Me in my 20’s at IBM – gotta love that 80’s look!

I always knew that I wanted to be a consultant, ever since age 25 when I met Bill Tinney, a Senior Systems Engineering Consultant for IBM in Cleveland, Ohio. He always seemed to be jet-setting around the world, doing cool things like helping leadership teams and governments plan their next generation of information systems and strategies.

When I had the courage to walk into Bill’s office one day and ask how I could be like him, he sized me up with the lens of a 60-something professional who had done and seen a lot in his years in the biz.

  “Well,” he said, “You need more experience, in lots of different areas – like first line management, second line management, marketing and sales, product development, strategy development, and project management. Also having a stint in corporate wouldn’t hurt.”

  When I heard his list, I was dismayed. “Bill!” I said, “I’ll be forty by the time all that happens!”

  “Precisely,” he said.

The good news is that I started my consulting business at 36, after mentally ticking off what Bill said I needed for experience. My thought was to “fail fast” so that I could learn from experience and be successfully self-employed by the time I was 40. And that was certainly the case – it wasn’t easy! I am now approaching my 30th year in business, successfully self-employed.

I am in the process of writing my next book designed for the person who wants to start an independent consulting business. I want to give you the benefit of what I have learned over these years, from the good to the bad, and hold nothing back. From tricks of the trade to hard-learned lessons, I will share what I know. The only thing I ask is that you let me know how it goes for you!

Cathy Perme is the co-owner of Perme & Peterson Associates, LLC.

Fizz by Cathy Perme

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Catherine Perme

Fizz! How to Succeed as an Independent Consultant author Cathy Perme also wrote Confucius in My Cubicle: Practical Wisdom for the Leader in All of Us, released by Wisdom Editions.