This article was first published on 2007-09-24. Due to the age of this article, it is included here for archive purposes only.
Have you gone through MFM’s 6 Steps to Solve Your Mac Problem and not found the solution that’s right for you? Or perhaps you time is limited and you would be happy to pay someone to solve your problem for you. Maybe you learn better having someone lead you along, helping you improve all your computer skills. If any of these instances describe you, it may be time for an Apple Certified Consultant.
To introduce this idea, Marnï Melrose has dropped by My First Mac to tell us more about why you might benefit from a consultant and what to expect. Read on for her point of view.
I can’t speak for every consultant but the reason I started my business 5 years ago was: number one, because I love the Mac, and number two, I wanted to get paid to do what I love for the rest of my life. I was a Genius at the Fashion Valley Apple Store and I found as a Genius there was only so much I could do for each client. I had time constraints and restrictions. I wanted a more personal interaction with my clients where I could go deeper into what they needed.
You’ll find this with most people who have become consultants. They really love what they do.
A Personal Touch
My most memorable moment working with clients was with a woman in her 80s. She had never used a computer before and after three or so grueling sessions without much progress, all of a sudden she moved the mouse and did the procedure entirely from memory. She looked at me, reached out her arms without words and hugged me and sobbed. After the sobbing stopped she said, “I never thought I could do it. But you believed in me.”
That’s something you won’t get out of reading a website or a manual. Sometimes that personal touch is really what you need when you don’t even know what you want to do and can’t find the answers anywhere because you don’t even know how to surf the web yet. You need someone who will guide you through this new digital land. Someone who’s been there where you are now. Someone who loves what they do and gets just as excited about it all as you. That’s why I would hire a consultant.
If you hire a consultant, make sure they are certified. By hiring a certified consultant, you can make sure the person you are working with knows what they are doing because nothing is more important than your data. You can find certified consultants in the Dig Deeper section below.
Don’t be afraid to work with someone remotely. I’ve found it sometimes even more effective then being there in person. When I control someone’s computer remotely, they see everything I am doing rather than peering over my shoulder. Somehow they learn better when they see it from the perspective they would normally see things happen. A lot of the time I will just be guiding them with my voice so they can learn by doing. I often joke, “It’s like having an angel on your shoulder”.
Working with Apple
Some consultants, like myself, might work with a special unit of Apple called the Small-Medium Business unit. I use them for most of my clients to save them money on their Macs. Here’s an article they did on me June 29, 2006
"Through the SMB Referral Program, I can give my customers very personalized service, which is definitely what my business clients want. Working with the SMB team is a seamless process, and my clients can get everything taken care of without even having to leave their office. The Trade-In Program has moved the timeline forward for some of my clients to purchase new Macs so everyone wins."
This two-way exchange of business opportunities represents the long term benefit of the relationships that can be formed through ACN referral programs. To learn more about the referral programs that are currently in place for ACN members, go to the Members website > Membership > Apple Referral Programs.
In addition some consultants might specialize in a particular product. I specialize in Marketcircle’s Daylite program. I do business and life coaching with it through using some of David Allen’s GTD principles and also some of Llamagraphics LifeBalance concepts. I call it the MacAngel Method. Basically I help people and companies keep their life in balance and their work on track.
The Mark of a Good Consultant
A good consultant may know a lot but a great consultant will not be condescending about it. They’ll speak in words you can understand and truly have a desire to help you with whatever you came to them for. They’ll work fast so they can get on to helping all their other eager clients. That’s what sets them apart. If they have posted reviews, make sure to look over their website to see what their current clients think of them.
Contact a Consultant
So if you need personalized help contact a consultant and see what they can do for you. Talk to a few until you find the one that’s just right for what you need.
Marnï Melrose “The MacAngel” has helped more than 400 clients in San Diego and Southern California and can be found at macangel.com.