When people often ask what it’s like to be a consultant and coach, I give the good right along with the not-so-good.
If you are a new consultant or seriously giving thought to transitioning into that career track, you should be aware of the emotional highs and lows.
No-one gets into business to fail or not meet their goals, but when everything is riding on your efforts, some days can be more stressful than others.
In the early days of my consulting business, I referred to myself as the “Schizophrenic Entrepreneur”.
I would literally experience and go through 10 different emotions all in the same day…then have to get on the phone with a prospective client and be upbeat, cheerful, positive and engaging regardless of what was going on in the background.
Entrepreneurship is extremely rewarding and exciting, but it can also be very lonely and isolated…especially if you are running an online business.
Now don’t get scared off, I would not trade what I do for anything else. But if you are new to the game, you may mistakenly think that being a consultant is not for you.
While you may undoubtedly face tough days, there are solutions and resources to keep you pressing forward.
Yes, you will have to work very hard in the early years as a consultant, but you will burn out quick and fast if you have no personal hobbies, activities and events that allow you to switch off.
It could be as simple as going to the gym 3 times a week or it could be a standing coffee / lunch date with a good friend.
It could be shutting down at 6 pm to watch the news and your favorite TV show before you get back to burning the midnight oil.
When I left my corporate job in 2005, a mentor had advised me about this one. You see, even if you are ready to leave your job or you were tired of the job you had, the work environment (unless it’s hostile) provides a form of social connection for you.
You may have a great work buddy or an awesome group of coworkers that you bond with inside and outside of work.
Sometimes you have to decide between socializing and running off to another networking event, tough decision, but find ways to stay engaged and in relationships with other people who are not your clients.
If you are struggling with your consulting business and not generating enough income, it’s tempting to pull away from everyone.
Family and friends want to know how your business is doing and many new consultants get embarrassed or feel as sense of shame when their are not getting the results they want.
In a mastermind group with other consultants and business owners, it’s easier to be open and transparent about the challenges you are facing.
More importantly, you can draw from the strengths, insights and expertise from the group and feel as sense of purpose as you also contribute to the success of others.
One of the best things I did was get a membership for the City Club of Washington which allows me to have a professional place to meet clients and a working space outside of my home.
This is huge when it comes to your mindset and attitude as a consultant…from the beginning you can project a professional brand with clients and prospects. You would also get to connect with professionals, consultants and business owners.
My membership includes free breakfast and lunch, so I can grab my laptop and spend the day working in that location, not bad at all!
In the past, I used to joke around and say that before I started my business, I was skinny and attractive with hair (smile). But on a serious note, I was guilty of eating on the run, snacking all day and not cooking proper meals, my body and my mind suffered as a result.
Once I took control of eating, exercising and making my healthy a priority again, I was able to be fully present and available (mentally and emotionally) for my clients.
Eat breakfast every day, make time for lunch, plan on a healthy dinner and leave the fast food restaurants alone…you know the drill.
The journey you are on or about to embark on, others have gone before and can share their expertise, experience and advice.
I had a lot of stops and starts in my consulting business until I hired a coach who kept me accountable, gave me objective feedback and advice and steered me in the right direction.
I made back my investment back 2 times over in less than a year and my income almost tripled in a 3-year period. Worth ever penny!
What personal challenges are you facing as a new consultant? Who or what keeps you focused and on track?