Setting Up Your Consulting Practice

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Topic: Create a Project List

A project list demonstrates your expertise and helps you respond to inquiries faster. It should list all projects including the situation, what you did, and the impact. Considering maintaining a list for internal use and a sanitized project list you can share with potential clients.

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Create a project list.

Now a project list is not a resume. It’s a detailed project list of every project you’ve ever done. That would go all the way back to… let’s say you started at a professional services firm, at a management consulting firm … list out all the projects that you did there. Or, if you worked in industry for a while but you did project type work.

Let’s say that you were head of strategy or headed a business unit and you accomplished project type work; include those. Also include, of course, all the projects you’ve done as an independent consultant.

In your project list, you want to include what was the situation, what did you do, and what was the impact. 

Some people will maintain a sanitized project list and an un-sanitized project list. In the un-sanitized version, they’ll include, for their own purposes and memory, the name of the company they served and the name of the client executive they served and some additional confidential details. They’ll also maintain a sanitized version with those confidential materials stripped out. That’s your choice.

The one that you definitely need is at least the sanitized version — a version that you can email out to a potential client or a potential partner who’s thinking about bringing you on to something.

The format that you maintain this in, some people keep this in Excel which makes it easy to sort. Some people keep a version in Word — that’s up to you and your preference. But ideally, it should be in a format that you can send out to people.

In Episode 140 of Unleashed, I interviewed J. Martin because I thought that his project list, which is about 18 pages long and has over 100 projects listed, was really best practice and a great example. You can download his project list in the extras of this episode.

Create a project list. It’s incredibly valuable when someone asks you to give some examples of similar projects you’ve done. You can sort through that project list and quickly pull out those bullets and you don’t need to re-write them. Or, you may, in some cases, send out the entire project list — when, you know, it’s impressive to see page after page of the projects that you’ve done just as a deep layer of credibility to your work.