The warrior consultant

In mid 2005 I had to go and think about what I want to do next. Do I continue to pursue a career as a corporate executive or do I take a leap of faith to venture out as an entrepreneur. I have never been averse to taking a "controlled risk", so I was lured by the entrepreneurial promise of freedom without limits.

Having explained my new situation to colleagues during my spring travels, I have noticed that many internationally business savvy execs are considering a similar career path. I have singled out two different groups. There are those with 20 years in the industry, who are looking to "retire" and do some consulting on the side. Then there are those with 10 years in the industry, who have reached too much too soon and their corporate employers are not able to keep up with the pace providing growth paths and riches. By the way, that is another interesting topic…"is it possible to get rich as an executive in today’s corporate world?"

I re-read recently Execution by Bossidy and Charan, who in-part talk about the importance of HR and being able to retain key personnel. From what I hear, only a handful of major companies have taken this to heart. Even the large brand consulting houses that preach modern HR strategies do not seem to follow their own preaching.

After telling my story and what TELLUS is about, I see small fires lighting behind the eyes of these people. People get really excited and they start to spring board ideas about their personal career paths and asking for advice.This is my advice to all of you and why I chose the title for this article.

Firstly being an entrepreneur is a lot of hard work and not as glamorous as it seems. In a corporate environment there are always safety nets, but as an entrepreneur if you don’t continuously put 110% into it… you don’t eat. An entrepreneur needs to be:
a) a risk taker
b) self motivated/self guided
c) self confident
d) an extravert
e) able to manage stress (not the stress of personal performance, but the stress of being able to constantly excel to feed your family, while maintaining a balance between work and family)

If you don’t have these skills, then this is not a life for you. After the initial feel of freedom you will soon come crashing down… without a safety net.

What is the role of a market entry facilitator in today’s world? The world is full of consultants that will research and advice on how things should be done, but there is an acute shortage of people with the ability to get it done. This is why I take offence at being called a consultant… I don’t consult, I get things done!

Getting it done requires a lot of hard and often mundane work. The self control and drive that gets you up at 7 a.m. to prepare for a day of cold calling, after years of commanding executive status, is what will set you apart from the dime a dozen consultants of this world. It’s standing at a trade show booth for days with a smile on your face showing your partner’s sales reps that you are in the trenches with them, that is what sets you apart. Those with 20 years of experience looking for early retirement… think if you are really ready to put in the needed effort.

This industry is unforgiving. You screw over one client and the word will spread like wild fire. In connected a small market like Finland the down fall is virtually instantaneous.

However, there is a silver lining to this cloud as well. As an entrepreneur you are in total control of your destiny and you will reap the fruits of your labor to the maximum. You will see numerous cutting edge technologies, experience new company cultures and network like there was no tomorrow. The richness of the experience is unique! So join us all you brothers and sisters, who feel up to the challenge!

I’ll end this article with a worth while notion by P.D. Stanhope (1694-1773) “Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well”.

P.S. this blog is a mandatory read for any one wishing to work at TELLUS International Inc.

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