"Owing It" is a MUST READ if you want to start a consulting business and find a career you love!
If you want to learn how to build a successful small consulting firm while doing meaningful work, "Owning it" is a candid and clear outline of how to pursue that. It is a must-read, and I highly recommend it to anyone thinking of setting out on their own.
In my professional consulting experience over the last 20 years, I have never found a book that speaks so directly to my goals and needs as "Owning It' does. If I had had the benefit of reading "Owning It" 15 years ago, I would undoubtedly have been more successful more quickly in building my coaching practice and clearer about the steps I needed to take.
This intelligent, logical, relevant, current, easy to read book is an excellent overview of the steps to starting your own successful consulting practice. Kris Taylor shares personally in a way that most authors don't, regarding actual salary, billable hours, and a number of constraints I hadn't previously considered. She details her own ups and downs, which I found extremely helpful.
Undoubtedly this book will be useful to every potential or current consultant, no matter their industry, age or expertise. For women in today's workplace, it is a feasible way to carve a career that pays well, to reach their highest income potential, and to do it on their own terms.
Additionally, the book is an excellent and potentially sobering read for early career folks who may learn the downside of setting out on a consulting career without clear and strategic thinking. At the same time, it also offers encouragement and assurance to later career folks who are experts and can build a consulting practice and share their gifts to get what Kris calls "the power play".
Taylor's use of real-life freelancers' case studies is a great boon to the reader who is considering her/his own potential future path. The book speaks not only to how one can build a career they love but also to how to find the work life integration that is most fulfilling for them.
Johanna Wu, Ph.D., Merritt Wu Associates
If you had to explain this book in one sentence, what would you say?
Starting my own professional consulting business was the best by far career choice I've ever made and in this book I share with others what it has taken me many years to learn.
For 25 years I was seeking a career that played to my strengths,that grounded me in purpose, that had financial potential and that fit nicely into all the other parts of my life. Starting my own consulting practice has given me all that and more. That's not to say that it is easy, but worthwhile things seldom are. That's not to say it is for everyone, but it is for an increasing number of professionals. Since 2004 I've learned so much about how to do this work: how to find clients, how to run the business, how to serve clients well, how to avoid some of the pitfalls that present themselves.
In this book I share the good and the bad, the pleasures and the pains and the path to starting your own practice, if you so choose.
Who are the major influencers on your life and philosophy?
Whew!! This is a big question because I am an avid reader and learner. I'll share my top ten, but know that there are likely 100 or more. And I'll share authors, because they are accessible to all. There have been many individuals who have influenced my life and philosophy, and if you read the book you'll learn about some of them.
The following list of authors provide me with inspiration, vision and courage. Once you have those three things, you have direction. The nuts and bolts of execution are important, but they are not as foundational as vision and purpose.
Stephen Pressfield and the War of Art is the book I most often recommend and give away, for one simple reason. Every time I am stuck or am fearful, this book kicks my ass. It enjoins me to get up and get going. Without this book, I would not have written my first book. I would not have launched LEAP. I would not have done many things that put me "out there" in a place of vulnerability.
Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic does the same - but I find it to be both inspiring and practical at the same time. I read it and I feel empowered and tenacious.
Julia Cameron and The Artist's Way at Work was huge for me in the early years of my consulting business. The process of working through the exercises (which took me far longer than expected) continues to shape the way I look at the world and do my work.
Seth Godin's Daily Blogs are a boost every day in my in-box. They are pithy and cause me to think about the world, business and clients in new and helpful ways.
Tim Ferriss's 4 Hour Workweek challenged my core beliefs about work and how it could be done. I found I didn't agree with everything he advocated (an understatement) but it forced me to rethink work and what I DID believe. His recent book Tribe of Mentors provides me insights from some of the highest performers and is truly like having a tribe of amazing mentors at your fingertips.
Brenee Brown's work inspires me to work with courage & vulnerability, two important things when starting a consulting practice and working with clients.
What other authors or books influenced you to write this book?
Peter Block and authors like Alan Weis, Elaine Biech all taught me how to do the work of consulting. I learned the craft from them - yet I felt the need for a more personal look at this career choice.
Simon Sinek and Patrick Lencioni taught me the importance of knowing my "why" and what was at the core of the work I do. Without their thinking, the book would be superficial.
Michael Gerber and Eric Ries are my "go to" thinkers on how to launch and successfully sustain a small entrepreneurial business.
What are some of the major ideas that you integrate into this book or your life in general?
As Katie McNamee and I started LEAP, we found we shared a core philosophy that the type of prosperity we seek for is one of an abundance of good things, of your choosing, in your life and career. Prosperity, for us, is not a singular focus on the size of your bank account or the volume of "stuff" you amass. In fact, LEAP stands for "Leverage your Expertise / Achieve Prosperity".
We live our lives that way and we want to help others take control of their lives and careers to also live a life of prosperity.
I strive for and help others build a life where they:
- Are able to use their talents and skills for meaningful work that matters to them
- Can lead a healthy lifestyle, with time to exercise, rest, and relax
- Are surrounded with caring relationships, with friends, family and work colleagues
- Attend to their spirit in whatever way they express that part of their life
- Continually challenge themselves and experience on-going growth and development
- Are able to give back to the community and world around them
This book shares the ways in which I have achieved prosperity and will help others to decide if starting an independent consulting business is a career path that will serve them well.
What don't people know about a career as a professional consultant that they should?
Ahhh, in the book there in an entire chapter to this topic; things I wished I had known before I got started and things that others don't often share with you.
But here are a few that are top of mind:
What is one final thought that you'd like to share?
- More and more skilled and talented professionals are choosing this path - and for good reasons that I share in the book.
- It is possible to earn a good income without compromising the rest of your life and/or your health by having your own practice. Not the case if you are a consultant with a big firm, but entirely possible if you start your own business.
- You have to work "on the business" as well as "in the business" (thanks Michael Gerber for this concept). If you only want to "do the work" - find another way to do it.
- It's the wave of the future. There are many workplace forces and trends that enable professionals to do this successfully. And those same trends have made room for small independent firms to add value to their clients that the bigger firms can't match.
My life began to dramatically shift for the better when I began to take ownership of it. Only you can do this work for yourself - to step into the life and career that you desire. It is an act of boldness, of creativity and of fulfilling something deep within you. If you do choose the path of independent consulting, there will be days that are difficult, that are discouraging and that will leave you in despair. But those are not the norm.
As Alana Robinson says in the book: "Even my worst day as a consultant is better than my best days as an employee."