My business after two years

Two years ago this week I announced the launch of my consulting company.  Since I promised to be transparent about this work, here’s an update and reflection on how BAC has gone so far.

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It’s a follow-up to last year’s business post, which means this is now an annual thing.

What’s been happening since June 2014?

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I promise, no business-speak.

the BAC bear logo

Overall, it’s been a great success.  We’ve expanded our range and number of clients, made a noise in increasingly anxious discussions of higher ed’s fate, and more than paid our bills.  All metrics are rising (in a good way).


What does work look like?  There haven’t been many surprises this second year.  The first year saw an awful lot of learning (see here), and now much of that is routine.  Which is a fine thing.

Speaking engagements constitute more than half of my work.  In any given month I travel to campuses, libraries, or convention centers one to five times.  There are surprisingly few videoconferences; I hope to grow that.

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There have been more international opportunities.  2015 has seen (so far) work in Britain, Australia, and Malta.  Excellent.

Non-speaking consulting is quite varied.

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I’ve written reports, done analyses, led workshops on spec.  Meeting facilitation is increasingly in demand.

Research takes up one half of my time, roughly, on average.

Business and finance The Affordable Care Act has been marvelous to us.  It cut our monthly medical payments a great deal.  I hope this keeps going.

Also, some months have been overrun with too much work.  This is a good problem to have.

Technologies Social media has been crucial.  It’s where I share my research and reflections, and where I connect with so many people.  I increasingly receive consulting proposals and the occasional job offer through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

While I research mobile devices, I rarely get to use them, since Vermont’s cell network is so poor, and the rest of the country isn’t that great, either.

Publications FTTE continues to grow in numbers, reaching 1400 this month, a 40% increase from this time last year.  Adding a donations button has helped some with sustainability (thank you, contributors!).

I have a very short book coming out this fall, concerning how high school students and their families can best prepare for higher ed in the future.  Two more book possibilities are under discussion.

The huge importance of health I’ve been disabled once over this year, and really felt how crippling that was for my part of the business.  I’m trying to get healthier, but the nature of a small business somewhat opposes that, since it’s an always-on life.

Summing up, BAC is doing well.  We’re sustainable and growing after a mere two years.

Thank you, blog readers, for the help you’ve provided.

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19 Responses to My business after two years

  1. redbaiters says:

    You are an inspiration, Bryan, I’m a very big fan. Glad to hear it is going strong, but take care of your self. The bear needs to hibernate too 🙂

  2. Tim Lepczyk says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Bryan! It’s interesting to read how your business has developed and I’m happy it’s grown the past year.

  3. Leah Stitz says:

    Thank you for the business update, Bryan. I am proud of you and for you.

  4. CogDog says:

    This is a sterling report. Finances, work metrics are great, but THE BEAR LOGO ES FANTASTICO!!! Important stuff

  5. John Sener says:

    Good to hear that your consulting business is going well — congrats and wishes for continued success! One question: in your last sentence you referred to “we” — royal or associates?

    • Associates, meaning my wife (COO) and I, primarily. We also contract with people, part-time, for specific services.
      Actually, the next year might face us with the choice: to hire people or stay small?

      • I have explicitly avoided taking on employees due to the complexity that adds (stay small!). I took on a partner this year, which is awesome … until you have to do taxes. (Forms out the wazoo.) What kind of entity is BAC? LLC? I would love to keep up with you about how to approach organic growth. I’m thinking about this too.

      • BAC began as an LLC, Zach, but just became an S-corp.

  6. Richard Katz says:

    Congratulations on achieving this milestone! It is wonderful to witness your (well-deserved) success. More to come, I am sure.

  7. Jennifer Molineaux says:

    I’m particularly happy to hear that the Affordable Care Act has been beneficial. Here in the Addison County Economic Development office, we have ongoing discussions about the effects of medical/insurance issues on businesses. My own perspective includes having lived the family life of growing a small business without health insurance, so I am always hoping for good news about affordable health care making small business possible!

    • Without the ACA… I’m not sure what we would have done, honestly.
      We might have had to fall back on what my self-employed brother calls “the classic American health care plan: don’t get sick.”

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