Podcast

Episode: 121 |
Will Bachman:
Build a Portfolio:
Episode
121

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Will Bachman

Build a Portfolio

Show Notes

You probably wouldn’t hire a graphic designer or a wedding photographer without looking at their portfolio.

Independent consultants ought to have a portfolio as well – samples of sanitized work you can share with potential clients.

I’ve found that many independent consultants do NOT have a portfolio, however, and here are some thoughts on how to create one.

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Will Bachman 00:02
Welcome to Unleashed. I’m your host Will Bachman, would you hire a graphic designer who doesn’t have a portfolio? How about a wedding photographer? Of course not, you want to see a sample of their work. In the same way clients of consulting services would like to see a sample of our work before engaging our support. Your background at a famous consulting firm, or referral from a mutual acquaintance may get you in the door and into the meeting. But when you’re asked to prove what you can deliver, it always helps to show rather than tell. And so that’s why I think that every consultant ought to prepare a portfolio of sanitized shareable work. Most independent consultants have not done this. So the good news for you is if you do take the effort to create a portfolio, you’ll have a significant advantage that separates you from the crowd. Writing white papers, articles, blog posts, and other forms of packaging, the written word are all great. And I encourage those things. That said, it’s powerful to have a sample of your work. So you can say during this project, here are some examples of materials that we’ll be using. And at the end of the project, you’ll get something that looks like this. Now, to create this portfolio, you could sanitize existing client work, or you can effectively commission yourself to do a project as if a client had hired you. And let me give some examples. Number one, let’s say you do commercial due diligence. So if you have a specialty in commercial due diligence of lower mid market, companies looking at for PE firms, let’s say where you often do external research to assess a market through interviews with customers, suppliers, industry players, and combined with secondary research. If you aren’t allowed to share any work that you’ve done for a real client, even if it’s heavily sanitized, then when you got a free day, pick a target company that interests you, and you want to learn about anyway. And research it just as you would do if you were on a paid project. And you create a process, you could also create a process document that shows your approach and documents that what do you do in weeks one, two, and three? What questions are in your basic interview guide? What are the six ways use the size of market and actually produce some pages of a deliverable as if you’re doing it for a real client? Number two, m&a strategy. So if you don’t have any sanitized work, you can share, pick a recently announced merger that you had nothing to do with maybe of some publicly held companies and create the m&a strategy deck that might have been presented by a consulting firm to the board of the acquiring company a year ago. So you know, pick some public companies with plenty of publicly available data to make your case. Number three, let’s say you do innovation work. So select an actual public, industrial old line company, and prepare the workshop document that you would use with the senior team for an innovation off site. And number for example, organizational structural assessment, select a real company that has just gone through a publicly announced reorganization. Perhaps it’s moving from a geographically paced based p&l to a global organization, structured by customer segment, or vice versa, create the document that recommended this switch, and maybe some of the change management materials that are probably being used. So, in short, it’s one thing to say that you have experience, it’s far more powerful if you can show it. If you found this episode helpful, I hope you’ll share it with one or two friends. And if you haven’t already, consider subscribing to the weekly Unleashed email which includes transcripts of each episode, book recommendations and consulting tips, and you can sign up@umbrex.com slash Unleashed. Thanks for listening

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