There are a number of books that you can read on software consulting. These three books focus on the management and business development aspect of running a consulting shop. I specifically didn’t mention any technical books since there are a lot of different ways you can specialize in (if you are looking for tech books, keep reading, I have it for you at the end of this post). Even if these things don’t feel as attractive as diving into a new technology, it is vital to obtain business skills in a software development consulting world. It’s on a full time job there is no need to find work, when you freelance, you need to hustle to get clients. The good news that it’s not a rocket science, so these three books will get you up and running pretty fast:
If you want to have clients, this is an absolute must read. I love the cookbook format of Get Clients Now. It describes a 28 marketing program that leads you to having clients. You choose the tactics that suit you best. If you are best at writing, there is a writing and publicity tactic. If you are great at public speaking, it goes in detail how to utilize it to get clients. After going through the program, you’ll obtain the necessary skills in marketing and sales. You can use these skills to continue having clients in the future. You can get it from Amazon here.
As you get more clients, you’ll need to do more business development, answer more emails, phone calls, etc. Combining it with coding which is a flow based activity is an art of it’s own. I like the Getting Things Done book because it talks about a framework that allows for efficient execution of both (coding and business development). After using the Getting Things Done methodology at work myself, I now successfully use it to run my errands and many things in life. Here is the link to the book.
In order to be successful in this business, you’ll need to stay motivated and motivate others. When you team grows, you’ll need to get them fired up about the new project. When a new prospect arrives, you’ll need to get him excited about your team and expertise. Even every time you wake up in a morning and go to work, you need to motivate yourself to do so. The reason I love this book is that it goes deep in explaining what motivates people. It’s combined with scientific studies. The author proposes the three major things on the path to sustainable motivation which are: autonomy, mastery and purpose. I highly recommend reading through it to understand how you can integrate it into your work and life. You can click here to get this book.
Bonus: Freelancer’s Show Podcast
This podcast is awesome. It’s ran by a long time developer Charles Max Wood. He invites different kind of people to the podcast raging from software freelancers to finance people and lawyers. They discuss topics specific to software consulting and the new episodes come out regularly. I highly recommend to listen to the Freelancer’s Show Podcast as well as the rest of DevChat.tv podcasts
These books are a good starting point and you can take it from here. You’ll start getting the fruits of your labor once your client pipeline is built and working. The good news is that once you get it all set up, you can continue focusing on fun stuff like technology. If you are looking for good reads to master your craft as a software engineer, I recommend reading my earlier post - 10 Steps To Become a Senior Software Engineer. Enjoy.