When do you move to Colorado and why?
April 2013. I was sick of life in NY and was contemplating either Denver or San Francisco, which I had heard were both awesome and I knew had thriving education reform movements.
What do you do?
I have a consulting business providing human resource services to mostly charter schools as well as education related non profits and districts.
How long have you been an independent worker?
Since August 2011 – that’s almost 4 years!
Did you always intend to go out on your own?
Not in the slightest; it was a complete accident. After leaving my in-house position at a high-performing and well-known charter network in NY, I intended to take a few months off and then jump back into the workforce. My mom was diagnosed with cancer that fall and she needed me to be more available than a regular job would have allowed. The following February, I decided to find some temp work to bring in some income and at that precise moment I learned that two old industry colleagues were looking for me in hopes that I could do some consulting work for their charter networks. My business grew organically from there. I always said I’d do this until the work dried up, and so far there’s no sign of that.
What prepared you to go out on your own?
I accidentally inherited a round table group of my HR counterparts in other leading CMOs (charter management organizations) in NY. Because they looked to me as their head, I was well-known and trusted throughout much of the charter community in the city. Those first two clients were former members of that group.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your business?
Realizing my own worth both from a self-actualization standpoint and also how to translate that into a cash income.
Do you have a good life/work balance? How did you achieve that?
I have amazing work life balance. I established an hourly rate that’s easier to swallow than many of my competitors but allows me to work only only about 25-50% of full time in order to have a really good annual income.
What aspect of working do/have you hate(d) the most?
I hate that everything I do is self-propelled. If I want to go to a conference, I have to find it, decide, and pay for it. I make all decisions, large or small, myself. All my learning is deliberate; there are no conversations to overhear around the office. No one is in charge of my development except me. It’s mentally exhausting.
Have you done anything to eliminate or reduce what you hate doing the most?
I joined Creative Density, which won out over the other coworking spaces because of the true sense of community. I may still be working on my own stuff, but it gives me people to socialize with and a destination to work outside of my own home.
What’s your favorite software tool that you use?
I keep it incredibly simple when it comes to technology, so my daily work is contained in the word, excel, powerpoint, outlook, and google docs. Google docs has really helped me collaborate in real time with clients when we’re working on tight deadlines with multiple hands in the pot.
What piece of advice would you give people that want to transition to your line of work?
Concentrate on getting work first before putting a lot of money and effort into the frills of the business – website, logo, business cards, office space, etc. Also, come talk to me! I’ve coached multiple aspiring consultants over the years!
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you do?
Eating! Careerwise, I have no idea otherwise I’d be doing it.