On Sept 1st., it was the 10th anniversary of my business – Kuntz Consulting Inc. It’s not 10 consecutive years of active business (since I took a brief detour to try full-time employment) but I’m celebrating it anyway!
A brief history
I had been working in various consulting firms since 2001, as a Dynamics GP consultant. I left the firm I was working for because I was tired of all of the travel and lack of a personal life. I presented a slightly different role that would still have me more billable than most, but that was of no interest to them at the time. C’est la vie! I moved on. I was burning out and it was affecting my life and my marriage (which still ended in divorce but that’s a story for another day).
I went to another firm, much smaller than what I had worked for in the past. They were adding Dynamics GP as a new line of business having previously been focused on the larger ERP space with Peoplesoft and SAP projects. Initially it seemed like a great fit, as I knew the Dynamics GP playing field well, having played a senior role in my previous firm which I could draw on and help grow a new line of business. It was a rough go, and I lasted about a year there. I won’t paint the entire picture but the decision was made when a day I found out my colleague was making more than 40% more than I was, in the same role.
Right time & place
At the beginning of my tenure at this small firm, I turned down the chance to discuss options with a recruiter. I sensed I wasn’t going to last long but I wanted to give it a chance. Six months later the same guy called me again with the same opportunity, one in which I had the option to join a placement firm as an employee or contract as an incorporated business. It was the right time and place and I took the plunge.
My first year of business was a full-time contract implementing Dynamics GP in downtown Toronto. It was in the form of 6 month contracts, and I did 2 terms before calling it a day and heading out of the nest, 100% on my own. By this time I had a few former clients reaching out to me for work, enough that it felt like the start of something sustainable, so I felt it was the right time to go.
One of those former clients ended up needing to fill a role for a large project, not too long after leaving that initial contract position. The project wasn’t full-time and that fit the bill quite nicely for me. I had the flexibility to have other clients while maintaining a steady income from a large project. Lucky break? Perhaps, but it was some good relationships from my earlier work with them that got my foot in the door.
I took on another role – one I very nearly chose not to – just over 4 years ago now and it ended up being the best situation I could have hoped for. I went from consultant to employee and back to consultant with them and I’m lucky that they continue to want to work with me. I was simply not ready for full-time employment, despite loving the work and the people I worked with. I’m now back to a place where I have some steady projects there and room to fill in with smaller projects at other clients. Perfect!
Ten years ago I would not have guessed that I would still be self-employed today. Not that I thought I would fail, but I didn’t know if I could keep finding business and so far, knock on wood, I have. I’m fortunate that I have been able to work exclusively in Canada this past 10 years, and haven’t had to work too hard to find new business, nor travel far to find the work. I just hope that continues!
The next decade
What’s in store for the next 10 years? The obvious answer is “I don’t know!”. I love Dynamics GP and there’s a ton of work still in that space but the landscape is changing rapidly. I fully expect that 10 years from now I will be specializing in something else, even if I continue to do some Dynamics GP work. My favourite projects are reporting and integration work, and those are fairly transferrable stills. I am looking forward to digging deeper into Power BI to add that as a service area at some point. I will need to expand on the types of projects I take on since pure Dynamics GP work is harder to find now vs. a decade ago. Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to the challenge!