Many independent consultants begin their businesses without knowing the pitfalls to watch out for. I have had an independent consultant for a little over 10 years. During the beginnings of building my business I had a few mentors give me valuable advice that I still use today. As an independent consultant, you are able to pick and choose you clients and the freedom to dictate your own hours and appointments but you are expected to make magic happen.
Building a steady stream of income is crucial to success as an independent consultant. I have been told by one of my mentors, a marketing consultant, to nurture my network. This is vital to survival as an entrepreneur in any line of business. As a consultant your network basically dictates where your business will come from. Those six degrees of separation are key here. Referrals are the number one source of a consultant’s book of business and keeping in contact with anyone and everyone will be your biggest ally.
You are considered the expert so be sure to be one. If you do not have an answer, be sure to find one. It is important to not be construed as a novice in this line of work. Businesses and people pay for what they deem you to be capable of. Your expert impressions and mannerisms are essential to gaining trust and confidence in your clients. Joining your local Chamber of Commerce is a good way to appear to be legitimate. You will also find a world of information in the other members who can help steer you in the right direction.
Become a member of associations related to your industry. This is a way you can learn about the competition and get the inside scoop on what others are charging and offering. You will also learn a great deal by mingling and mixing with those in the same line of work. Networking with these individuals will also help you gain credibility. Align yourself with those who are successful and you will be successful.
It is important to value your talent and your worth. Do not sell yourself short, however appealing that may be at the time. This could drive the market prices down in your industry which will not give you a respectable reputation. Learn the differences between you and your competition and build on your strengths. The biggest difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is perseverance and confidence.