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  1. #1
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    Starting out on your own

    I have decided to start my own QA consulting company. I'm pretty good at automation and designing automation frameworks and processes.
    Has anyone here tried to go on their own? Does anyone have good suggestions on how to find customers? What should I watch out for?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: Starting out on your own

    As for QA on your own, I cannot say much, other than to keep in touch with those you have worked with in the past. There are some companies that will subcontract you, which helps reduce search time between contracts early on. Some consulting companies will even go three layers deep just to get a commission.

    However, the big gotcha I CAN warn you about is taxes. If you start a company to be on your own, then pay yourself a salary, calculate the office space in proportion to your home, the % of your utilities, etc. on your own, you will get a headache. I had always done my own taxes (not that tough), until we had our own company. All kinds of profit gotchas hit us, quarterly unemployment payments, and other stuff that was annoying and bogus.

    So, get a good accountant BEFORE you start, so they can give you all that Chapter S, 1099, quarterly esimated tax, and other tricks the regular working person never sees.
    Aaron Fager
    Software Test Engineer

    If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.

  3. #3
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    Re: Starting out on your own

    Also consider the additional work that you will have in keeping tack of business expenses etc. Ensure that you set up your business so that any failure (hope that it won't) will nit effect your personal home etc.

    Some companies will require that you have certain types of liability insurance which can be expensive.

    Thee can be a lot of rewards and some headaches to go with them.

    Good Luck
    Lynne

    I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work" --Thomas Edison

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Re: Starting out on your own

    If you have to ask where to find customers, you aren't ready.

    I started a company about a year ago when I realized that I was turning away more dollars in work that potential clients were calling/e-mailing me about *unsolicited* than I was making at my last job. Even with that, having over 50 published articles, being a prominent conference speaker, etc. it's not always easy to find work.
    Scott Barber
    Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus
    Executive Director, Association for Software Testing
    Co-Author, Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications
    sbarber@perftestplus.com

    If you can see it in your mind...
    you will find it in your life.

  5. #5
    Moderator
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    Re: Starting out on your own

    Nahimov,

    To add a bit to what Scott said, there are a number of prerequisites to going into business for yourself;

    - Have enough verified revenue streams to amply provide for ongoing salary and costs.

    - Have enough up front capital to meet your initial costs, and to provide you cash flow for the period it takes for your revenue streams to kick in.

    - As Aaron says, have a good accountant to advise you not only on your taxes, but also with the set-up of the company. Here in the EU, and also in the States, there are a lot of responsibilities associated with becoming a company director or even sole trader which can have serious legal ramifications. It the good old days, it used to be that owning a limited company was a good barrier between you and your business if things did not work out; this is not really the case any more.

    - Make sure that you have all the skills necessary for running a small business concern. Being able to do the work is not, in itself, enough. You also need to be able to sell and manage finances (cash flow, book keeping etc...) This is why many people, such as myself, elect to go into business with others, or employ other people from day one; IMO, it is rare that all the necessary skills are embodied in a single person.

    All that said, working for yourself is very rewarding. If you can break even in the first year without cracking up and going grey, you're doing well. There is alot to be said for going out on your own before you have a family, mortgage, and other demands on your time and finances, as you can expect work to consume most of you're time and resources for the first year at least. I've been running my own show now for the last 19 years and love it. Financially, I have probably done better than most salaried employees, and have sold one of my companies for a good return. That said, the early years were tough and lean.

    Best of luck in your endeavour, and don't forget to still have a few beers on a Friday,

    Shane

 

 

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