Doody Consulting started back in 2004 as a partnership between Dan Doody and me, thanks to serendipity and a happy convergence between career paths. In 2004, I had arrived at a crossroads in my career: After more than 30 years of running publishing programs for commercial publishers, I decided that I wanted to go out on my own and start a consulting practice.
After skimming two books on how to be a consultant, chosen mostly on the basis of their low price, the one point I grasped clearly was that I had to spread the word to people I knew in the industry. Dan was at the top of my list for two reasons. First, I trusted Dan to have my best interests at heart and offer sound advice. Second, I knew that Doody Enterprises was in touch regularly with literally every publisher in the industry – if anyone could point me to potential consulting opportunities, Dan could.
The first phone call with Dan was a long one. He drilled down more deeply than anyone had to learn why I wanted to be a consultant, what skills I thought I brought to it, what kinds of services I thought I could provide, and much, much more. When Dan listens, he listens until you’re done and doesn’t reveal what he’s thinking until he’s heard everything you’re able to tell him. So I knew Dan understood my idea, but I had no idea what he thought of it.
His evaluation stunned me. Dan told me that from time to time a participating publisher – generally a professional society with a publishing operation — would ask him if he’d be willing to help them solve a publishing challenge. According to Dan, he almost always had to decline – he just didn’t have the time and energy to take on a consulting client while also running Doody Enterprises. So, Dan asked, what if we combined forces – Dan would bring in and manage clients, while I handled a lot of the detail work?
This was an attractive approach: My consulting services could be offered under the Doody banner, which was a respected industry institution; Dan would do the lion’s share of marketing and selling, work that I didn’t particularly enjoy; I could spend my time puzzling over clients’ publishing challenges, which is the way I wanted to spend my time; and I’d have another chance to work with Dan, one of the colleagues I had most enjoyed working with.
With a handshake and a two-page agreement that we wrote without consulting lawyers, Doody Consulting was off and running.