Building a Consulting Business#1

Having been an entrepreneur minded hack for a decade plus, many have asked especially in recent times with mainstream jobs evaporating in many sectors driven by digitization and supply led recalibrations pandemic led that where do we find the cognitive resources to start up (everyone i know has been pushed to start a business as incomes evaporated overnight). If you are not from the salaried public sector elites in your country, with job security- then every job is gig work in the precarious platform economy. Your work can be offshored to the other part of the world at a fraction of the cost. The trampoline is often your own ability to reskill and pivot, often at a huge cost. With an unconventional, nonlinear resume- i operate at the fringes which has compelled me to figure out revenue streams, lead pipelines, invoicing, and the project pipelines. Fringes also mean that there is no core, and the core evolves as per the opportunity. This of course needs a mental frame shift- from an employee to a service provider. Start where one can find leverage, what can do right away that other people need.

Liberal arts folks ask- how can i do consulting is often a query which is put to me:

The answer is what language expertise that you can offer or editing skills (core competences). A 100-dollar article is all you need to start. I started with INR 1000.


Writing Up: Starting Up 11 years back

Having an interdisciplinary career from Biotechnology to Environmental Engineering to Human Geography academically and career wise within consulting to start ups to journalism to non-profits across the last decade (and six countries), needed an anchor to what i always wanted to do, which is to write and on one humid Christmas day in 2010- out of sheer exasperation opened a blog named changethinker, hoping that my thoughts matter.

I got the worst feedback (and still do) and hoped to author stories that others do not as academia and the private sector have their own incentive structures.

I did not want to adhere to the rules, so i started up. I am a non-PhD, and a scribbler who writes from the tapri or the chai karak shop or the kopitiam wherever i am.

I have been on a roster of platforms that people aspire to, and have gotten publishing opportunities in significant places, on paid roles in consulting and writing.

I share notes with fellow indies and college students all over. The thumb rule is simple- do one thing well and have a market for it.

Do not let the HR manager dictate the terms. Dignity matters.

Build value, offer cost savings and be a rain maker.

Conversations with Grab (ies), December 2021, Singapore

A couple of days back, a platform economy mobility provider in his late 50’s got chatty with me, and I love conversations in general as people know (ethnographic ethic) where he was asking me where I am from and upon hearing that I am from Mumbai, he is starting uttering phrases in Hindi as he was traveled to India often as a global head of operations of a Temasek linked company. An INSEAD MBA with an engineering degree he offered details of his former high-flying life, bonuses, and frequent flier miles. He was nattily dressed in a big watch and held an impeccable conversation. He drives a few hours a day only to catch up with his wife around dinner.#everydaysingapore

Satya-Sundar Middle Class Social Capital

Education for my generation and my fathers has been about social mobility and a job overseas is an escalator towards that- a good house, a car, savings, and a vacation are something which is desired as home markets are hyper competitive. A career professional is also an entrepreneur, the risks taken by my parents among other educated expats have been unprecedented. The idols we create are the virtues we wish to attain for our kids. Well done, Parag and Satya and Sundar.

Becoming a verb, is a work of action.