Economy killin’ you? Be a consultant. Who me?

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Consultant: person


from 100 miles away


with a BlackBerry and laptop.


You better believe it  that clients give more respect to consultants from “out of town.” Besides that the out-of-town guy’s perspective is “totally fresh,” clients love to talk about the fact that they have a consultant who’s “totally hosing” them!

Why?  Who knows? And who cares? How to UN-do this unrealistic, warped mindset is what really matters. The best consultants are those who get the job done on schedule, pleasantly and reasonably.

And, by the way,  EVERY client loves consultants who are willing to work on a partial performance incentive basis! Hey, why not? Prove yourself. If you’re so sure you can solve the problem, you should be willing to bet part of your compensation on it, and of course charge more … especially where sales or savings commissions are possible! You can be fairly certain the out-of-town guy won’t do that.

First of all,  if you’re serious about wanting to do consulting work of any kind — regardless of your expertise — start with and communicate confidence (not cockiness!) by recognizing that you know more about the subject than any client, or your services wouldn’t be required.

Second,  roll up your sleeves and get to work being a consultant before you’re even hired to be a consultant. Show the client how you function be getting right to the heart of things. Take any minor issue raised in a discussion and ask questions. Listen carefully. Analyze and make recommendations. Do it in a relaxed manner.

And stop worrying  about giving away your expertise by solving problems that you’re not asked to solve and that you’re not being paid for yet. If you think you can do it, do it!

Avoid getting tangled up  in contracts, long-term agreements, petty lawyer-style compensation terms (Do you want to pay someone by the quarter hour for reading your email or letter or for listening to your phone call that outlines the basic logistics of what the working arrangements will be?) Like NIKE says, Just Do It!

If repeat business and referrals  are important to you (duh!), then focus on getting the job done, instead of telling how great you are. Track-records don’t produce sales unless you’re a major name athlete. Ongoing demonstrations of knowledge and know-how, and resources, and ability to communicate clearly will land the assignment AND solve the client’s problem.

When I started as a consultant,  I hired a consultant to “sit in” as my “assistant” and then later badger me with devil’s advocate questions to force me to stay tuned in and come to terms with my own problem-solving and communication skills. It was worth every penny! (Uh, you DO remember what a “penny” is?)

Bottom line:  There’s NOTHING can compare to working for yourself! If you’re out of work, have special knowledge and skill, have integrity, communications skills, and confidence … stop making excuses and go for it. You don’t need a BlackBerry and laptop. Just start with a phone, email capability, business cards, and determination!

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