So many professionals dream of being a consultant. The money’s good, you work your own hours and you have more time off – right? Unfortunately, it’s really not that simple. Whilst consulting is a great way to make money and run your own business, you have to be incredibly good at it.
Consultants are hired for their knowledge, so if you’re not up to the job, you simply won’t get the work. It’s not an easy career path but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. If you think you’re up to the task, then consider these 3 nuggets of guidance before you decide to drop everything and become a full-time consultant.
You Should Probably
Even if you haven’t charged a single customer for your services yet, the figure you have in your head is probably still too low. The main problem newbie consultants have is not charging enough for their services. Whether it’s lack of experience or not understanding the consulting game, many new consultants sell themselves short because they are too generous with their fees.
Whilst there are no set rules for how much you should charge as a consultant, you should always ask for a little bit more than your original figure. Like anything in the world, if a person is faced with a cheap product and an expensive one, they will immediately assume the higher priced product is better quality, even if they are basically the same.
You WILL Come Across
Not everyone is equipped to deal with rude or angry clients and if this sounds like you, you might want to give consulting a miss. As a consultant, you will constantly have people getting angry and frustrated with you for a whole number of reasons.
Many people will hire a consultant because they need help but then decide they don’t like being told what to do. Whilst this might seem a little ridiculous, it is, unfortunately, a regular part of the role. You have to believe in your own knowledge and assert yourself correctly. After all, you’re the professional consultant and they are paying for your expert help.
If you’re good at dealing with colleagues or the public in a diplomatic way and have a knack for diffusing negative situations, then you could have what it takes to be a great consultant.
You Have To Sell Yourself
Running a consulting business is no different to running any other kind of business. You have to have a killer brand and you absolutely must sell yourself. As a phrase, ‘selling yourself’ often has negative connotations but try not to see it like that. It’s a normal and essential part of being a consultant and apart from networking, there a few simple things you can do to give your image a boost.
|Price – Give yourself a high but reasonable price tag and people will value you more highly. See what other consultants in your area are charging and don’t dip below that.
||Dress – Buy yourself some smart clothing and always dress to impress. You don’t need to the latest Gucci suits but maintaining a clean and smart appearance will transmit a positive image.
||Truth – Always be truthful with people, even if they don’t like what they hear. Lying to people just to make them feel better will only come back to haunt you later down the line. People respect truth and will respect those who are truthful.
||Worth – Prove to people that you are a great consultant. Whether it’s on social media, your website or blog, show others how you’ve helped clients and solved their problems. Reinforce the idea that you are a highly valuable brand.
Consulting is a hard job and you will likely face some kind of failure somewhere down the line but that doesn’t mean you should just pack it in and try something else. Even with the best advertising and hard work, finding and maintaining clients isn’t going to be easy. However, if you’re determined to work hard and truly believe you have something valuable to offer others, you’ll be able to survive the demanding world of consulting.