In today’s economy because of internet and social media, solopreneurs, gig economy and remote work is becoming a viable career option. If you dig a little deeper, your role becomes that of a consultant. The key for you is to become a successful consultant.
You can find much information on becoming a successful consultant. Here is my take of providing business value to become a successful consultant.
Find your niche When you start your career as a consultant it looks easy to serve everyone and anyone in your domain. Let’s pick sustainability as a career option. You will find there are many roles you can play like in Corporate Social Responsibility, Circular Economy, any of the Sustainable Development Goals, Life cycle Assessments, Materiality Expert, Sustainability Reporting Specialist.
I would recommend picking a niche and try to solve the micro niche problem. You have to walk into a client having a problem and should be able to assure them that you can solve it in x number of day and your charge will be y amount. You will require you to know the problem domain and how to provide the solution.
If prospects come to your online profile or learn about you via a referral, they should be able to explain your work in a few sentences — a powerful and one of the most challenging things to do. Think of 5 famous consultants: Aren’t they expert only in one topic?
Share your journey You can reach to practically anyone in the world. There are dozens of social media platform to share your work. LinkedIn works for professional network. I know you know that however you may not know is currently (May 2019) the organic reach of the platform is very high. Which means If I post a good article or share an article (you can share this article), I get 1000 to 5000 views on my post.
If you are hesitant to share or don’t know what to share, one thing you can do is share your daily work experience, your current challenges or any meetings you had that is worth sharing.
Your post should provide value to the community you serve. It can be in the same industry. For example, let take the case of 73bit.com. We are a benchmarking and assessment platform for company-wise benchmarks.
Our clients are Rating companies, Non-profits, Think tanks and Environmental consultancy. However, most of my post revolves around sustainability, climate change, diversity, gender and technology. Your post can be a medium to share your passion and the person you are.
Design your service: You have to be a systems thinker because the system produces results. Your service should yield specific outcomes and deliverables. Clients should be able to measure progress and throughput. The method of consultancy can attract the right clients and also retain them for life.
There are many examples of structuring the service. One of them I can remember is from the book Build to Sell. The story is about a struggling entrepreneur in small business and how his mentor helps him to become a successful company. The business they turn out to be is a Logo making agency.
One of the steps I would like to highlight from their 5 step process is creating the logo only with black colour. They explain one of the advantages of this step is to make the client focus on the structure, ratio and concept of the logo. This step avoids the conversation of detailing on the logo.
Create a community Create a community Being a consultant can be a lonely journey at times; it is always good to have likeminded people to get inspiration. It never hurts to have a mentor in the same field too. To create a community you need to bring value to them. You may take time to understand; however, your best friend is experimenting.
If you choose LinkedIn as a platform for creating your community, you can create groups in it and build it. To begin with, you can always participate in groups where you can contribute and start developing relationships. These relationships can also help you bring clients.
I feel that if the community is in the space of your work, but they are not your direct clients. It becomes effortless to serve, and you can go all in. For example, I do Daily Introduction. Not everyone I introduce is my potential customer; thus there is no agenda with this service. Good Karma comes back, is what I think.
Keynote Speaker This could be a tough one. If you can speak about your work to a large audience it shows that you have the authority to talk about the topic and it increases your confidence. Both of these qualities are important for sales. The talks can be a great source of lead generation and client relationship.
You can start small by talking about your subject to a nearby school or college. It can be short talk like TED. If you think you are not comfortable talking to a larger audience start by talking with few people. You can start by talking to one person. You can do that by being a guest in a Podcast.
Your confidence can alone be powerful skills to have. It will come if you are great at your work and proud of what you are doing. You can also have a Free talk at your clients’ place on the topic that is currently a concern to them.
I hope this article was useful and I wish you a successful career. If you found this valuable the least you can do is share this as a post. Add two lines while you post mentioning why did you liked it or why don’t you liked it.