I am Ann Price, a community psychologist and evaluator based in Georgia. I own Community Evaluation Solutions, a firm I founded in 2004. In this blog, I want to talk about the challenges I experienced starting my business and several free opportunities for independent evaluation consultants.
Like most evaluators, I don’t have a business degree and had no idea how to start a business. What I did have was a pretty good intuitive business sense and some good business books. The challenges in getting started were many, and I had lots of questions. You might be asking yourself the same things. Questions like:
- What will my business name be?
- What tagline will I use?
- How do I start a business?
- How do I get paid?
- How do I get clients?
- How much should I charge?
- How do I write contracts?
- Do I need an accountant? A lawyer?
These questions might feel daunting at first, but there is so much more help available to you right now. Here are a few lessons learned and some Rad resources for budding business leaders.
- Write a business plan that speaks to you. Define your vision, values, brand, ideal client and how you will reach them. Part of my new business plan includes “paying it forward” to new and emerging evaluators.
- Join a TIG and volunteer for leadership. It’s a great way to meet other evaluators and get support for your business.
- Develop some trusted business besties you can count on for advice.
- Gail Barrington’s book, Consulting Start-up and Management.
- Office Hours: Twice a month on Fridays at 11 AM EST I gather with new and emerging evaluators to talk about business planning, how to pay yourself, choosing a company name, finding contracts, networking, budgeting and other challenges. I share the recordings on my YouTube channel (when the conversations are not private) and supporting documents in Google.
- IC Topic Chats: Hosted every Thursday at 12 PM EST with Matt Feldmann. In these weekly sessions, presenters share a specific topic related to consulting and the group discusses. There is now a large catalog of past sessions on the YouTube Channel.
- IC Mastermind groups: Started by IC TIG leadership in 2019, mastermind groups offer a small network of colleagues in similar business phases, and are a great way to get support.
- Building Your Consulting Business Monthly F&Q: Komani Lundquist holds monthly meetings for new evaluators, entrepreneurs and business leaders.
- Squad Socials: Tamara Hamai hosts monthly virtual socials on Tuesdays at 2:00 pm ET for consultants.
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