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.
I watched a program yesterday and one of the scenes really hit home, the protagonist was faced with a challenging situation and was having very unhelpful and rather funny conversations with herself. I thought to myself…hmm I do that, we all do that, but as it was a comedy, we could hear her thoughts. I’m grateful it isn’t like that in real life, can you imagine what it would be like if we could hear everyones thoughts..a hilarious nightmare!
The conversation within
But I digress, in all honesty the conversations we have with ourselves can literally make or break us. How many times do you have negative thoughts, thinking you’re not good enough for this, that or the third. I’m no different, we all have fears and self-limiting beliefs. It may come from a lack of confidence or a lack of support or something entirely different. No matter how these limiting thoughts came about we can and need to give then the boot! Yep they need to hit the road Jack!
Yes, sometimes you have to tell that voice in your head telling you that you can’t do it to shut up, not sure how, listen to Stormzy or watch MR T from the A-Team…if you can find it. The truth is that we tend to have more negative thoughts that positive, which means we have to work harder to keep ourselves motivated.
If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur you can surely relate. When you are starting or running a business you are juggling lots of things at the same time. With so much to do its not uncommon to feel overwhelmed at times, that voice may say ‘what are you doing, you’ve left your job chasing your dreams but you’re an idiot you won’t make it’. Some people listen to this voice and give up, but if you really want to achieve your dreams, (which you can) you’ll have to be prepared for that internal battle which is one of the hardest. I came across this image the other day and I thought it was spot on!
To be successful and to achieve your dreams you constantly and consistently have to be having a word with yourself! That means doing your daily affirmations and reminding yourself of your strengths as well as focusing on what you are grateful for. I heard a motivational speaker say what you focus on expands…where is your focus and do you need to adjust your lens?
Have a great week and get your matrix on..dodge all the rubbish and focus on the good stuff.