Project Management

Your First 10 Tasks as an Independent Consultant

Lonnie Pacelli is an Accenture/Microsoft veteran with four decades of learnings under his belt. He frequently writes and speaks on leadership, project management, work/life balance, and disability inclusion. Reach him at [email protected] and see more at ProjectManagementAdvisor.com.

So let’s say you went through the 12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming an Independent Consultant—and you still want to take the plunge. This article will give you the must-do items to complete before opening your doors.

It’s common to be excited about getting your consultancy going and landing that first gig—passion is great! But you absolutely need to get a few things in order first. I can’t stress this enough: If you skip over considering the 10 steps below, you are setting yourself up for potentially big problems later. This is a “measure twice, cut once” thing. (I think you get my point by now…)

My experience is setting up a U.S. company in the state of Washington. You should use the advisors and other suggestions that are right for your consultancy’s location.

1. Get an attorney, tax accountant and insurance advisor. These three professionals are in my view the most crucial advisors you can have in setting up your consultancy. Much of their value-add is about risk mitigation—ensuring that things are set up the right way and you have the right things in place to protect you in both good and bad times. Unless you are a practicing professional in one of these areas, don’t think you can do what they do anywhere nearly as well as they can.

2. Decide on your business type. In the United States…


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"[Musicians] talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art."

- Jean Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home.

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