Hey honey, wanna help me with a big project?
7/1/15 / Karla Raines
Facilitating success over 15 years of love and consulting.
In my mind, the question with milestones is this, which one is significant enough to celebrate? First year, 10, 20 or 50 – no brainer. What about 15? Sometimes the mid-decade mark is an important one. That’s the case for me this year as I celebrate 15 years with my company, Corona Insights. Oh, lots has changed over those years. I’m no longer officing out of the spare bedroom with the double bed that was great for holding files and for taking naps. Today I can catnap in my comfy office chair. Oh, and then there is air conditioning instead of a swamp cooler. Plus I have more colleagues than the one who is forever first for me, Kevin Raines.
We don’t do payroll in-house anymore off the 1st Bank checkbook. Now we have a payroll service and a super talented office manager to handle all of that stuff. Like many a start-up there was no salary for the first six months.
Those first six months of 2000 were a bit like the austerity period when Kevin and I were saving to become homeowners in 1994. No frills, no fluff. Our old house would just have to wait a bit as we saved for future remodels, especially since Raines Manor also served as Corona world headquarters. Who knew that the habits we’d built as first-time home buyers, and later remodelers, would serve us well as we had to chart the financial course for our company?
I’ve had the joy and pleasure of building my consulting practice from scratch since 2000. I’ve also had the joy and pleasure of helping to build a small business too. Of course, if I’m honest, there has been some pain too, maybe quite a bit depending on the day, month or year. 2010, in the depths of the recession, many a painful moment. Certain challenging consulting gigs required many hours of free therapy from fellow consultants and colleagues. But I get ahead of myself once again.
Over the next several blogs I will reflect on my early years as a Jane of all trades, back in the day when I staffed research projects. (Some of you will recall the observational seat belt research we conducted on Denver street corners.) Then I’ll focus on the clients and projects that served as the crucible for my consulting practice. Finally, I’ll touch on what keeps me fresh and motivated today.
In the meantime it is interesting to note how much 2015 is like 2000. The nonprofit strategic consulting market is as fragmented today as it was then, possibly even more so. It remains largely populated by individual practitioners and smaller firms, many of which are still going today, although a few of my consultant peers have left the field to pursue other dreams and new folks have come into the market.
Business is still largely derived from repeat and referral sources. Friends and colleagues mattered then and matter now. What also matters is deep passion and love for my craft and the people who have helped me master it. There are too many of you to mention by name – and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Like they did in 2000, 2005 and 2010, prospective clients often begin their call or email with “I’d like to speak with you about facilitating our strategic planning process.”
Fortunately, some things never change.
I remain deeply indebted to my beloved who said, “Hey, I won a big project. Do you wanna help?” Who knew love and consulting would go so well together?