Carl Angotti on “Getting Started Quickly and On the Cheap”

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Podcast Transcript

This is Sean Murphy of SKMurphy. I’m hosting today’s podcast, and I’m pleased to have Carl Angotti as a guest. Carl is an experienced consultant who’s been a member of PATCA for more than three decades. PATCA is the Professional and Technical Consultants organization. It’s been active in Silicon Valley for more than 40 years. For more information on PATCA, the website is PATCA offers lunches for new consultants facilitated by Carl Angotti.

Today, we are talking about one of the topics he regular addresses at the new consultants lunches, getting started on the cheap. Carl, do you want to take a minute, introduce yourself, and then we’ll talk about getting started on the cheap?


Hi. I’m Carl Angotti, and I have been a consultant and member of PATCA for many years. I personally do product development consulting at Angotti Product Development.

Today I am going to talk about getting started on the cheap and quickly. This talk assumes that you’ve already researched and have a market and a service to offer to it. Now, you want to set up a company quickly and easily. Sometimes, this comes about because you actually get an assignment, and you’d like to start taking checks in under the company’s name.

Longest Lead Time Item is a Fictitious Name

The first thing to start with is the step that has the longest lead time. That’s getting a bank account in a fictitious name. In California, you register your fictitious name in the county where you expect to do business. There is a lead time of about two weeks to publish the name, so this can’t be done immediately. Be sure to make the name memorable, able to be spelled when people hear it in conversation, and one that connects with your business.

You could avoid this step by operating a business in your real name, but this may not serve you well in your business promotional efforts. Some ideas for people who just want use their name:

  • CN Jones Consulting Services
  • ED Smith Software Development.

You can move on to names for improved use in your branding later. Then, you can register those names. You can register as many names as you wish.

Post Your Resume Online

The next step is to post an online resume. Many folks post resumes on and along with organizations related to your business, especially professional ones. A respected organization of consultants in your field is another possibility. After you’ve put your resume online, then you can set up a posting on LinkedIn. Everyone who tries to look for you, if they meet you somewhere, especially if they don’t know you very well, will in recent time frequently go to LinkedIn to learn a little more about you. So, be sure and pay some attention to doing this. At least put something up there which includes what work you’ve done in the past and what your present company is doing. You can always refine this a great deal later.

Consider a Separate Phone Line For Your Business–Or Use Your Cell Phone

The thing that I’ve noticed the most when people first start is that they try to use their home phone, and it becomes a odd way of answering your phone, especially when you’re not home, and you have to place a voicemail on it. Now, you have a conflict between the business name and your personal name. That’s why it’s recommended that you get a different line. Today, some people just use their cell phone as a separate line with an appropriate voicemail on it.

Plan for a Slow Ramp Up in Income and You Can Only Be Pleasantly Surprised

Next thing I’d like to talk about is one should be sure when you first start to plan on a slow start up with a slow ramp up in income. Most people will start working out of their home, so you can keep costs down. You could do that, of course, if you are able to work out of your home. Some people because of family needs can’t do that, and so they have to search around for a very inexpensive place to do their business. One way is is share a space with a small company who has some extra space and can afford to rent you a small amount of space at a very low cost.

Consider Other Consultants as Potential Partners

The next thing that I found that can work for people, especially when they’re first starting, is to look for potential partners. You should prefer partnering with non-competitive other consultants that do business related to your business. For example, in the case if you’re a technical consultant, you could partner with a business consultant, or in my case, for example, I often partner with mechanical engineering firms, and I do electrical engineering. So, those are just examples. There are many ways in which you could partner with other consultants.

It’s best to not partner with people who are competitive with you, although that can work as well occasionally. It depends on how well you get along with the person that you’re partnering with. Be sure that everyone knows who is charge of the gig when you get it, since that can be very critical during the project execution..

Put Up a Basic Web Site

The next thing I want to talk about is a web page. If you have the skills, you could set up a web page on your own. Later on, you can hire someone to assist you in improving your web page. But one thing to be certain of is that in most instances, search engine optimization will not bring you clients. It might bring you a few clients very infrequently, but most people will not find you by any reasonable search that they would online. Usually, they’re looking at your web page to see more about you than you would have on LinkedIn or any other place. Also, you can guide the potential client through the pages so that they find what they want to know about and still you can have a lot of material. They only look at what they’re interested in and not have to read a very long paper to find it.

Networking Is a Great Way to Kick Off Your Business

The next thing, of course, is that in order to kick off your business, you need to do a lot of networking. First, you start off with old associates. Very often the recommendation is to have a 50-person list and contact all these persons personally not by email only. One method that’s used in this process is first to start off with an email and then follow up with a phone call. In the email, explain that you’re starting a business and what the business is about and then give them a call. Be sure to understand that many, many, many times you will be leaving voicemails. You might have a method by which you leave a voicemail that will entice that person to call you back.

And whatever you do, do not tell people that you’re looking for a task, and you want to work with them. That’s not the best time to do that. Instead, you want to just talk with them and let them understand what you’re doing and practice your elevator pitch with those persons This is especially if you know them well.

Informational Interviews Enable Customer Discovery

After this, you’ll want to do a lot of informational interviews. Start with persons you already know and expand to those in or close to your target market. Again, in an informational interview, that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re trying to test out your idea and have a casual conversation with someone about it. Do not try to sell your services in these meetings. If you do, it’s bound to backfire on you. If the client goes that direction, of course, go with them.

Bottom Line: Getting Started Will Take a Massive Effort

Finally, In order to start a business, you have to engage in a massive effort. This is especially true if you are going to try and get an engagement with strangers. It takes a very large amount of effort, usually a lot of networking. This is the best method because now, people get to see you. They get to know you, and then they might go to your website, go to your LinkedIn, and then eventually give you a call when they remember you. But remember, people are only going to call people when they really have a need, otherwise, it’s very unlikely that they will be just looking around for fun.

Anyway, that ends the general, easy, quick methods to start a business right away and inexpensively.