companies of all sizes are more willing to entertain independent workers to fulfill requirements.
How can it work for you too? I’ve always tried to install some basic philosophies in what I do. They may not all work in your situation, but if you let some guide you, longevity in independent consulting may be your’s too:
1. Don’t make choices influenced by fear
2. Ideas are easy to find, making them real is what’s hard
3. Seek to find the point where ambition and reality intersect
4. Fail, and don’t be afraid to admit that you’ve failed
5. Don’t take it personally
6. Take the steady approach over the fast buck every time
7. Stop being self-centred, make something other people want; solve real problems
Indeed, those thoughts are absolute; I am by no means, absolute. Over the years, I have developed all of those and continue to improve. No one will ever get to an absolute, but progress is always the right move.
Still, independent I.T. Consulting is the main focus, but my own path is shifting like many others. I have become much more interested in ideas, problem solvers and companies with ideas that are interesting. I want to invest in those doing new, amazing things. I expect to hear many more elevator pitches before 2014 is done.