I’ve had my own consulting business now for a little over 4 years (wow, already? Man… time flies!) and I’ve really enjoyed it.
Having my own consulting business gives me more freedom to apply myself where I think I can provide the best benefit to my clients. It puts me in control of my professional life versus relying on some manager to “guide” me (“John, I really think you’d be a wiz at Struts and EJB 2.0!” – no thanks!). On top of that, I tend to make more money as well (not a bad thing! )
I frequently recommend going “independent” to friends in a similar situation as myself so that they can share in the success that I’m enjoying.
However, sometimes Shit Happens.
About a year and a half ago the “vendor management” firm for my client declared bankruptcy (I wrote about it here). It was a real made-for-Hollywood style con game being run by a couple of thugs at Chimes (actually their parent company Axium). I ended up losing a bunch of money, but thankfully I still had work and my client at the time did all that they could to smooth over a very bumpy situation.
So for the last year and a half my company get tons of letters explaining how the bankruptcy trust is spending more money on accountants and lawyers. I filled out paperwork to try to claim the money my company was owed hoping to at least see some of it (though… I know Smalltalk has a better chance of becoming mainstream than I do at receiving any money).
Then last week I get yet another innocent looking letter from the bankruptcy trustee…
Ah… but this one was different! Not only did I lose money that was owed to me when Chimes declared chapter 7 bankruptcy, it appears that now the trustee wants my company to send back the payments it received FOR THE PRIOR 90 DAYS!!
So, due to no fault of my own (or my end client for that matter), these crooks believe they’re entitled to nearly 1/3 of my company’s annual revenue. They’re claiming that my company may have received “preferential payments” and according to the bankruptcy code the trustee has the ability to go back 90 days looking for questionable payments (and I’m not alone).
I assume the code is there to catch a situation where crook knows he’s about to go bankrupt so he decides to pay off his friends first before he goes under and everything is turned over to the courts.
However, in my situation that is clearly not the case. There is a clause to the code that excludes “ordinary course of the business”, but its on me to prove it. So it looks like I’ll be talking with a lawyer…
So, back to my original comment about being an independent consultant: Today is NOT one of those days where I’d be recommending it.