Motoring Round South Island, New Zealand

There is something incongruous about sitting in an armchair and booking your car hire on the other side of the world. It is of course the power of the Internet and the advanced state of the tourist industry down-under that make this possible. We rented a Sedan car for 45 NZ $ per day. We could drop it off at various terminals.

Motoring in New Zealand is a forgotten joy. Driving is on the left and the roads are almost free of traffic. We had decided to start our tour of South Island from Christchurch.

The reasonably priced Windsor Hotel in Christchurch was popular with tourists. Dinner was taken in a restaurant overlooking the River Avon and we could drink our own wine without paying corkage. In other respects the city is well described as being like a piece of England, albeit a gentler England than has survived today. There is punting on the River Avon as it winds through the Botanic gardens with that serene quality that reminds one of a bygone era. Alternately a tour of the City could have been made by tram on a tourist ticket.

From Christ Church good roads take you past Dunedin and onto the Miter Sound through alpine country. Sight seeing vessels ply the Sound past Miter Peak, which climbs steeply out of the water, then on to the seal colony before reaching the Tasman Sea.

Queenstown offers motels with a balcony overlooking the delightful Lake Wakatipu. The panoramic views were intensive – a place to photograph using a telephoto lens as steamships and speedboats cruise the lake. There are numerous adventure activities including jetboating and whitewater rafting. If you fancy it, bungy jumping is organized from the Kawarau Bridge about 20 Kms north.

Our journey continued up route 6 alongside the sea. If you choose to walk on ice in the summer then take a trip up to the Fox glacier in Westland National Park. Nearby the Minnehaha walk through the beautiful rain forest provided another opportunity to stretch our legs. Further north is the Franz Josef glacier.

Greymouth further up the coast is the terminus for the TranzAlpine train back to Christchurch on a four-hour trip. It is declared to be one of the world's most spectacular journeys.

Source by D Grover

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How to Migrate to New Zealand

New Zealand has almost everything anyone would want from a country. The country has a beautiful scenery, a relaxed lifestyle, various job opportunities and great educational system. These are just among the reasons why many would want to migrate to New Zealand.

But how does one move to the country. If you have moved once, then you are probably aware of how daunting the task is. It can be exhausting if you are just moving to a different city. Just imagine of how difficult it is if you intend to move to another country. This is why one has to be familiar first with the various ways to move to a new country. Here are some tips:

1. The first thing you need to do is to prepare yourself and your family. You should be prepared mentally, physically and emotionally. It will be challenging to leave your comfort zone and start a new life in a strange country. However, being prepared for it will make it easier and more bearable. Study the language as well. You need to be able to communicate to the people already living there when you move.

2. Learn about the culture of the country. It is important that you know the culture of the country because the culture of your country could be different from the culture of the country you want to move to. It would be easier to adjust if you know the adjustments you have to make.

3. Consider your immediate needs when you move to the new country. If you are bringing dependents with you, you have to see to it that their needs are addressed. For instance, if you have children, you need to find a competent school for them. You should keep this in mind when you are looking for a home in the new country. If you will be living with an elderly, you have to live in an area that has easy access to health agencies. The community should be concucive for them as well.

4. Learn about the cost of living. If there is something the same about living in various countries is that it does not come for free. You will incur expenses in order to survive. This is why you need to know how much you need to provide for your basic needs and the needs of your dependents. You should also know to help you analyze, whether or not you can afford to move there.

5. Make new friends. This will help you adjust more easily. Help your dependents do the same.

The above tips will surely help you adjust to the life in New Zealand. Now that you have made some preparations and research, you should also be aware of the various ways that one could use to move to New Zealand. Here are some of the common ways used by migrant to move here:

Skilled Migration Category:

This is among the commonly used methods of living and working in the country. This is for qualified foreign individuals. In order to be eligible, you should have the skills highly needed by the country. However, that is not all the requirements you need to meet. You should also have good health, good character and you have to be proficient in English language.

You need to have evidence of this three. This means that you have to undergo medical examination in order to get a medical certificate. You also need to have a police clearance. This is to make sure that you do not have any criminal records. You should also be able to use the English language proficiently. This can be assessed through IELTS or International English Language Testing System. This is an English evaluation exam that is recognized worldwide.

To start your application under this category, you need to submit an Expression of interest or EOI. This is a way of introducing yourself and your skills to the New Zealand Immigration department. Here, your educational qualifications, work experience and the like will be considered. Such factors will be evaluated through the New Zealand Point System. Points will be granted depending on your qualifications. If you earn at least 140 points, you will be given an Invitation to Apply or ITA. Once you receive such, you will be asked to submit additional documents to prove the claims you made in your EOI. On the other hand, if the point you earned is less than 140 points but not less than 100 points, it will be placed in the EOI pool where it will be ranked with other EOIs. When a need arises, the EOIs in the pool will be considered.

After the evaluation, the applicant may be granted permanent status if he or she meets the requirements and have established his or her claims. However, it could also be directed especially if there is no sufficient evidence supporting his or her claims. The application could also result in an offer for a different status. A work to residence status is a way for the applicant to complete his or her requirements. After a specified period, the applicant may apply for a permanent residency status.

Business and Investment Category

This is a way of attracting entrepreneurs and investors in the country. The entrepreneur or investor has to qualify though. First, he needs to have sufficient experience in managing a business and it has to be a successful venture, he should also have enough capital to start up the business in the country and provide employment to the citizens.

There are different classifications under this category. Each has its own specific requirements. Among these classifications are: Employees relocating a business, investors and entrepreneurs categories.

Family Categories

One can also migrate to New Zealand with the sponsorship of qualified relatives. However, the sponsoring relative should meet the sponsorship requirements. Such family members may only support their spouses or partners, dependent and adult children, parents and siblings.

There are other ways to move to New Zealand. Check which category would you best fit and qualify. After determining the right category for you, prepare all the necessary requirements and complete the application process.

Source by El Pagong

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New Zealand Campervan Vacations – Take a Self Drive Tour of New Zealand

Camervan New Zealand – Cruise the NZ North Island Wonders

New Zealand's North Island is home to a variety range of adventures from Bungy Jumping and Black water rafting, to the downhill Luge and snowboarding the slopes of Mouth Ruapehu. On the other hand you will find the laid back lake side picturesque of Taupo, the languid beaches of the coasts of Gisbourne, the stunning wine country of Napier and the colorful cultural hub of the Nation's capital Wellington.

Campervan tours of New Zealand allow you the freedom and flexibility to do it all, cruise the country's most beautiful spots, and experience the culture of one of the world's most unique untouched lands.

Motorhome Travel New Zealand – Do not drive by these amazing hotspots

Pick up your campervan in Auckland's Central West and take the North Island Tour down the country stopping off to see why New Zealand is one of the most captivating and unique countries in the world. Stay over in New Zealand's largest city and venture to the highest point, Auckland's infamous SkyTower. Take a walk on the wild side on the Skywalk 360. 192 meters above ground with nothing but the fresh Auckland air around you, the Skywalk is one of NZ's most exhilarating experiences. Catch the stunning city views and surrounding coast while you hold your breath on this thrilling adventure. Stop over after for some fine dining or a trip to the casino when you catch your breath.

Venture just hours south of Auckland to experience the engaging reverie of the Coromandel Peninsula. Beautiful beaches like Whangamata and Whitianga make this coastal hideaway a hot spot during summer months and a popular destination for beachgoers and family getaways.

Break even further away from the hustle of everyday life on your New Zealand campervan vacation and move on to the wonderful Bay of Plenty; visit the growing hub of Tauranga and Mount Manuganui. Take some time out to explore the culture and experience the beaches that run along Pacific Ocean Coastline before making a timely stopover in New Zealand's own thermal paradise.

Rotorua – adventure, action, intrigue and culture are all rich within this unique metropolis. Thermal pools are plentiful and there are numerous adventures for the whole family like the Luge and the Zorb. Rotorua also has a fine selection of dining experiences, historical landmarks, thermal spas, walks and natural springs.

Just 40 minutes drive from Roturua is a must see on the North Island Campervan tour. Lake Taupo provides adventure sports galore like jet boating the Huka Falls, quad biking, bungy jumping, skydiving, jet skiing and more. Fine restaurants and nightlife as well as stunning lake side views make this a stopover for travelers and families.

For wine and food lovers a trip to Napier Wine Country should be mapped into the journey. This is a great city with heaps of activities for kids like The National Aquarium of New Zealand, MarineLand and the Napier Aquatic Center. For the parents visit the Mission State Winery, Church Road Winery, Ocean Spa and Silky Oak Chocolates.

Wellington is also a must see on a lower North Island journey. The countries vibrant yet laid back capital crosses over city and beach culture and boasts some of the best restaurants and bars in the country. With lots to see and do like The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa and numerous Lord of the Rings scenery and filming locations you will want to spend some time relaxing in the capital.

Source by Rebecca O'Neill

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New Zealand Rugby and the Rugby World Cup 2011

No matter what the sport, every time one of our national teams takes the field, the whole nation focuses as we test our prowess and ingenuity against much larger rival countries. In summer, cricket and tennis matches attract enthusiastic audiences, and when the America's Cup, the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games are staged, discussion turns to how well our small country will fare against such odds. Each success is hailed as a triumph of David and Goliath proportions, each defeat dissected to analyze its cause. When winter approaches, though, the game that steels the locals' hearts is Rugby. In winter, the roles are reversed, and New Zealand becomes the Goliath.

With almost 150,000 registered rugby players in New Zealand, you could say that this game is a national obsession. Every winter, in households around the country, Saturday mornings pivot around local school and club games. Enthusiastic supporters pace the sidelines at every game, yelling themselves hoarse, leaving no doubt about their allegiances in the minds of their neighbors or the referee! And when the All Blacks take the field against the Springboks or the Wallabies it looks that the whole country waits with bated breath. Sellout crowds join the exodus to watch their heroes live, and every bar fills to overflowing as fans gather to enjoy the spectacle on the large screen. It's no wonder then, that next year's Rugby World Cup is awaited with such anticipation.

As avenues around the country prepare for Spring 2011, excitation levels rise with every All Blacks appearance. As defending champions, the Springboks have thrown down the gauntlet, and time will tell whether the All Blacks can meet the challenge.

Twenty four countries will play for the world cup from the 9th of September 2011 until the 23rd of October 2011. Go to http://hotspotznewzealand.com/new-zealand-rugby.html for more detailed information.

Source by Clem Boer

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Things to Do in New Zealand

Most people outside the country will know New Zealand for one of a very few reasons. Lord of the Rings. The national rugby team, the All Blacks. Oh, and sheep. Lots and lots of sheep.

It's true that the movie, those fifteen all-conquering sportsmen and several million woolly mammals are an essential part of what makes the country special, but its far from the full story. It is an incredibly diverse place with a wide array of attractions that believe its small size – in fact there are so many things to do in New Zealand that most visitors find themselves quickly running out of time and wishing them 'given themselves another few weeks 'down under'.

Located on the edge of two tectonic plates, New Zealand has no shortage of subterranean activity. While this occasionally manifests in less enjoyable forms such as earthquakes, it also provides some of the most incredible natural phenomena that the country has to offer. The sulphuric mud pools of Rotorua attract tens of thousands of visitors every year, for example, while the Tongariro Crossing – the best one day walk in the country – takes hikers right across the slopes of a dormant volcano. Even Lake Taupo, the largest lake in the country, was caused by a massive prehistoric eruption. Thankfully these days the liveliest activities in the area will be a jetboat zipping past or an angler pulling a huge trout from the water – altogether a far more enjoyable activity.

Adventure tourism plays a massive part in the appeal of Aoteora (the Maori name for New Zealand, literally translated as The Land of the Long White Cloud). White water rafting and swimming with dolphins, bungy jumping and skydiving – activities that get the adrenaline pumping seem to be something that New Zealand specializes in. Queenstown, in the country's south, is the most well known destination for madcap adventure but is by no means the only place. Finding crazy things to do in New Zealand is not difficult – from surfing down sand dunes on Ninety Mile Beach in the far north to hiking for ten days spotting kiwis around Stewart Island in the far south you'll never find yourself far from somewhere that Dramatically lifts the heart rate.

If you do not mind a quiet drink or two New Zealand will never disappoint. Rightly famous for the quality of it's Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, fans of beer and spirits will also be able to find international quality lager and vodka that is locally produced and distinctly different from varieties found in other countries. It's the wine that most people come for, however, and with cellar door tours and walk-up tasting sessions available throughout the many growing regions and given that most of the vineyards are located in geographically stunning parts of the country, it would be easy to spend an entire trip in a state of cheerful inebriation!

When it comes to natural beauty New Zealand is truly unique. Being able to stand on the top of a snow-capped mountain and gaze out over natural native forests towards unspoiled beaches and rolling seas in the distance is an experience that visitors will not forget. Glaciers crawl slowly towards the ocean, whales bask just offshore in the nutrient-rich waters near Kaikoura and birds weave amongst the leaves of kauri trees that have been standing for over a thousand years. From the iconic Miter Peak towering over the still waters of Milford Sound to world-class diving in the kelp forests Near Poor Knight's Island, New Zealand provides an incredible variety of things to do and see for the nature lover.

There's no doubt about it, New Zealand provides a lot more than sheep, rugby and a few wandering hobbits.

Source by David M Dean

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Spearfishing New Zealand

Hi everyone and welcome to Spearfishing New Zealand. Many people that visit New Zealand leave saying how beautiful our country is, clean and green but many people do not get to see another beauty and that is among the kaleidoscope of colors in our Aquatic Realm.

New Zealand offers some of the best diving in the world with our marine reserves that lay in subtropical waters like the magnificent Poor Knights Islands and there is no other website better than the Dive Planet NZ website that features most of these dive sites with information and pictures of what you can expect to see. If you visit this site just use the search engine provided to seek out your interests.

On To Spearfishing
Then for the more adventurous divers here we have the adrenalin rushing sport of Spearfishing. Taking part in a Spearfishing adventure in New Zealand is like none other as we offer a range of possibilities from the beginner divers able to go out and nail (Spear) a Schnapper or Kingfish. Then if you are a pro you can take on the fighting power of our Blue-fin Tuna from the Deep South or our Yellow-fin tuna that will take you for the ride of your life. Maybe you want to take on the awesome fighting power of the Black marlin? All of this is possible while exploring the stunning waters of New Zealand.

As New Zealand is a tiny nation we only have two main Spearfishing companies with the Ocean Hunter team that is located in Auckland emerging as the leaders for this sport. Here they pride themselves on making your day the best it can be if you are a novice or a pro. Not only will these guys and girls take you diving, they have all the toys for you to purchase at very competitive rates which can all be found at Dive Planet NZ.

Mastering Spearfishing
One of the largest parts of this sport is Breath Hold and having the correct training and capable dive buddy that will watch your back. Shallow water blackout can occur so it is vital to be properly trained and to never exceed your limits. Planning a trip to New Zealand and want to participate in a course? No worries once again just refer to the Dive Planet NZ website as here they do not sell anything; only provide information so visitors to New Zealand can get the most out of their aquatic adventures.

Planning a Spearfishing Trip to NZ
If you are planning on coming to New Zealand and want to be in contact with someone to help you with your plans, feel free to email paul@diveplanet.co.nz as he will take care of all your arrangements for your dive trips at no expense. You see Paul's main focus is seeing divers coming to New Zealand enjoy themselves and become part of the Dive Planet family.

Source by Paul Harold Morris

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One Of NZ’s Finest Private Walks – The Kaikoura Coast Track

The beautiful district of Kaikoura is located on the north-eastern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It’s part of the Canterbury region and is most famous for its connection to whaling and whale watching, and is also renowned for its abundant sea life, so much so that it holds a festival every year to celebrate. It’s coastal location also lends itself to some beautiful scenery and incredible views which lead to the creation of one of New Zealand’s finest private walks – The Kaikoura Coast Track.

The Kaikoura Coast Track is a three day walking adventure where your hosts will guide you through some of the incredible Kaikoura district. Groups are limited to ten people so the treks are intimate and personalised, allowing the group to set the pace of the walk.

One first night you gather at The Loft in Ngaroma where you will meet the other group members, enjoy a glass of wine and a barbecue dinner with your hosts. A great way to get acquainted with your travelling companions in a lovely setting.

Day one sees you walk approximately 13 kilometres, about 4 – 6 hours along the beach where you may see dolphins and seals close to the shore, then head across open farmland to the Medina homestead where you will spend your second night. The Whare, Medina is a fully functioning farm and offers visitors an insight into busy life on a back country sheep farm.

Day two is another 13 kilometre walk up through Medina into the Hawkswood Range to Mount Wilson. You’ll be able to enjoy a panoramic view of Banks Peninsula around to the Southern Alps. From here you will also be able to see The Staging Post where you will be spending the evening. Lunch is at the Mount Wilson Hut. Night three is enjoyed The Staging Post, Hawkswood, a historic sheep station. The venue has a range of vintage machinery, horsedrawn vehicles and character buildings.

Your third day is a further 13 kilometre walk which offers bush-clad landscapes and views of the Kaikoura Mountains and coastline. A picturesque way to complete your journey. Enjoy your lunch at the Skull Peak day hut amongst the tussocks.

This private walk is a truly unique way to see the beauty of the Kaikoura Coast, experience life on the farms that along the route, whilst also being catered for and pampered by your hosts along the way. The best of both worlds.

Source by Struan Boot

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New Zealand Adventure Activities

Aotearoa is a fantastic place for adventure travel. This is because of the favorable outlook New Zealand has for outdoor activity.

The country offers Nirvana when it comes to natural beauty and the temperate climate is best suited for adventure travelers to gain the most out of their holiday.

New Zealand also offers the most diverse range of adventure activities in terms of catering to people of different adrenaline levels. There is room for both simple and soft activities as well as extreme adventure.

Some adrenaline pumping thrills are sky diving, zorbing and bungy jumping.

The adventure tourism industry is naturally well entrenched in Aotearoa owed to the country's incredible natural beauty in the form of surrounding sea, pretty rivers and lakes and majestic snow capped mountains. The native bush is unique to this part of the world along with its flora and fauna.

In short, New Zealand sends a thrill through every spine that adores Nature and some degree of outdoor activity. The scenic beauty coupled with total freedom the traveler invites heightens the sweetness of the thrill. If you are thinking of adventure activity, think of New Zealand. Welcome to the varied outdoor activities that Aotearoa has to offer.

Outdoor pursuits are located on both the North Island and South Island of New Zealand. Your ideal companion on your adventure trail would be a trusted New Zealand camper van.

In the North Island of New Zealand, the popular spots for the various activities mentioned in this article are as follows:

Skydiving: Rotorua, Bay of Islands and Taupo

Zorbing: Agrodome Leisure Park, Rotorua

Bungy jumping: Taupo, Auckand Harbor Bridge in Auckland

In the South Island of New Zealand, the popular destinations are:

Skydiving: Glenorchy, Queenstown, Twizel and Wanaka

Bungy jumping: Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, Nevis Wire and Hanmer Springs

Source by Tim A Alpe

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Immigration to New Zealand

This article is about the correct way of approaching immigration to New Zealand in a way that is the most cost effective and at the same time reducing mistakes and minimizing stress.

I immigrated to New Zealand about ten years ago and I was fortunately at the time and received my Resident's Permit within 2 months of applying. There are countless stories of people who have done the same.

There are also, unfortunately, shocking stories of how people have been stressed out by this process. Simply by not doing sufficient planning and putting enough thought into immigration to New Zealand.

It is a very daunting exercise as one starts to delve into the steps needed to take to get this process underway. Essentially you are confronted with 2 main questions when you start out.

1) Am I going to use an Immigration Consultant?
2) Am I going to do this on my own?

The Migration Agent facilitates the entire application process with the New Zealand Immigration Department. You are solely responsible for providing all relevant relevant documentation to the agent and they will decide which category you will apply under. This is one option you can use and can take a lot of stress out of immigration to New Zealand.

There are many free websites designed to help people with immigration to New Zealand. They provide you with all the information you require and also have forums where people can discuss their experiences with immigration to New Zealand.

It can be time consuming, information overload and you can get conflicting reports from people. So if you have the time you can by all means use this option if it suits your current situation.

An alternate to the above is to purchase guides or e-books that is written by migrants for migrants and takes the guess work out of immigration to New Zealand. They are normally an all in one place report that answers the majority of questions by people in New Zealand who have the current facts. Should you be considering immigration to New Zealand these guides or reports can be very useful.

Be smart and get the right info from one source and do not listen to this one and that, there is a lot of information available. I wish you all the best in your migration to New Zealand experience.

Source by Raoul Britow

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Is Consulting the Life For You?

Consulting is one of the greatest professions in the universe. If you handle it right, you can live in that special corner of the world that you've dreamed about, do what you enjoy most, have more free time than you can imagine, and make a good living while you're at it. However, before you quit your job and convert your spare bedroom into an office, you should know a few things.

What Should You Know Before Going Out On Your Own?

Reality 1: If you think working for someone else is precarious, try working for yourself.

The consultant's life has lots of peaks and valleys. Most successful consultants will tell you that they have either plenty of money or plenty of time, but rarely do they have both at the same time. Life is champagne and caviar while you're on a project, but once the project is over, it's quickly back to macaroni and cheese.

Reality 2: You're not going to get rich quick.

Sure! We all hear about Tom Hopkins, Tony Robins, and Ken Blanchard, who earn $ 20,000 a day, but the billing rate of the average training consultant is less than $ 100 an hour. If you consider expenses and the number of non-billable hours, it comes out to a fairly modest wage. The top 10 percent earn a very nice living, but that takes a dipline, hard work, and a little bit of luck.

Reality 3: Life is not going to be easy.

When you work for a large company, you are judged by your professional expertise. If you know your stuff, your coworkers will look beyond your shortcomings. That changes the moment you leave your corporate home to become a consultant. Of course potential clients want to hire the consultant with the highest level of professional skills, but the consultant who most often gets the job is the one who markets the best, has the best connections, and delivers the most convincing presentations.

Reality 4: You'll starve waiting for the telephone to ring.

Once you leave the security of corporate life, you'll be surprised by how quickly your co-workers forget you. Some professionals are able to negotiate a contract with their former employer, but that's becoming increasingly rare. States are clamping down on the use of former employees as consultants or contractors because many companies use this as a way to avoid payroll taxes. Many large corporations now have policies prohibiting hiring former employees as consultants. If you're expecting to start your practice by working for your former employer, I recommend that you find out what their policies are about using ex-employees as contractors. Even if your company does have policies against hiring former employees, there is usually a way around it. They can hire you through a temporary agency, though you may earn less.

When you leave the corporate world, where everyone knows who you are, you'll be surprised at how invisible you become. At the small products division of Magnatek, you were a legend. New recruits were weaned on tales of when you worked 30 hours straight to finish the INB project and how you saved Sam Sniffles' rear during the DuPint presentation.

Neverheless, no one outside your company has heard these wonderful stories. If you want to continue paying your mortgage and putting food on the table, you need to pick up the telephone and begin playing "dialing for dollars."

Reality 5: Consultants are treated differently.

Many companies see consultants as peddlers. Countless other people, who say they have qualifications similar to your own, have rung their telephone and knocked on their door. Do not expect immediate respect. To make it through the first 90 days, you're going to need to develop a tough hide.

Reality 6: You will spend up to 50 percent of your time on non-billable work.

When you first start your consulting practice, you will need to spend many hours marketing your services and organizing your business, and you'll still need to spend time on those activities once your practice is established. I recommend no less than one day each week. Moreover, there will always be bills to pay, fees to collect, and struggles with a host of computer problems.

Reality 7: You only get to keep half the money.

Supplies, telephone service, administrative assistants, insurance, and computer equipment all cost money.

Basic Rule 1

Every practice is different, but a good rule of thumb is that only half of the money you take in will make its way into your pocket.

Reality 8: You still have to do stuff you do not like.

I hate accounting, but someone has to exceed the CPA. I detest calling new prospects, but I have not found anyone who can market my practice as well as I can. If you're serious about going out on your own, you'll need to do many things that you do not like. Here is the upside: You're the boss and at the end of the day, you can look yourself in the mirror and know that you built a little bit more of something that's really yours.

Given These Daunting Realities, Why Be a Consultant?

I am sitting here on a Friday morning looking out a tree-lined suburban street and listening to a favorite and familiar tune on my iPod. Life does not get much better than this.

I would be the last person to tell you that a consultant's life is a bowl of cherries, but it sure does have its advantages. If you play your cards right, you'll reap many of the following rewards.

Focus on what you do best and enjoy most

Despite current thinking, not many people can be considered a "jack of all trades." If you are really gifted at just one thing, you are fortunate. Becoming a consultant will allow you to focus on what you are best at and enjoy most. It could be developing training courses, delivering training sessions, authoring computer-based training programs, or speaking on a particular subject, such as leadership or management development. The choice is yours.

As a consultant, you will still have to do "stuff" that you do not like, but only for small amounts of time.

Keep your own hours

Few people work best Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm I work best from 8 am to 2 pm The rest is gravy, so I do my most important work in the morning and leave the more routine activities to late in the afternoon. One of the best things about being a consultant is the ability to keep your own hours. You can work a couple of extra hours on Saturday morning to make up for the few errands that you've done at less crowded times during the week. You can even take a day off to go for a motorcycle ride in the foothills with a friend.

With today's two-career couples, having flexible hours can be a generous help. Dropping your kids off at daycare or picking them up at the end the day is a lot easier if you do not have to punch a time clock. You may even find that when you work for yourself, you have more hours in the day. I live in a suburb, where most people spend one to two hours commuting to and from work. Most days I work at my home office, so I do not have to be part of the parade of stolen cars on the freeway. This gives me a few extra hours each day to run errands or write articles and books.

Many companies allow employees to enjoy some of these benefits by working automatically all or part of the time from home, and they enjoy these same benefits. However, I find that in most cases, these employers expect their staff to be at their desks during business hours, regardless of where that desk may be. These days, it may be in a hammock on the porch using a laptop with a wireless network connection.

Move to the country

For the most part, when you are employed, you need to live where the work is. Consultants have more flexibility. Since you will not have to visit clients every day, you can live a little farther out. If you are good at what you do, you may find that consulting will allow you to live and work in places like Boulder Colorado or the banks of the Hudson River.

Free yourself from office politics, meaningless memos, and meetings

Peter Drucker and Ron Zemke talk about the amount of time that is wasted in corporate America doing "stuff" that is not related to the customer. This is what I hated most about my stint in the corporate world. This includes conversations in the hallway, employee bonding meetings, office policy memos, "we pump you up presentations," and birthday parties. I guess all this is important in some sort of way, but the best thing about being a consultant and working for yourself is that you no longer have to do these things.

On the flip side, isolation is also the hardest part of being a consultant. I often miss being part of a corporate "family." Many people cope with this by joining a local professional society and making that their professional "home." Networking with other consultants and communicating with clients and friends are important parts of being a successful consultant. They will provide you with the friendship and human bonding that we all need. I enjoy those interactions more than meetings and memos.

Living large

When you work for a company, you usually need to live smaller then you are. The company's accomplishments and needs are more important than your own. As a consultant, you can finally live as large as you want to be. Your accomplishments are your own and your needs are the ones that count for your business.

Freedom is not without its cost

Sure, it's nice being an enlightened father and dropping your kids off at daycare in the morning. However, what about the freedom to spend Saturday, and sometimes Sunday, tickling the keys of your laptop, or the freedom to pay your own cell phone bill? How about the freedom to wake up at 5:30 am to fly to San Jose for a client meeting, work a long full day, and then return home at 9:30 pm to catch a few winks before a client meeting first thing the next morning? If that's not so bad, how about the freedom to spend three days of non-billable time writing a couple of proposals to present at a professional conference? You can also enjoy the freedom to pay your own travel expenses. How about the final freedom of not knowing when, or where, your next check is coming from?

If this sounds to you like freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose, keep your day job. If you are strong heart and pure in spirit, if you have confidence in who you are and what you do, and if you are willing to put the time in to learning the survival skills for succeeding as a consultant, you are halfway there.

Access to a good health insurance plan

With the price of health care today, this is not trivial. The best situation is a spouse who can include you on his or her health plan. An affordable COBRA policy from your former employer is your next best option. If all else fails, try getting a policy through a professional or alumni association.

Ability to accept a little risk

Risk is not for everyone. If you do not have savings or an "angel," this may not be the best time for you to start your practice. If you have another part of your life that takes a lot of time or emotional strength (such as a disabled child), for right now, consulting many not for you. If you are married or live with someone, I seriously recommend talking with him or her about the issues in this chapter before you quit your day job.

Good friends and contacts – or lots of guts

You're going to have to get your first clients somewhere. Starting from scratch by calling new people takes a long time. It usually takes nine months to a year from the first time you call a new prospect until they become a client. Your best first clients are current business associates and their network of contacts.

If you're new in town, or do not have many contacts, become active in a local chapter of a training professional association, such as the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) or the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) .

What Makes a Consultant Successful?

Not everyone is cut out to be a consultant. To be successful at consulting, you are going to need to have, or develop, the following personal characteristics:

Discipline. You should be at your desk at 8:30 am at the latest and leave at 5:30 pm at the earliest, whether you have something to do or not. If you do not have billable work to do, add another hour and do something to get that billable work-make calls, send out a mailing, or write a book.

Motivation. No one is going to make you work. You can sleep in every day and no one would know, except your family, who will be thrown into the gutter when the bank forecloses on your home.

Strength. Clients will not always be nice to you. Some of them may be downright nasty. They also have every right to add their two cents into the project they are paying for, and they will. You will need to have the strength and inner confidence to rise above it, be gracious, and, above all, leave it at the office where it belongs.

Good survival instincts. People, and certainly companies, are not always fair. You will need to look after yourself. If you still believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, perhaps you should do an apprenticeship with another consultant before you go off on your own.

Presence. Clients get their first impression of you when you walk through the door. You need to look good! That means dressing well, walking tall, and using the right hand shake. My recommendation is to watch others who are good at it (such as professional salespeople and political candidates) and modify what they do to fit your own style. Spend as much time as you can on your clothes, briefcase, laptop computer, cell phone / PDA combo, and pen. People in corporations place a lot of importance on these things and often judge your professional abilities by your accessories. I recommend spending a little more on your image, and a little less on the number of megabytes of RAM in your computer. Sizzle sells!

Congratulations and good luck!

This is an excerpt from Consulting Basics which will be published by the American Society for Training and Development this spring.

Source by Joel Gendelman

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