I am a trained accountant with banking experience. However, my real interest is finding technology solutions for everyday end user challenges. I understand business very well and technology fairly well, and have acted as the middleman on countless occassions by helping the tech guys and business guys understand each other.
I have now left paid employment to start up my own business of helping people solve their problems using technology. My problem now is that so far I have offered my services for free mainly because people like my solutions but do not think they should pay for it since I am not a professionaly qualified technology person (or maybe I am the one who is too aware of this 'shortcoming'). Either way, my business is still operating as a hobby.
I have considered taking a few formal technology related courses to make up for this shortcoming but my problem is that the software field is so wide I don't even know what to study to get good general knowledge without turning into a full blown software engineer. I am over 40 now and really need to get my business moving.
How can I solve my credibility issues and jumpstart this business? Will taking a training program help?
I've been a business efficiency consultant for the last 10 years, which is more or less the same as "helping people solve their problems using technology" -- I just tend to work more with entire businesses or upper management than everyday individuals. I'm also the author of Business Efficiency for Dummies. All that said, I have never attended a training and have only one certification (Salesforce.com Developer). There are none out there that actually matter in this realm -- what matters is being able to successfully solve people's problems. I have never, not once, ever, in 10 years of working full-time been asked to provide a credential.
My advice to you is to set a significant hourly rate, stare at yourself in the mirror and say "I am providing a valuable service." Stop giving your services away for free -- if you feel the need to market your service, write a helpful blog and highlight your personalized consulting services on it. If you have no current references, then flex your muscles at a couple non-profits and then use them.