Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ellen From New York Wants to Start a Consulting Company

The public seems convinced there's some kind of glamour in consulting. Hardly. Anyone who thinks it's glamorous has never done it.

It's a little like business travel. I was scheduling an upcoming trip to San Diego and a friend made a comment about how nice it was to visit San Diego in December.

"Yeah," I responded. "I fly in, check into the hotel, go to a dinner meeting, speak after dinner, go back to the hotel, and get up and fly home. It might as well be Cleveland."

Nothing against Cleveland. Actually, I kind of like Cleveland. In fact, I'd rather go to Cleveland than San Diego for business because it's easier to get around. The streets are straight.

Well, it's Saturday and I'm channel surfing during college football time-outs when I run across a call-in business show on the Fox Business Channel. The subject appears to be financing start-ups and the show is struggling to attract calls, so they send a camera and mic outside to find someone to ask a question. The camera crew finds Ellen, a student at Columbia.

Ellen wants to start a consulting company after she graduates. The show's experts correctly advise her that she doesn't need much in the way of financing to start a consulting company. In fact, all she really needs is a client. Another tells her to bootstrap.

The "experts" then proceeded to tell her a few ways to attract clients, but none of them addressed the most fundamental question. How in the heck is a university student qualified to consult with anyone about anything? What has she done? What does she know? Who would hire someone who hasn't done anything and doesn't know anything?

Sorry Ellen, but you aren't ready to be a consultant. You are, however, perfectly qualified for a life of politics.


  1. Michael Bohinc, CPANovember 22, 2009 at 7:04 PM

    I find it funny when friends, neighbors, etc. say similar things. People think that you have a bunch of free time in whatever city you're headed to. It's a real treat when you get time to see anything in a city. Usually all you get to see are the airport, hotel and the inside of a taxi cab. Matt, I have to call you out on the Cleveland comment. I have to represent my city. I know you enjoy your trips here & we love having you visit the city. Can I suggest a few other cities to use instead of Cleveland? How about Detroit, Newark or even Flower Mound, Texas?

  2. C'mon Mike, I said I like Cleveland and even prefer it to San Diego for a business trip. It came to mind because I travel there. I rarely have reason to visit Detroit or Newark.