Going It Alone: Essential Tips for the Independent Consultant

Karl Wiegers
Agent Q Bookworks, 2018
Going It Alone

Contents & Sample Chapters

Supplemental Materials

Leaving the corporate world to become an independent consultant is exciting but also a bit scary. There's a lot to know about setting up the company, finding and working with clients, establishing business policies, and establishing yourself as a respected professional in your field.

When Karl Wiegers became an independent consultant twenty years ago, he didn't know much about all that. Now he does. Karl wrote Going It Alone: Essential Tips for the Independent Consultant to share what he—and others—have learned. With countless tips for making your consulting more effective and your business more lucrative, it's the book he wanted to have when he was hanging out his own shingle.

Going It Alone contains 33 chapters in six parts: Setting Up Shop, On the Job, Practicalities, Building the Business, Media Matters, and Writing Your Way to Success. Written in a conversational and entertaining style, it covers the gamut of practical issues for both new and seasoned independent consultants. Karl draws from his extensive experience as a consultant, speaker, trainer, and author. Guest chapters from other consultants add a range of additional perspectives. Dozens of anecdotes that describe actual experiences make it all real and relatable.

Beyond helping with the basics of the business, chapters address how to manage your intellectual property and leverage it in a multitude of ways for profit. Two chapters offer many tips for giving effective presentations with confidence. Others provide a wealth of guidance on writing articles and publishing books. If you have questions about setting prices, negotiating agreements, dealing with difficult clients, or generating revenue while you sleep, Going It Alone has answers.

Whether you're thinking about taking the leap, just getting started, or hoping to grow your business, Going It Alone offers an abundance of pragmatic pointers for the independent consultant in any field. Even if you're not an independent consultant, you'll find a wealth of valuable information here.

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  Praise for Going It Alone

"A singularly lucid and entertaining guide to the full lifecycle of working as an indie consultant. No one considering leaving the dark side of corporate employment should make the jump until they have read this book—twice. It will save you unimaginable grief."
—Gary K. Evans, Agile Coach and Use Case Expert

"I wish this book had existed when I first went independent. It would have saved me from a lot of mistakes. Even now, twenty years after first going independent, I learned a few things. Each chapter in Karl Wiegers's Going It Alone is full of powerful advice, most of it from Wiegers himself. But he's also wisely included chapters from experts on specific topics. If you are a newly independent consultant or are contemplating it, Going It Alone has the advice you need to succeed."
—Mike Cohn, Co-founder of the Scrum Alliance and the Agile Alliance

"I've looked to Karl Wiegers for business guidance for many years, and I'm thrilled to see him share these ideas in this interesting, practical, and to-the-point book. I'm not an independent consultant, but this book's breadth of topics reaches well beyond that audience. Whether you are a consultant, business owner, aspiring leader inside a professional services organization, or budding author, you will find value here."
—Joy Beatty, Vice President of Research and Development at Seilevel

"I've read most of the consulting books recommended in Going It Alone, and they are all as good as suggested. What makes Going It Alone stand out from the others is that Karl Wiegers and his colleagues easily cover the broadest landscape of issues that you may encounter as a consultant and provide practical, down-to-earth advice to navigate these issues. Even after consulting for fifteen years, I picked up a handful of valuable tips for future use!"
—Jim Brosseau, Clarrus Consulting Group

"This book captures in a very readable way a collection of lessons learned from Karl's years of experience and from the experience of others. I find two of the techniques described here to be especially helpful. The first is the use of checklists, a simple but very effective way to avoid mistakes. The second is a collection of business rules (or policies), a pithy collection of lessons you won't have to learn the hard way. In addition to these two notions, there is a wide range of other advice on topics that will help make you a successful speaker, advisor, and author—enjoy!"
—Dr. Joyce Statz, Independent Consultant in Business Analysis and Process Improvement

"Simply put, this is the book I wish I'd had available to me when I started consulting. I had never had to market my services, bid against competitors, incorporate my business, negotiate deals with partners and clients, or protect my intellectual property. I learned the hard way. Going It Alone distills those hard-earned lessons so you don't have to. It took me years to figure out how to leverage my work through passive income; Karl devotes a large section to it. It almost seems unfair: he lets the reader in on the secrets that took the rest of us a lot of pain to learn. The book provides valuable advice on pretty well everything that touches on the consultant's life, from how to work with partners, to what to cover in contracts, to the more philosophical questions of consulting like balancing life and work. If you're starting out on your own, you couldn't do yourself a better favor than reading this book."
—Howard Podeswa, CEO Noble Inc., author of The Business Analyst's Handbook