Freelance consulting

Freelance consulting

 

David A. Fields shares three ways consultants can expand their market. Bonus information and insights in the comments section.

There’s a rich, hidden vein of project opportunities for your consulting firm—projects that your consulting firm may not have been in the running to receive. With the proper outlook and actions, you can reveal and win them.

Usage of certain consumer products such as toothpaste and toilet paper are fairly constant—you’re unlikely to persuade consumers to use more of them or to use them on more occasions.

However, manufacturers of other types of fast-moving consumer goods, such as tahini, cheese and chocolate chips know that the right marketing and promotion strategies can increase usage and purchases.* Manufacturers call this “expandable consumption.”

Can your consulting firm tap into expandable consumption, or is consulting a fixed-consumption product?

Logical answer: Consulting is fixed consumption.

Consulting isn’t an impulse purchase like chocolate bars, parmesan crisps or Teslas. You can only win a consulting project when a client has a need for your consulting firm, and needs aren’t expandable or discretionary.

 

Key points include:

  • Actively building visibility
  • Focusing on hot buttons
  • Creating  high-touch engagements

 

Read the full article, 3 Tips to Expand Your Consulting Firm’s Market, on davidafields.com.

 

 

If you have difficulty describing what it is you do to clients, Anna Engstromer’s post will help clarify and communicate the value and benefits of your services. 

Much value of consulting can be decoded and applied in organizations, limiting the need to actually hire them and – hopefully – rendering work more challenging and rewarding.

I’ve served perhaps four dozen clients on almost the same number of topics, over a dozen years, across a dozen countries. Apart from a few basic trainings, I wasn’t really taught how to do it, but instead learned on the job, from and with colleagues and clients. Accenture Partners and client staff helped me pick up on value generation, developing people and effective and efficient ways of working. McKinsey colleagues and client executives helped me sharpen the expression of problems, findings and results. The people working on either side aren’t, in my mind, much different.

I’ve worked in organizations too, in different roles and always with a great degree of change. I’ve engaged, worked with, evaluated, extended and stopped consulting engagements. I see patterns of what consultants do well in organizations and how organizations can engage consultants better. There is waste in hiring consultants in poorly fitting ways, and there is lost opportunity in not expecting “consulting-like action” from employees.

I think much of the value of consulting comes from the situation of having new people come in and purposefully address a problem. The dynamic of that situation creates a momentum and an expectation that consultant-client teams deliver on, not just because they can but because they have to. What happens after a project sometimes disappoints, for a number of reasons, one being the loss of that momentum and specific expectation.

I believe much of the value of consulting can be decoded and applied in organizations, limiting the need to actually hire them and – hopefully – rendering work more challenging and rewarding.

 

Key points include:

  • Defining the problem
  • Fitting activities onto their purpose
  • Sharpening communication

 

Read the full article, De-mystifying Consulting, on Engstromer.com.

 

 

Nora Ghaoui shares the top three ways she built her business as a solo consultant during the difficult year of 2020.  

Building a consulting pipeline is tough in any year. In 2020, the uncertainty caused by the pandemic made companies cautious, so it was harder to get projects agreed and started.  I tried out different actions to build my project pipeline, and some worked better than others. Here are the top 3 things that made a difference to building my business as a solo consultant.  They might not be what you expect!

Spend your time wisely

Time gets away from you when your established routine is broken.  Without strong deadlines or direct feedback, it’s easy for actions to be postponed, half-done or forgotten in the jumble of dealing with lockdowns and working from home. 

So the most important success factor is: Be very intentional about how you spend your time.  What you spend time on, and what you get done, makes the difference between building your business or seeing it languish.  It sounds obvious, but it can be hard to do in practice.

As an “army of one”, all the work has to be done by you, although you can outsource parts of it.  This work includes refining your positioning, creating and publishing your marketing, building and nurturing your network, prospecting for leads, pitching for projects, negotiating with clients, working on projects, doing administrative overhead, keeping your expertise up to date, and, last but not least, having fun and enjoying what you do.

 

Key points include:

  • Questions to help you prioritize
  • Reviewing progress to stay on track
  • Expanding and maintaining connections

 

Read the full article, Keep building your consulting pipeline (in a tough year), on Veridia.nl.

 

 

Paul Millerd helps make sense of things in crazy times with newsletters that deliver sage advice for the self-employed. This week, he discusses building a journey you want to be on, the traps of uncertainty, and the productivity trap. 

My conception of the self-employment ‘game’ has evolved to be defined as creating a life that I want to keep living. This means that work is downstream from life decisions. Compared to how I was living until I left my job in 2017, this has been a dramatic shift and one that comes without a map.

The biggest challenge is not making money, though that is certainly hard. It is learning to be comfortable with uncertainty and knowing how to exist in a state of not knowing.

This is incredibly hard because at almost every step of the journey, there are tempting actions to take that will enable you to escape the weight of that uncertainty.

Let’s talk about six of these “traps.”

#1 The dopamine bomb of internet fame

I think it’s still early for creating on the web. If you are able to consistently create content, explore topics you are genuinely interested in and develop some way to improve as you go, you will inevitably get some version of 15 minutes of internet fame. This could come from a famous person promoting your stuff, getting published in a mainstream publication, economic success or or some piece of content going semi-viral for a few days.

To the self-employed creator that dances in daily uncertainty and self-doubt, this can unleash a satisfying dopamine bomb of approval. This can be so blinding and exciting that you might try to chase that same feeling over and over again, even if its not the work you actually want to go deeper on.

I got a dose of this when I posted a Twitter thread exploring the ‘40% of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency bill’ myth. If you read the report and the data, you’d be doing some serious mental gymnastics to land on such a takeaway. However, I was looking at it from the perspective of a former consultant who is skeptical of how data is represented and didn’t realize I was walking into a political talking point. This exploration earned me the applause of right wing trolls and a twitter follow from Ann Coulter.

 

Topics of interest in this article include:

  • The metrics of success
  • The identity trap
  • Squad culture
  • Worker reclassification

 

Read the full article, Avoiding Hustle Traps, Squads, From Politics to Seminary & More, and access links on the Boundless website.

 

 

Martin Pergler begins a conversation on corporate culture to identify the pros and cons of working for the corporate world, small business or the public sector.

 

Putting considerations such as the work itself, employer values, career trajectory, benefits, job security, etc. (all covered by others) aside, there is the elephant in the room. Inhabitants of the corporate world, small business (including startups), and the public sector are all fond of rolling their eyes — with a bit of envy mixed in — at the other sectors’ working culture. 

During my time at a major consulting firm, my employer and my clients were mainly in the corporate sector. These days, as an independent consultant, I work with institutions of all 3 kinds. I think there are characteristics, by which I mean frequent but not universal, strengths and weaknesses of each. But I think there’s no clear winner in terms of overall effectiveness (or personal warm-and-fuzziness), however one could define or measure it.

 

Read the full article, Who’s “better”​ to work for? Corporate world, small business, or public sector?”, on LinkedIn.

 

Paul Millerd shares greetings from Taipei and his thoughts about shorter workweeks, including recent news from Microsoft Japan where they implemented a four-day week and saw productivity jump 40 percent.

Three years ago I was an office worker in New York City, working in a prestigious job making more money than I ever imagined (some of my peers in New York had much different standards!) yet a storm was brewing inside and one that had been totally invisible to many who knew me my entire life

As I got better at my job and better in navigating the corporate world, I struggled to find a deeper reason for why I was there. Early in my career I was learning a lot, but over time it seemed that no one really cared about learning at all. Working on your career narrative, pleasing executives and making money seemed to be the only thing people worked on. Not the kind of learning I was excited by.

This led to a creeping nihilism which I only clearly see now. I’m really just going to make PowerPoint slides and work 48 weeks of every year?

 

Points covered in the article include:

-My weird life and living the dream

-Shorter work week: A real trend in 2020

-The happiness ruse

-A poem by Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

 

Read the full article, My Weird Life & Shorter Workweek Zeitgeist, on Paul’s website.