I just replied to a great email from a prospective consulting client who asked some questions I think many prospective clients could benefit from reading my replies to. They are posted below as an FAQ of sorts. Readers here in general are more than welcome to provide feedback in comments, any discussion of these strategies is great.
Otherwise, here are some details about how a typical consulting engagement has been going for me lately. For more details on my consulting services, see this link. If you’re interested in working together, I’m not in a position to take on any new large engagements but am always happy to schedule small engagements of the sort discussed below. I’m doing 2 to 4 one hour consulting sessions per month right now and they rock! Those hour sessions are described early in this post.
If I hire you as a consultant, will that prevent you from writing about our company on Read Write Web?
No, though it will greatly increase the likelihood that another writer would need to cover your company instead of me. If, and it is unlikely, I did write about you on RWW then I would be very open about disclosing our financial relationship and would probably be especially critical of your shortcomings so as to compensate for any perception of bias. 🙂
Will you consider working or advising in exchange for equity?
If after a short term engagement we both were interested in arranging equity for a long term engagement, I would consider that. Thanks for asking.
What does a 1 hour consulting session include?
That one hour can consist of whatever you like, it usually ends up like this: 30% of the time is you talking, 65% of the time is me offering feedback based on what you show, tell and ask me. 5% of the hour is spent on assorted magical moments and the hour usually goes a bit beyond 60 minutes. It’s a fast paced, action packed session that leaves everyone with a lot to think about and act on. If you’d like to send me some background materials prior to that hour I can spend a few minutes looking at them, too.
How many hours should I hire you for, if I want your help planning a product launch?
There are 3 ways I do this with my clients. A one hour session focusing on launch planning can provide a basic outline of what I suggest you do, questions answered and some product/market positioning feedback. A 3 to 5 hour engagement consists of the first hour as detailed above, some time spent by me coming up with a list of people you should reach out to regarding your launch if you would like that list, then time spent walking you through implementing that plan up to and including launch day. Finally, a 10 to 15 hour engagement can include time spent by me writing and/or editing outreach materials for you and providing detailed, real-time advising on launch plan implementation. I can also spend some of that time building a world-class OPML file of RSS feeds for you to subscribe to in order to stay on top of your field.
I do launch consulting work in all 3 of these formats and clients are always happy about how it helps them advance towards their strategic goals. I have limited availability for 10 to 15 hour engagements, whereas 1 and 3 to 5 hour engagements are easy to schedule.
How many hours should I hire you for, if I wanted to do product development and roadmap planning work together?
The same time formats as above can apply to product roadmap discussion, with 10 to 15 hour engagements including website copy editing instead of launch material editing. 10 to 15 hours of product development consulting can be scheduled in regular sessions over a period of several months. This is easier to schedule that 10 to 15 hours on launch planning as the time frame is usually far more truncated.
An hour doesn’t seem like very long to work together? Can I really get value out of such a short work session?
If you don’t mind my saying so, you should be able to provide a relatively full explanation of what you are doing in far less than an hour and users are unlikely to give you that much time before they decide whether to return to your application or not. 🙂 That said, if you are looking for a deeper engagement than a fast paced hour can provide, I’m more than happy to schedule a 3 to 5 hour engagement to provide that level of in-depth discussion.
That’s it! Those really are Frequently Asked Questions. I hope you found them helpeful and I hope you’ll get in touch if you think that we could work well together.