Starting out on your own as a consultant may conjure up a plethora of feelings, from being scared about the risks and uncertainty to feeling excited and empowered to be taking control of your own life balance and destiny. Not to mention the uncapped earning potential. You’re bound to feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster as you embark on a new chapter in your life, stepping outside of your comfort zone and regular routine.
Whether you plan to consult in business or personal services we all, at times, can face similar issues in getting established on this new journey into consultancy.
Here are 5 tips to getting your career as a consultant started:
- Expert knowledge – if you are going to be a consultant, firstly ensure that you have the skills and knowledge in the sector you plan to consult in. Avoid offering services you are not fully proficient or confident in. Yes, it’s important to sell yourself and your expert skills but be careful not to bite of more than you can chew and commit to keeping your skills and knowledge refreshed and up to date.
- Believe in yourself – You’ve made the decision or are thinking of making this career change, it’s super important to learn how to be your own cheerleader. Working for yourself is gratifying and rewarding, but can also be very challenging, you have to keep yourself motivated throughout it all. Positive can-do attitude alongside working hard is key. Our minds have a habit of finding fault with ourselves, so we have to reprogram and train our minds to tune out the doubtful little voice in our heads!
- Get organised –now is the time to get yourself organised. You need to set up your business, make the decision on how you plan to trade, Ltd or solo. You have to register the business, set up banking facilities, register with HMRC as self-employed, set your goals and objectives. Set up contracts for clients and of course set your fees for client billing, get networking for new clients. There’s lots to do, it might sound exhausting, but doesn’t have to be. This calls for a calm diligent approach and a can-do mind set.
- Understand your finances – as a consultant working self-employed you will be responsible for your finances, so don’t forget to put money aside for a rainy day and for those important National Insurance and tax payments when HMRC deadlines roll around. There are some great apps to log receipts and expenses as well as trusty excel spreadsheets which makes it easier for tax purposes.
- Be Consistent & diligent– Be consistent in your approach to work and your work life balance. Starting out takes time, commitment and consistency, you might not get your first or fifth client contract, now is not the time to take your foot of the peddle, or to take time to feel sorry for yourself. Persevere and things will fall into place. Be prepared, do research your sector, your competitors and most certainly do look for potential clients that you would like to work with.
If you’re thinking about exploring more options like starting your own business check out the free guide.
Want to know more? grab my book How To Become A Consultant; A Guide To Free Yourself From The 9-5’. Available from Amazon, iBook, Google Play, Barnes & Noble and other online platforms.
This article was written for and published in New Business Magazine – May 2018.