Building a Thriving Atlassian Consulting Business: Part 5

Many Ways to Consult

Alright, back to my story. Before I even started college, I was building websites for local organizations. I started a company and completed 150 web projects to help clients automate business tasks, communicate with customers, and close sales online. I was fully invested in web development and was sure I’d do it my entire life.

After college I continued to run my business, sometimes full time and sometimes while perusing other career opportunities in my field.

Many Consulting Models

That brings me to the next topic. There are many ways to consult, and each has pros and cons. I’ve flipped back and forth between a side business and a fully independent model multiple times throughout the years.  If you’re just starting out, it might be safest to start a side business while keeping your current job. This will allow you to try it out at your own pace.

Another option is to keep your current job but transfer from employee to consultant. This may give you more freedom and autonomy without being fully independent.

Regardless of the model you choose, I encourage you to talk with a professional. These options all have different legal, tax, and insurance implications.

Many Customer Models

Whether you’re planning a part time or full-time business, you can also be creative with client relationships. There are so many marketing, management, and technology consulting companies out there that don’t have in house Jira expertise. When these companies have a client with Atlassian software, you can fill that gap. This is a great option because the consulting company acquires the client, maintains the client, and bills the client. You focus on the specific project and the consulting company does the rest.

Additionally, you can have one large client that takes up most of your time or many clients with smaller projects. I’ve done all of these over the years.

Many Project Models

Next, you might choose to focus on specific long-term work like ongoing support and maintenance. Or you might prefer many successive projects like implementation, clean up, or migration. As you can see there are many possibilities. Be prepared for what you initially do to change over the years as you grow and the needs of your customers change.

My Mistakes

In the beginning, I didn’t always make the best project decisions. When you’re just getting started, or when business is slow, it’s tempting to take any project that comes your way. But don’t do that for long.  It will only make you hate your work.

It’s important to define the types of projects and clients you want and the types you don’t want. When you’re speaking to a potential client, you should be interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Make sure your values align and your expectations match. If initial discussions don’t go well, that’s a sign to pay attention to.


  • A company wanted to work together on a new idea.  We were excited about it and lined up resources for our involvement.  But they weren’t ready or organized enough to execute properly.  We spent a lot of time talking about the idea but ultimately it never happened.  We shouldn’t have let the discussions go on as long as they did.

  • Another company wanted to work together to share content and reach a new audience. They were the industry expert but didn’t have any agreement paperwork for the type of partnership they wanted.  I had to write the agreement, which should have been an early indication of future problems.

Part 6: Choose the Right Tools



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