Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Moonlighting Jobs as a Computer Consultant for Small Business

Securing moonlighting jobs as a computer consultant for small businesses is difficult because you're typically working when the small businesses are closed. You need the flexibility to carry out your moonlighting jobs during the evening and on weekends and many small businesses are not going to be comfortable with that arrangement. These business owners want to interact with their consultants on their time and prefer you to work around their schedule rather than vice versa.

A straightforward solution for securing small business moonlighting jobs as a computer consultant is to target businesses where there is a natural fit between your time frame and their schedule. Businesses that are open in the evenings like restaurants, health clubs and call centers are one source of moonlighting jobs. Others include businesses that run second or third shifts and even those that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The problem with this method is that these clients are not necessarily ideal, full-time customers, unless, of course, you enjoy getting beeped at 2:00 in the morning. If this type of moonlighting job does not fit with the type of client you want to have fill up 90% of your client roster, then you need to work on your flexibility and make yourself available to small businesses on their terms.

Moonlighting Jobs and Job Flexibility

You want to build a solid base of 9-5 clients because once your moonlighting job phase is over, it is unlikely you will want to continue sacrificing your nights and weekends. This creates a bit of a Catch-22 as you are primarily available on evenings and weekends yet the clients you want to attract, want you to be available 9-5. This is where having job flexibility is absolutely critical.

You need to be able to use vacation days, personal days, and sick days to work with clients. Being able to take long lunches, go in late, and leave early are crucial to your ability to secure small business, 9-5 moonlighting jobs. You can accommodate a networking breakfast if you come in late to work and if you can get off work early then you can get started working with a client before the end of their business day and stay on into the early evening. To pull this off, your day-job has to have a significant amount of flexibility built in. If it doesn't, your ability to secure the type of moonlighting jobs you seek will be severely limited.

The Bottom Line on Moonlighting Jobs

Getting moonlighting jobs as a computer consultant for small businesses requires persistence and flexibility but the sacrifices you make now will pay-off later in terms of an excellent client base that you want to sustain as you transition to full-time computer consulting. This means a bit of a juggling act on your part but just until you are able to give yourself the 9-5 hours your clients are enjoying.

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