The Career Farm Podcast Episode 82 - How to develop and launch your independent consultancy business, with David Mellor

David Mellor is an author of three books and an expert advisor working with career changers keen to use their industry experience to make money in their own businesses.

He started life in the banking world where he ended up as a managing director working closely with early stage technology businesses at Deutsche Bank in an in-house strategic investment fund. He was effectively serving on the board of 15 new businesses and it was there that he found his mojo.

The energetic, can-do environment surrounding those start-ups inspired him to channel his 25 years of executive experience into setting up his own business, mentoring and advising others who want to go it alone.

David shares his knowledge across the spectrum of starting a business, whether you’re just beginning to explore the idea or if you’ve already made the move and want to expand or develop your company.

Making the transition from corporate to consultancy - 3 big mistakes

I spoke to David about the best process for someone who might be leaving a large enterprise and about the best structure to put those independent dreams into action. There are several paths you might follow: from being a sole trader, working with associates or opening a franchise. David talked about how to decide which route is the best one for you.

Moving from corporate to consultancy

He focused on three major areas where small business owners or would-be entrepreneurs often come un-stuck, which he sums up as:

  • Lack of awareness,
  • Naivety, and
  • Lack of discernment.

3 Essential considerations for anyone setting up a business

  1. It’s vital to inform yourself about all aspects of what your business will involve and to give an honest assessment of whether you have the skills needed to run it, what David refers to as “eyes open” and being fully aware.For example, if you’re thinking about a franchise, talk to other franchisees as part of your due diligence and make sure you are clear on what support the franchisor will and won’t provide. Understand all aspects of the business and have the self-awareness to know whether you have the skills it will require to make it a success. I know this sounds so obvious, but it's amazing how often it doesn't happen!
  2. Be street-wise about running an independent operation, especially if you are transitioning from a big corporate environment where things may be run very differently. For example, he mentioned that some entrepreneurs are taken by surprise at the speed (or lack of speed) that invoices are sometimes paid in the wider world; perhaps not a deal-breaker but something you need to be aware of.
  3. David is adamant that you should never compromise on quality in the people you surround yourself with, both internally and externally. It seems obvious that you’ll want to hire the best staff and advisors but also think about your suppliers and others who you will be dealing with. Be discerning about people and always find the best.


David’s website is:

His email is: [email protected]

Twitter: @MellorMentoring

I was introduced to David through Lucy Standing, the founder of Viewvo, which shows career changers the benefits of shadowing someone in a business they are interested in doing. It’s a sort of try-before-you-buy idea, which has been successful for many people in fine-tuning their career decisions. You can find out more about Lucy and Viewvo in our podcast linked here:

Pod 75 - episode with Viewvo founder Lucy Standing

Viewvo website


David is a successful author with three books under his belt, all of which address specialised aspects of establishing and developing your own business:

From Crew to Captain
Gives guidance to anyone considering working for themselves

A Privateer’s Tale
Is geared to developing a successful sole practitioner consultancy

Commander of the Fleet
Deals with growing your own business once it is establishe

David’s favourite non-fiction book is one he makes “required reading” on all of his courses:

The New Business Road Test, by John Mullins


David’s favourite quote is one originally shared by his uncle:

“You don’t want to end up like Christopher Columbus, who when he set off he didn’t know where he was going, when he got there he didn’t know where he was, and when he got back he didn’t know where he’d been.”

For David that quote is all about putting objectives before strategy: Knowing what your destination is before you start making a plan to get there.

His other mantra is “Never underestimate the ability of people to really screw up a good plan”  because he has seen so many people craft an excellent business plan but then be unable to execute it.

Thanks again to David for taking the time to be interviewed and for sharing his expertise so generously.

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