Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Paul Chatterton, Founder of Big Oak Consulting NW, located in Oregon City, OR, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I founded Big Oak in 2015 to provide access to resources and outside counsel across departments and functions to senior business leaders in the Pacific Northwest. It's a unique model funded by working on a retainer basis with some of the country's top service providers, working as a peer or board-level advisor to their organizations as they grow and expand their practices.

This financial model allows me the freedom and discretion to provide my time as a free advisor to CEOs, CFOs, COOs, and other functional leaders when they need a variety of assistance from outside their four walls. I'm never paid transactionally, but I spend 100% of my time advising my clients on how to procure services and counsel from the best of the best consulting organizations within my network.

Tell us about yourself

I've worked on "both sides of the desk" during the course of my career but have spent most of my professional life in professional services. Big Oak was founded as a response to the rampant poor behavior so often seen in management consulting. It's incredibly gratifying to help the most ethical, effective, and efficient service providers I know to grow and thrive while providing the best counsel I can to my clients as they navigate the tricky business of engaging and managing consultants.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Starting a practice that seemed counter-intuitive to some of the smartest people I know and providing a unique service to my clients for going on 8 years. Big Oak allows me to spend every day doing what I do best and enjoy most and to provide the greatest value I can imagine to a wide range of great organizations. No one should be allowed to enjoy their work as much as I do!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The administrivia! As a sole proprietor, the admin of running a business can be wearisome, but it's a small price I pay to spend 90% of my time doing such fulfilling and interesting work.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Understand your personal value proposition. Do what you do best and enjoy the most.
  2. Listen. What do your clients need most? Adjust and grow based on their input.
  3. Follow your passion. If there's an offering you can provide that really feeds your soul, you'll always be happy professionally.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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