Today I had a nice little chat with Peter Yorgin of Mobile MacWiz
. Peter is a friend of a friend as well as a Mac IT consultant operating in Manhattan. He's been doing this for a couple years and was able to give me some good tips and pointers as well as refer me to some useful resources.
Perhaps the most useful thing he was able to tell me about was the Apple Consultants Network
. Apparently Apple maintains a network of Mac IT consultants which people can use to find consultants in their area to help them out with their problems. In addition to helping business find you (and apparently it's very good for that) it also provides you, as a consultant, with a lot of resources to help you out. For example every year there's the Annual Apple Camp for Cosultants which is basically a four-day training session for Mac consultants given by Apple. Also you get access to email lists where consultants are able to collaborate and share their technical expertise to help each other out. You also get discounts on certification and training, access to all sorts of third-party promotions, permission to use the Apple logo, free marketing materials, and all sorts of other things. If you pay the extra money to get the plus level membership you also get free and discounted copies of Apple's software and even hardware.
Personally, I think the free and discounted Apple software alone probably makes the membership fee worthwhile, and if the membership is able to provide you with only a couple hours of work it's paid for itself. The only real catch is that you have to have an Apple OS X certification of some sort. But I just took a look at the certification stuff and I'm pretty confident that I can pass the test for the lowest level certification (which you need to get the higher level ones) right now without taking any of the prep courses or anything.
So my plan for next week is to get my Apple Certified Help Desk Specialist certification ($150), then apply for a membership in the Apple Consultants Network ($695/year + $50 application fee). From the sound of things, doing that right there would probably be enough to get me going as far as consulting goes. Of course I still intend on doing some marketing of myself as well, and should already have a few other things coming in from other sources.
This first week has been a little frustrating as I've watched money pour out of my bank account with nothing coming in to replace it. But now things are definitely starting to look good, and I'm getting my confidence about all this back again. One week of 'vacation' was definitely enough, I'm ready to dig in and get myself going.