I’ve been doing this for a lot of years, and over time I’ve developed a few thoughts on consulting and on work in general. I’m using this post as a general place to list what I think of as Scott’s Laws of Consulting.
Scott’s First Law: Work is a means by which you convert your life into money. This is the most basic rule of the workplace, no matter what work you do. When you do a job, you are setting a value on your time, and your time is your life. This principle is the basis of all the others.
Scott’s Second Law: Your customer is the person who gives you money. Many people lose sight of this. Your customer is the person or organization whose interests you serve with your work. They may or may not be your friends, and that doesn’t matter. They are purchasing your efforts on their behalf, and ethically you are obliged to work for their benefit. People sometimes get confused, thinking that their customers are the people who use the goods they make, the food they serve, or the services they provide. Some contractors even treat their co-workers as customers. Those people are not your customers. Your customer is the person who gives you money.
Scott’s Third Law: Find a way to get paid for something you would do for free. This, in my opinion, is the best way to work. It’s why I do what I do. Writing and research are actively fun for me, and I know they aren’t for most people. So I find satisfaction in doing that work, and getting paid means that I don’t have to do something that I like less.