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Once your consulting practice is successful, others may approach you for employment. This series of five e-mails tells one such story. Lisa was a member of a management team I formed to create a new Internet product at the time of the dotcom rage. So we knew each other well.

In the first e-mail I quickly clarified why Lisa wanted to meet. Unless you have big growth objective, interviewing everyone who's curious about employment can be a time waster. Since I know Lisa personally, I wanted to say no without diminishing our friendship. Lisa has gone on to become hugely successful in the organization development consulting field, and we're still friends.

E-mail #1

To: Bill Frank
From: Lisa Drake
Subject: Can we meet?


Do have some time to meet with me this week?


E-mail #2

To: Lisa Drake
From: Bill Frank
Subject: RE: Can we meet?

Yes, I'm sure we can. What would you like to meet about?


E-mail #3

To: Bill Frank
From: Lisa Drake
Subject: RE: Can we meet?

Thanks for your speedy response.  Actually, I wanted to talk with you about the potential of doing short term project work with Careerlab ... at least plant the seeds with you, and toss some ideas around.  I'm not looking for a full time job necessarily, just some income as my job situation works itself out.  I wanted to make the offer to you first, before talking to others in Denver.  It could be a real win-win, as I believe I have a lot to offer Careerlab.

I can offer support and expertise on OD projects as they come in ... either doing it alone, or working with some of your new folks to teach/mentor them on organization assessment, teambuilding interventions etc. as needed (if needed).  I think I could be a valued subcontractor as you build your OD practice.  I offer brains, creativity, and subject matter expertise that I think can help move things forward in the early stages. 

I'm also a decent writer ... I've written major portions of the Internet business plan ... (yes, way more than just the marketing section!) ... and of course have other talents that may be of use to the project.

All that said, is this a conversation you would like to have?

E-mail #4

To: Lisa Drake
From: Bill Frank
Subject: RE: Can we meet?

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for your e-mail. I believe you have a lot to offer too, and have seen your results in action. Unfortunately, right now, I'm drinking from a fire hydrant trying trying to incorporate 2½ new consultants onto the team and manage several large projects simultaneously. In addition, I'm seeing my own individual clients.

This is as much as I can handle. I'll definitely keep you in mind for the options you mentioned, plus others. Perhaps in a couple weeks we can raise the issue again. I'll be glad to meet with you any time you want.

You're the best,


E-mail #5

To: Bill Frank
From: Lisa Drake
Subject: RE: Can we meet?


Thanks for your kind words.  I understand your position completely.  I'll let you approach me when you think the timing is better.

Meanwhile, see you Thursday,


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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.