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Tips from a successful self-employed consultant

Updated: Dec 17, 2021


Entreprenuership is a complex business cycle that is definitely not for the undisciplined and the weak at heart. I know that sounds harsh, but hear me out. When I started my journey over 15 years ago to become a business owner, I had no idea that I would be challenged not only financially after leaving my 9 to 5, but also mentally and spiritually. Eventually through trial and error, sleepless nights and fail my way to success approach, I stumble upon the love for consulting. After looking back, I have always been a consultant to friends, family and associates. So, when I finally decided to make it official to charge for my knowledge, after years of giving sound and successful advice for free, it was time to reflect on how I became the successful business consultant I am today. Every journey is different to success, but here are my tips to becoming a successful self-employed consultant in the 21st century.


1. Your Knowledge is your Real Estate!!!- Let me say it again "Your knowledge is your real estate". Consulting can be difficult at first, due to understanding the price structure of a consultant. Understand that the knowledge you possess can keep a client from spending years or countless hours struggling to get to the next level in their business. Protect your knowledge at all cost and understand that there is value in every word you speak to a client. I know understand what we offer as consultants is not a tangible product, so it can be difficult to price your services when you start. So, I am here to help you with that today. I would advise you to dissect how much time it will save your client? How much energy will it save your client? How much money will it save your client, if you took on that particular project. Although in seconds after speaking with a client, I have tons of corrective action plans flowing through my brain, but that only came after years of being a consultant, I can currently dissect anyone business in 30 minutes or less and understand what revisions they must make to remove certain obstacles out of their path. However, it may only take me a few seconds too come up with the idea, but it saves the client months of work on their own. So, for this I would easily charge $500 per hour or provide a package deal, if I felt this would be a 4 to 8 week project to accomplish.


2. Not Every Business Owner is a Client- This particular topic hit home for me while writing this. You will feel that you can serve everyone and I am here to tell you NO!!! I can remember a time that I turned down a $15,000 check from a client, due to her mental state at the time. Although she wanted to start a business and made pretty well for herself, she was not ready to grow her business. I know that may sound strange and some of you would say why? Great question and I am here to explain. I am a very serious person and I take my craft seriously. I have spent countless hours reading, listening to motivational audios, over two hundred thousand on my education and countless amount of money on personal development. I am no different than how a doctor expects his patient to prepare for surgery by following guidelines and taking instructions seriously. If the doctor says "No drinking liquids after 12 midnight and you come in for surgery with a belly full of liquids he has to cancel the surgery right? Exactly! When you have a client that is late for appointments, you have to chase them to to get their portion of the work done to complete a project, this hinders the workflow and your income. Many consultants including myself may offer a 50/25/25 split, which means you pay half of your bill upfront and once we are half way through the project you pay the additional 50% due in 2 installments. The installments are based on when you reach a certain level in a project. Which means, if you are building a site for your client and she has not submitted the content for her site by the due date, you are not able to reach the stage of completion in a timely manner. I do understand emergencies that may transpire, but I truly mean for the client that is disorganized and had not idea how much effort it would take on their end when entering the agreement. Consulting is a partnership and no one knows their business better than the client, which is why it is important for them to stay on task.


3. Do Not Become A Yes Person- In the world of consulting, do not be afraid to tell your client the truth!! There is nothing more devastating to a client, then being a yes person. Your client will appreciate you and thank you for not allowing them to go down a rabbit hole, and waste money on a consultant to revisit the same situation a few weeks or months down the rd. I have sat at the table with consultants, who could care less, if they drain a client bank account due to the stubbornness of the client not ready to take advice. However, it is your duty as a person or merit and value to due your very best to layout all the obstacles or challenges your client may face, if they decide to continue down a uncharted pathway in their business, that could ultimately hurt them financially. Always remember your number one job will be to explain to them the pros and cons of each decision they make to the best of your ability and that's all any consultant can do.


4. Have a Product to Sell- This is a valuable lesson I wished I knew and understood when I first started consulting. Money made from the actual consulting part is 40% and the other 60% is made on products sold in your business. You want to take time to create courses for your business, self publish a book, create a blogging site on your particular niche or host networking events where vendors pay you to participate. Once you start to build your business, there is no doubt you will have slow days or months in any business. Take time during those days to work on packages or courses that can create residual income for you monthly. There are many sites like www.teachable.com or www.udemy.com that will help you build a course online to build your following and bank account at the same time.


5. Have Business Insurance- Any business should carry business insurance to avoid any misunderstanding with a client. I recommend using www.Hiscox.com. They are extremely affordable and can get you set up with general liability insurance in minutes. Most office buildings will require business insurance if you are leasing office space.


6. Have All Clients to sign an agreement of services rendered- I am a stickler for contracts, due to the nature of the world we live in today. When you have a contract or terms and conditions in place, this allows both parties to understand the business relationship upfront. In your agreement, you want highlight the services offered, price structure for each one, cancellation policy, refund policy (if you decide to have one) and time line for each service rendered. I know you may want to trust what people say, but I have always been successfully in retrieving what was due to me because of contracts set in place.


7. Ask for referrals- If you did a great job and your client is satisfied, why not ask for a referral. You will find that in the business of consulting, most of your leads will come from referrals. Remember your clients are your biggest advocates, so let them advocate!!!


If you enjoy reading content like this visit us at www.fmconsultingroup.com to learn more or schedule a meeting with a consultant today!!!

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