getting started in consulting

Joelle Lyons Everett JLEShelton at
Fri Jun 18 14:03:28 PDT 2004


Your position in starting a consulting business is a lot better than mine
was, 20+ years ago.   I had a couple of years work experience, counting summer
jobs, 15 years out of the work world being home with my four children.   No
management experience outside my home.   A degree in English, a certificate for
the study of facilitating Creative Problem Solving, and a graduate-level program
in organizational change.

I stuck to things I knew about, creative problem solving, communication
skills, planning skills.   I found I had some abilities for facilitation and event
design.   I have never pretended to have any expertise in the financial and
budgeting area of management.   My general purpose, in my consulting work, was
to help move organizations in the direction of opening decision-making
processes to everyone in the organization, and tapping the wealth of creativity and
experience that were there.

After about ten years, I discovered Open Space, and it felt much more
powerful than the methods I had been working with.   I've gradually used it more and
more with client organizations, but I still offer them the choice of other
ways of working, and sometimes combine Open Space with other modes.

When I was getting started, I found that I could get experience that I wanted
and needed by volunteering my services to a nonprofit organization, to do
something that I wanted experience in.   Some of these volunteer assignments also
led to paying work--a member of a board I had worked with might invite me to
work with the board of another organization.

If you think about the work you've done over the past few years, I'm sure you
will find that you have done a variety of management tasks, perhaps without
having any managerial title.   You can find a way to include these on your
consulting resume.

The managers I work with know far more about their business than I will ever
know.   And many of them are expert and successful as managers (its usually
the good ones who want their organization to be even better).   I bring my
expertise about supporting organizations while they change, and about facilitating
meetings which help move that forward.   You have a lot of experience in
helping people come together and think about how to make their lives better, often
under the most difficult and painful conditions.   And this experience will
stand you in good stead in working with other organizations as well.

Good luck!

Joelle Everett

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