You know the plunge I am taking about, the one where you shift your brand from corporate employee to consultant….sounds exciting right?
Sounds exciting right? No-one standing over your shoulder, telling you what to do anymore, you get to choose your ideal projects and clients and you can finally start working towards the ever-elusive “work-life” balance.
Well, speaking from experience, becoming an independent consultant or solopreneur requires a lot more thought, work and preparation than you would imagine.
If you are frustrated with the corporate world and want try your success as a consultant and enjoy a career that is in line with your personality, vision and values, ponder on these strategies before turning in your resignation:
1) Make sure your brand reputation is as strong as your expertise
Consider if you have sufficient knowledge, experience or business understanding and success in what will be your area of focus.
Sure there will always be prospects who want and need your services, but what differentiating strengths are you bringing to the table to make them choose you?
2) Save up for the sunny and rainy days
On this new career path of consulting, it will be challenging in the beginning to determine your monthly, weekly or even daily revenue streams.
Even with a healthy pipeline of clients ready to hire you, you may have to tap into your savings, maintain a part-time job or establish a line of credit.
3) Sharpen up your sales and marketing skills
Think for a second about your best sales experience, what did that person do that effectively convinced you to make the purchase?
Now, switch gears and remember your worst salesperson encounter – focus on everything that person did that turned you off. Get the picture?
When you are running the show, you are also the primary spokesperson, cheerleader and salesperson for your consulting services.
Understanding the difference between branding, marketing and sales will make a huge difference in your bottom-line – hire a business coach, take webinars, get sales training and become comfortable with the process.
4) Expect that the high risk and stress come along with the rewards
Being a consultant or solopreneur is not for the faint of heart – trust me, I know:) You have to be willing to put all of yourself to make the consulting services business a profitable one.
That could mean long work hours, sacrificing personal interests, living on limited resources and truly making decisions when the immediate outcome is unclear.
5) Put on your flexibility gear because you need to be swift and nimble at times
Flexibility is one of the greatest skills you will need to master as an consultant. Market and industry conditions are always changing and technology continues to push the bar even higher on how you will need to compete.
You will have to innovate and continuously add and expand your services and solutions to remain competitive in your industry.
(Stock photo credit:freedigitalphotos.net)