(Forbes) — There’s no way any company will engage you rather than McKinsey,” the man scoffed. He looked at me with a mix of contempt and sympathy, the way people often look at beggars, and I would have been smart to heed his warning. After all, he was a senior executive at a big company, had an Ivy League pedigree and was part of the WASP-y country club set. He should know if my business idea was worthy. It could not be done, he concluded, and I should stop before I even started. Fortunately for me, I’ve never been good at listening to detractors. I ignored his advice and the criticism of others who said I couldn’t open a consulting firm focused on China that charges more than big consulting firms like McKinsey and Bain. Five years later I’m still here, and I’m having a ball every time a company picks us over one of the big firms.