Leave FAANG for consulting?

Nov 10, 2018 33 Comments

Hi I’m curious if anyone has left a FAANG eng role to pursue starting your own consulting business. It seems challenging to build up a consulting business to match Job TC, but could be potentially more rewarding, exciting and give more work location and schedule flexibility.

Has anyone considered doing this or actually done it? If so, how did it work out for you?

520k TC / 10 YOE

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TOP 33 Comments
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • OP
      I can see significant effort on sales/marketing would be required. And I think it would take at least 1-2 years before I could approach the same TC I have now. I’m considering whether long term I could make a higher income if I could get it off the ground. Luckily, I have no mortgage and few financial commitments, so I am fortunate to be in a position where I am able to withstand medium-high risk.
      Nov 10, 2018
    • New / Eng uhYr23
      Paid off house?
      Nov 10, 2018
  • Amazon Hippie
    Don’t do it. Consulting is 65% sleazy sales crap and the rest of the job involves obsequious posturing too.

    Lousy quality of life, boring work, and you’re nearly always working for incompetent clients who think they are the best in the industry when they actually can’t build anything for shit which is why they’re hiring you.
    Nov 10, 2018 4
    • New / Consultant
      RHYNO

      New Consultant

      PRE
      Legrand
      BIO
      13+ yrs Electrical and Electronic Engineering. R&D, Product design/verification/validation, DFM, MFG, Test Engineering, Circuit and PCBA design, Consulting.
      RHYNOmore
      Apparently, you weren’t very good at business but great at gagging
      Nov 10, 2018
    • Amazon Hippie
      I’ve never been an independent consultant but I have a few friends and colleagues who have and that is how they describe it.
      Nov 10, 2018
    • New / Consultant
      RHYNO

      New Consultant

      PRE
      Legrand
      BIO
      13+ yrs Electrical and Electronic Engineering. R&D, Product design/verification/validation, DFM, MFG, Test Engineering, Circuit and PCBA design, Consulting.
      RHYNOmore
      Best keep ur whitey tighties and golden handcuffs....Pretending to know what you’re talking about will get you begging your parents for money when you can’t cut being self-employed...
      Nov 10, 2018
    • Amazon Hippie
      What the hell does that mean? Don’t post on blind while you’re hittin the salvia bro
      Nov 10, 2018
  • Proofpoint / Eng foodtruckj
    Do you have a list of people willing to pay you for your business?

    Unless you provide specialized services, ICCs will eat you alive by competing based on the cost.

    I know consultants in industry charging 300 an hour on highly specialized services and they work 4 or 5 months in the year. If you are going this route personally, then you need to be well connected with people to find work for you for that year. These types of people generally have companies calling them for a few months to help accelerate a project.
    Nov 10, 2018 1
    • OP
      I’ve done consulting in the past as a side gig while working full time. It seems charging hourly is a losing battle, no matter what the rate. Everything I’ve read on consulting as a business suggests moving to a fixed cost model where you charge for a project and frame it as a product you are providing. Perhaps easier said than done.
      Nov 10, 2018
  • Amazon Gjdyveycc4
    Own business yes. One of my previous company colleague did. Have about 200 employees working for him in US and about 500 ish in offshore locations spread around world. Totally worth it.
    Nov 10, 2018 4
    • Google / Other snidely
      If you can generate enough business to get to that level, great. Most people never will.
      Nov 10, 2018
    • Amazon Gjdyveycc4
      That’s so negative dude. I think even if OP fail, he will be doing better than most of us.
      Nov 11, 2018
    • Google / Other snidely
      Most people who go into consulting will never employ 700 people. I'm just being realistic. And you will deal with shit like clients who go bankrupt or simply don't pay for work completed. But you still have to pay your employees who did the work.
      Nov 11, 2018
    • Amazon Gjdyveycc4
      Right but even in product you need to deal with clients. Either way business is more risky, challenging and rewarding. If clients don’t pay for work, then it means you were not legally prepared for dealing with your clients.
      Nov 11, 2018
  • Google / Other snidely
    Considered the risk adjusted returns. You'd need to make much more high risk consulting dollars to equal your current low risk salary dollars
    Nov 10, 2018 4
    • OP
      Agreed
      Nov 10, 2018
    • Ayasdi ioUp78
      Exactly. You need to maximize the expected utility, which is a concave function. Let’s play a game. You either a) get $25M or b) have a 25% chance of getting $100M and 75% chance of getting $0. The expected payoff is the same for a) and b), which is $25M
      Nov 10, 2018
    • Ayasdi ioUp78
      Most people will choose a) because the utility function is concave
      Nov 10, 2018
    • Ayasdi ioUp78
      That is, E[ f(X) ] less than f( E[X] ), where X is the payoff from the game and f is the utility function. This comes from Jensen’s inequality
      Nov 10, 2018
  • New / Consultant
    RHYNO

    New Consultant

    PRE
    Legrand
    BIO
    13+ yrs Electrical and Electronic Engineering. R&D, Product design/verification/validation, DFM, MFG, Test Engineering, Circuit and PCBA design, Consulting.
    RHYNOmore
    As a consultant, I’m going to agree here with BookEng. Scaling up a consulting biz is hard to do. A good consultant will get to six figures, but it takes a team to get to $1M. However, there are trade offs as always. Consulting = cash now; startup = cash later. (An employee is stuck in the middle somewhere.) Regarding fees, at 10YOE you should charge median rates for the region you’re in. I base my rates on the annual IEEE Consultants Survey.
    Ultimately, what I’ve learned is that the money is great but it’s a roller coaster and you’ll have the same level of burnout that you would with a startup but you’ll be left with no value outside of yourself. With fixed pricing, you’ll be on the hook to deliver and all the risk has been shifted to you. Bad idea. Charge hourly until completion. If they don’t trust you, move on. A tidbit is if the client complains early about the rates, they’ll be complaining the entire time. That’s a bad client. Be prepared to seek contract gigs when in between consulting jobs if you slow down with no reserves. Shoot, I could go on and on. PM if anyone wants more insight...
    Nov 10, 2018 1
    • OP
      Thanks for the insightful reply. I will follow up on PM :)
      Nov 10, 2018
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • OP
      Yes that makes sense. Specialization seems critical and it would definitely take quite some time to build up steady business.
      Nov 10, 2018
  • Microsoft blind1186
    Wow!! 520K. What do you do to get that kind of money? I would love to get TC like that, my YOE is same as yours.

    I am still not in a position to start my venture. Would be nice to have enough financial security.
    Nov 10, 2018 4
    • OP
      I’m a line manager at a large, but pre-ipo company. TC is calculated from salary+bonus+RSUs priced based on last fundraising valuation.
      Nov 10, 2018
    • Uber / Eng gxEn21
      Uber
      Nov 10, 2018
    • Microsoft Blkman
      IOWs, he is not in Fang😀
      Nov 10, 2018
    • SPS Commerce Vpny51
      Im a guy, can i date u 😂🙃🙃🙃
      Nov 10, 2018
  • Facebook / Eng BookEng
    Why not build a product startup? It has more VC support, more startup community feel, tons of more growth potential, chances of being acquired, more quality work, don’t have to do other people’s shit, u define ur own product and problems, similar marketing challenges, and much more cool. I can go on.
    Nov 10, 2018 2
    • OP
      Agree with all your points. Challenge is that I do not have a strong idea for a product based startup. I feel I need a good idea which is also something I believe is really worthwhile to build. I’ve been thinking about leaving corporate life for a while, and building a high value consulting business seems like the next best thing to a product startup.
      Nov 10, 2018
    • Amazon Hippie
      I have a ton of ideas for product startups. PM me if you’d like to chat.
      Nov 10, 2018
  • AdRoll / Eng ipopwc
    I’ve never considered FAANG due to location issues. I go with companies that provide more flexibility, every time. I imagine some have left for similar reasons.
    Nov 10, 2018 0
  • Facebook Hello worl
    Sounds like a terrible idea
    Nov 10, 2018 0
  • New OsnshH
    Highly considering it. But a lot of work to get started
    Nov 10, 2018 0

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