“it was 20 years ago today”

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Jarche Consulting. There were several times when I thought that I would not make it this far. The roller coaster ride continues, having weathered the great recession and a pandemic. Who knows what the future will bring? For now, I am grateful to my friends, colleagues, and especially my repeat clients who continue to have confidence in my work. It has been a great pleasure.

Writing on this blog, after +19 years, continues to be a primary way that I make sense and connect with people around the globe. Here are some thoughts I shared along the way as I marked other anniversaries.

(2006) So far, the constant demands of looking for new clients has ensured that I don’t get arrogant about my business. I feel like I’m living the life of the knowledge worker that was described several years ago by Peter Drucker. My business model is still in beta (and I guess it always will be) but I’m feeling cautiously optimistic that I can continue to make a living doing this.

(2007) There have definitely been some interesting aspects to this career choice. On the positive side, because of my blog, clients have found me through search engines. On the negative side, I’ve had clients go bankrupt before paying me and I’ve also been stiffed for my services. I’ve learned something from every one of my clients and I have especially enjoyed some of the non-profit organisations, with their unique challenges.

(2008) Today I would like to thank the hundreds of people who have taken the time to make the thousands of comments on this blog. Without this direct feedback, as well as other bloggers who have referred to my writing, I’m not sure I would have lasted this long. I do feel like I am part of many communities. One of my greatest pleasures is meeting people whom I’ve known through blogging. The conversations are always rich and interesting.

(2010) Be careful what you give away for free. Sharing everything may not be in your best interest. I’ve only recently learned this lesson, as I was fairly certain that the more I shared, the better it would be for business. That’s not quite what has happened. Also, make sure you understand where and how money is made in your field. How do clients make purchasing decisions? If brand-name consulting firms are preferred, you may have difficulty marketing your services. Find clients who prefer freelancers.

(2011) It’s been a roller coaster of a ride for the past eight years but I’m still here, freelancing, blogging and trying to figure out life in perpetual beta. So on my eighth anniversary as a free agent, I would like to thank all the wonderful people in my communities (virtual and physical) and networks (professional and personal) for their help, support, understanding, insight and humour. I’d also like to thank all the people who have taken time to comment on my writing and extend my own thinking.

(2016) Networked computers can be used to enable human creativity, or control it. This is why we need an aggressively engaged citizenry. After 13 years, I continue to be directed by a vision of democratic workplaces for everyone. There is still a long way to go but the conversation is being advanced on many fronts. This is what happens when you connect billions of people to each other.

(2018) Today, on my fifteenth anniversary, I would like to thank all the people who make up my professional networks and communities of practice. Without you I would not have been able to see the world with new eyes. Many of my online connections have become friends and almost all of my business has been through referrals from people I originally met here. This is one of the best gifts I have ever received: a referral for work, based on the impact my words have made.

(2019) Now that I have turned 60, I doubt I will change careers and get a full-time job. There’s not much of a job market left for me. In any case, I like freelancing.

jarche.com 2003-2023

8 thoughts on ““it was 20 years ago today””

  1. Every language has its own way to say “happy anniversary”, each one of them with their own shades of meaning.

    In Catalan we say “per molts anys”, which roughly translates as “for more years to come”.

    Per molts anys, Harold.


  2. Congratulations!!!
    and thank you very much for writing and sharing your knowledge.
    Best Regards, Manuel

  3. First of all, congrats on this anniversary and thanks for being such an inspiration to so many people throughout the years.

    The journey ahead is difficult for the artisan consultant. They compete in a crowded space of brands, pseudo-experts, and gurus who know more about marketing than about their subject matter but are more visible. On the other hand, when you manage to establish trusting relationships with clients who support your work, the satisfaction is immense. I think that the more years one spends in artisan consulting, the less one envision themselves working in a company. It’s a mutual feeling: neither they seek you, nor do you seek them. Perhaps we lack creative ideas here: part-time continuity projects, interim roles, and collaborations that would be a win-win for everyone. Because for the artisan consultant, the discontinuity of work is a constant challenge. The fact that you have been able to sustain this role for 20 years and make a living from it is an enormous achievement in my opinion.

    I don’t wish you to spend your time freelancing at 80, but here’s to many more years of health and cycling.

  4. Congratulations Harold, on 20 years of Jarche Consulting! Last week I spoke at my old university about my, as I called it, twisting path of the past two decades and being self-employed. Beforehand I joked with someone else how by now I’m completely unemployable. Too niche, too opined.

  5. Huge congratulations on your business anniversary Harold! You have the knack of saying things that we’ve never thought of before in a way that makes them sound obvious – a true gift!

  6. Thank you all for the kind words. I like the idea that I am now ‘unemployable’ and ‘for more years to come’! I will keep trying to write new thoughts here and I hope they can be of use 🙂

  7. Congratulations, Harold, from the uttermost ends of the earth. Armed with your insights, many change agents have started important conversations and dared to move the lines in organizations, or in their own lives. I incite you to keep insighting!

  8. Hi, Harold,

    Big congrats on such a massive achievement and thanks much for allowing us all to be part of that incredibly rewarding journey!

    It’s been a super fun ride with lots learned, and somehow I have the feeling we are *only now just* getting started! Here’s to many many more years to come in good health, while still doing plenty of magic all around!

    (I *still* hope one of these years we may have a chance to finally meet up face to face for a drink or two to celebrate our “unemployability”)


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