Consulting on the side - What arrangements did you make with your employer?


Steven Sulkin

I would like to hear from someone who is consulting on the side. What arrangements did you make with your employer, how do you manage working off hours, etc.?

Thanks in advance.
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Scott Knutson

Until last Friday, when I left Motorola, I consulted on the side for about a year. I was upfront with my clients about my availability and they were very understanding. I met with them usually in the late afternoon (after I left work) or on week ends or nights. If I needed to be with a client during the day, I would use vacation time from work. I did not tell my manager about my side work because I felt that what I did on my own time was my concern. I did not take calls at work, but would take pages and then return the calls when I had some free time.

I think my clients were understanding for a couple of reasons: 1. They knew I was just starting out and they wanted to help me build my career (they told me this; 2. I gave them a good rate when I did consult - much less than they would have paid someone who did this full time.

It worked out so well for me that as I mentioned, I did leave my job and am now out on my own. It was the scariest, and most exhilirating thing I have ever done, career-wise. And I am excited by the opportunities that exist.


Fully vaccinated are you?
Staff member
I think all of you folks should get jobs at places which are already registered and leave all the consulting with the unregistered companies to me!

Steven Sulkin

Thats the fun part! I agreed with a posting of yours Marc, "A consultant is a piano teacher." If you really are good (at teaching), you dont stick around once the kid learns how to play.


Super Moderator
I'm new to the forum and enjoy hunting around finding topics like this.

How do you determine a rate for your time? My wife (lovely gal - red head - southern accent like Julia Sugarbaker) wants me to do consulting on the side. I'm presently employed by ITT in the EHS field and can't strike out on my own all the way. My employer is willing to allow me some limited time off to do work (they see the benifit for themselves). I do have vacation to use also.

What do I charge? How do I find clients? I'm the only person between Los Angeles and Las Vegas with my credentials (EMS-PA). I checked all of the Environmental and Business management consulting firms in San Bernardino and the surrounding cities and only 2 out of about 20+ have even heard of ISO 14000.



Fully vaccinated are you?
Staff member
Unfortunately the 14000 standard has not made it into the 'mainstream' like ISO9000 has. For most companies, stuff like EPA nad OSHA requirements are the rule. I won't venture to guess whether it will ever be a moneymaker for consultants.

Rates come from anywhere. Get a magazine specific to the 14000 'business' and see what going rates are. I don't know myself.

Finding clients we could all write a book on. I have done well with this web site in the ISO9000 and QS9000 arenas. I know a fella who does mass mailings. Some place advertisements in trade magazines. Here you really have to use your opntacts and ingenuity.

Good luck!

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
thats right Marc...everyone has a different approach to marketing, there is no magic answer to where the clients are. Mine came from, originally, students from my career ed college evening classes, then later from my contacts in industry....supplier/customer stuff....then word of mouth, after that, from successes..and my involvement in ASQ. I have now the honor (??) of being the local section Chair. and are meeting even more clients. My favorite was a contract I got with a guy I met while deep sea fishing with my husband.....LOL networking at its best !!

Bottom line ....... do what comes naturally, its usually the best approach, and if not then try something else. Mailings never worked for me, even targeted ones, but know people who swear by them. Guess its natural for me to instill confidence and wait, but then I am a social person by nature.

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
On the employer thing....I did it after hours first, teaching at the local college evenings in a TQM degree program. The company loved it, encouraged it. And supported course development, as I would keep their training in order as well. When they downsized, they offered more help, in that they suggested I get into consulting, and ofered training for me ... and they would be my first client. I didn't. went into contact manufacturing instead....the small customers begged for help, and I was encouraged to give customer support. That soon proved to be my destiny, and I went out on my own full time. My clients came from everywhere, immediately I had more work than I could handle, and I still reap the rewards of those relationships...and that was many years ago. Those small start up companies are now large companies, and still pass out my praises.
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