In our recent Live Broadcast, Talmix consultants discussed the challenges involved with successfully managing peaks and troughs of independent consulting careers. We share our 10 favourites from that webinar.
1. The phones can stop ringing
“One of the big things that I had to get used to as an Independent consultant is that the phone stopped ringing. When you’re in an employed role and on the board of a major company the phone doesn’t stop. But then you become independent, and all of a sudden it does, and you realise that you have to get used to being proactive and getting out there to market yourself” – Nigel Peckham: Talmix Independent Consultant.
2. Network-Building is your biggest asset
“I’d really never had to go out and find people – they’d always come to me. I’d been on the employed side – and specifically in retail, people naturally found you. But now it was up to me to go out and find people that could open-up opportunity for me. Building and maintaining the contacts and that communication is a valuable lesson for anyone considering Independent Consulting. Keep yourself current – put out regular updates to feed things out for people to pick up, so that they know who you are, and what you’re good at” – Nigel
3. It’s all on you to make it work
“One thing you have to be very comfortable with, as a new independent consultant, is risk. You also have to become comfortable with ambiguity – you don’t know where your next paycheque will be coming from and it’s all on you to manage your schedule now.” – Bob Steere: Talmix Independent Consultant.
4. When things aren’t going so well for your prospective client’s business – that’s when things may get busy!
“As an independent consultant, generally you are busier when things are NOT going well in a prospective client’s business. Because generally, when things are going well, they don’t need help.” – Nigel.
5. Being aware of trends is critical
“You need to be aware of trends. It’s very important to be involved in industry elements, and updated on things that are happening which are directly related to your expertise. I see it very much as a 21st Retail environment – the way we communicate and sell has all become digital, web-based and social. Instead of standing in front of you buying something, your customer is sitting on a train travelling, reading the news, researching information – and that’s why it’s important to know where your prospective customer is, and what’s important to them” – Nigel
6. You will work with a much wider group of customers
“As an independent, I’ve worked with a much wider group of customers and industries than I have ever done before, and would ever have done if I’d stayed in retail. You will meet new people, meet new cultures, travel. You will be tested and challenged” – Nigel
7. You need to keep yourself forward, rather than stay current.
“You need to be forward-thinking. Current is where we are. Businesses will look to you to look at where they need to be going. You need to be looking at the trends, try to forecast. Regardless of industry. You need to be forward-looking. Your network needs to be horizontal and broad – not a vertical one – in order to see what’s happening and what’s coming in industries around you. If you stay narrow, you limit your opportunities” – Nigel
“Try to find people who are smarter than you are – to learn from and listen to – in order to keep yourself forward” - Bob
8. Keep yourself active and healthy
“The demands on your body will be great in this industry and so you need to look after yourself in order to keep yourself stimulated. Schedule time in your diary daily to read and research topics that affect your industry – to keep yourself updated” - Bob
9. Never get comfortable with a client
“To protect your interests and to protect your future prospective business opportunities, never get complacent about where you are. If things go well, don’t get used to them. Constantly play Devil’s Advocate and ask yourself ‘What If’ something was to change – to ensure you’re always planning for change and for the quieter periods of consulting”. - Bob
10. Always keep yourself top of people’s minds
“My biggest source of project opportunity comes from my well-established network. When something comes up that is relevant for me – people get in touch. That’s because I’ve taken the time to nurture my network and keep myself at the forefront of people’s minds. Your integrity and reputation is everything – and you have to follow-through.” - Bob
Join our next Live Broadcast on 1 August where we’ll be discussing the power of an established network and the opportunity it offers.
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