Archive for the ‘Consulting’ Category

Who you calling an expert?

Who you calling an expert? Becoming a small business or independent consultant may seem out of reach to some of you because you just don’t think you’re enough of an expert to be a consultant.

Let me tell you right now that becoming an expert is not as complicated as it sounds. When you’re a consultant, you are offering your clients something of value–your expertise. But expertise doesn’t have to mean that you are the world’s foremost expert in your field. No, expertise just means that you have more insights than your client does on your given area of expertise.

For example, you may be a home staging consultant. Now, you may never be called on to provide staging services for Oprah, but you do know something about home staging, right? You’re passionate about home staging, you’re up on all the trends and you’ve even taking courses on the subject. And if your client is a color-blind bachelor who doesn’t know the difference between orange shag and a neutral berber carpet, then you are by all means a total expert in this situation. So don’t feel intimidated by the fact that you may not be a home staging guru to the stars. Rest assured that you can be an expert and provide value to your clients.

In order to build your confidence and really feel like an expert, there are numerous things you can do to jumpstart your expert status, from teaching a course, having an article published in an industry magazine, or providing services to a high-profile client in your community.

Whether you’re dreaming of consulting or are already running a business of your own, you probably know that gaining expert status can help you with building client relationships. That’s why we offer Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status when you sign up for our newsletter.

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Giving power to the entrepreneur within

Giving power to the entrepreneur within is something that many of us think about but few of us take action on. Whether it’s financial responsibilities, healthcare, our children, or one of the many other responsibilities that we face, sometimes the entrepreneur within gets snuffed out.

There are many benefits to having a regular 9 to 5 job, which can make it difficult to leave the safe-zone of being employed by someone else. However, there are also benefits to unleashing your inner entrepreneur, including making a killer hourly rate and having the flexibility to live life on your own schedule.

That being said, don’t give power to your entrepreneur within without taking the necessary steps to minimize your risk. Some of these steps may include securing a business line of credit before you leave your regular job, putting a substantial amount of savings aside to act as your buffer zone, doing plenty of research on your industry and connecting with successful people who are living the life that you want. Perhaps even consider seeking out a mentor who can guide you along your journey to giving power to the entrepreneur within.

Whether you’re interested in becoming a small business consultant, becoming an independent consultant, or starting a new career that is uniquely yours, take action today by getting serious about planning for your future. Where do you want to be in five years and how are you going to get there?

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Looking for a career change

Looking for a career change? Stop scanning the classified ads and start considering whether you’ve looked in all the right places for your career change. Have you considered creating your own career? Have you considered becoming a consultant? When looking for a career change, many skilled employees don’t stop to consider whether consulting could be the lucrative, exciting career they’ve been looking for.

If you’re looking for a career change now is  the perfect time to start thinking out of the box. What do you really want out of your career? What do you value? Perhaps working full-time outside the home works for you and your value system. But for many people, working as a consultant satisfies many unfulfilled opportunities, such as work/life balance.

When looking for a career change, it’s important to understand what you like about your current position and what you would change about your current career. If you’re looking for more excitement, more flexibility and more satisfaction, consulting may be for you.

Looking for a career change? Don’t take that next job until you’ve fully considered what’s important to you.

Think consulting might be what you’re looking for but not sure where to start? Consider checking out the Consultant Journal store, which includes links to products that help you determine which type of consulting business to start (for everybody or for moms in particular), how to set your consulting fees, and an online course that helps you jumpstart your consulting career.

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Have the confidence to see yourself as an expert

Have the confidence to see yourself as an expert. When thinking about whether to become an independent consultant, you may wonder whether you can really bill yourself as an expert.

Don’t get bogged down in the concept of being the absolutely best. Understand that there will always be someone who knows more than you about your industry. But you certainly know more than most people, and that’s what your clients value about you–to your clients, you are an expert. Have the confidence to see yourself as an expert.

For example, as a jury consultant, you know more about jury behaviour than almost all of the population. True, there may be a superstar jury consultant who has more experience than you, but you know a lot. Be confident and focus on what you do know.

The key is to have the confidence to see yourself as an expert by building your expert status in concrete ways. Wondering how? Subscribe to Consultant Journal’s newsletter and receive Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status when you sign up.

Above all, you’ve got to have the confidence to see yourself as an expert. Have confidence in yourself and your clients will too.  Are you confident enough to consult?

Your confidence will grow over time. Give your confidence a boost and start building your expert status now.

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Starting a consulting firm

Starting a consulting firm can become a reality. Have you always dreamed of starting a consulting firm? Stop dreaming and start planning. Soon enough you too can start a consulting company.

Starting a consulting firm can be broken down into a few key steps:

1. Choose your niche

Starting a consulting firm begins with a niche. What type of consultant will you be?

2. Choose your clients

The more specific your client base is the easier it will be to market your services. Choose your clients.

3. Set up your office

Whether you’re starting a consulting firm that’s home-based or out in the public eye, you’ll want a clear, clean place to work. Set up your office.

4. Start marketing

Starting a consulting firm means getting your name out there. Understand your market and start marketing your services. Want to know the secret to marketing your consulting company? It’s all about relationships.

5. Start consulting

Once you’ve landed your first client, do your best work. Pull out all the stops, because your existing and past clients are your number one priority. They will give you referrals and they could end up coming back to you again and again. Start consulting!

Starting a consulting firm can become a reality. Whether you’re planning on jumping in with two feet starting a consulting firm from scratch or whether you’d like to start slow and keep your day job, it can be done.

Are you looking for mentorship to help you get started? Consider registering for the Become a Consultant: How to Make the Leap course. With audio and written lessons, 25 exercises, discussion forums and more, you’ll have mentorship in your journey to consulting.

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Become an independent consultant

Become an independent consultant – Think being an independent consultant is just a pipe dream? Think twice. You can become an independent consultant. Yes, even you.

Here at Consultant Journal, we have over 800 free articles that explain every aspect of how to become an independent consultant, from choosing a consulting specialty and setting consulting fees to marketing your business.

Become an independent consultant in seven steps:

1. Do your research

In order to become an independent consultant you’ve got to do your research. What is a consultant? How do consultants make money? What are the risks of being a consultant? What are the benefits? Learn the ins and outs of becoming a consultant by reading, researching and meeting working consultants.

2. Get your financial house in order

Becoming an independent consultant may mean giving up a steady paycheck, and many consultants go through the feast or famine cycle. Get your finances in order before becoming a consultant. Amass a minimum cushion of savings, get your debts in order, get a business credit card for operating costs, open up a business bank account and consider applying for a low-interest line of credit. These financial products are easier to obtain before you make the leap to consulting so, if possible, plan before you leap.

3. Choose a consulting specialty

Independent consultants are experts who sell their knowledge. Experts are specialists in a very focused niche. Check out this list of ideas or cut to the chase and purchase the Discover Your Inner Consultant guidebook.

4. Understand the value that you provide to clients

When you become an independent consultant you are providing crucial advice and services that will invariably help your clients improve their interests. In order to become a financially successful independent consultant you must understand what you’re selling.

5. Set your consulting rates

After you become an independent consultant you will quickly learn that there is nothing more important than how you set your rates. Further details on how to set your rates are here or, for the full discussion, purchase our guidebook: Consulting Fees: A Guide for Independent Consultants.

6. Build your expert status

As a consultant, you’re billing yourself as an expert. Subscribe to Consultant Journal’s newsletter and receive Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status when you sign up.

7. Make the leap to consulting

Be it full-time or part-time, you are ready to become an independent consultant!

Still wondering how to truly become an independent consultant? In addition to the over 800 free articles here on Consultant Journal, we offer a few products to help you when ready to seriously take the leap.

Course and mentorship package:

Become a Consultant: How to Make the Leap - With audio and written lessons, 25 exercises, discussion forums and more, you’ll have mentorship in your journey to consulting.

Guidebooks for independent learners:

Discover Your Inner Consultant: A Guide for Discovering What Consulting Business You Could Start – You’ve started thinking about becoming a consultant. Maybe you’ve mulled over a few ideas or maybe you’re stumped. But how do you choose a consulting business? How do you figure out what business would work best for you?

Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur For Moms: A Guide for Discovering What Business You Could Start – Are you looking at combining kids and career? Maybe you’ve heard about moms who have their own businesses and you’re wondering if it would work for you. But how do you know if starting a business would work for you? How do you make sense of all the opportunities out there and find one that works for you?

Consulting Fees: A Guide for Independent Consultants – Learn a system for setting consulting fees and maximize your earning potential. Set your rate and ask for it with confidence.

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Authentic Consulting – bringing authenticity to consultancy

Authentic consulting is a hot topic — the following guest post takes a look at what it means for a consultant to practice with authenticity. See our sidebar for details on becoming an independent consultant.

Contemporary business literature is replete with the advantages associated with authentic leadership. Conventional wisdom posits that authentic leaders are better able to inspire and consequently influence their staff. If we take the research and conventional wisdom at face value, we must explore and determine a definition of authenticity.Kathleen Ryan and Geoffrey Bellman, co-authors of Extraordinary Groups: How Ordinary Teams Achieve Amazing Results, have a great definition of authenticity in consultant work.  I will incorporate his stance in an attempt to answer the question: How is authenticity demonstrated as a consultant? According to Ryan and Bellman:

“Authenticity is the difference between being and playing.”
 
When consultants are being themselves, they are in essence being authentic. To add to Ryan and Bellman’s insights, I would argue that authenticity is the opposite of impression management. Hence, consultants must demonstrate four key attributes to demonstrate authenticity on the job.
 
Passion over Pride
The first characteristic of an authentic consultant is the ability to ensure that passion is greater than pride. According to Ryan and Bellman, doing and living your purpose allows an individual to become his or herself. In order to pursue a purposeful life, one must possess passion; as the road is often riddled with obstacles that are not suited for the faint of heart. Some will agree that a person’s purpose is the reason for their existence. This would be similar to an organizations vision and mission statement. Therefore it is essential that consultants place more importance on the ability to pursue their purpose of helping other than being prideful of what they know.
 
Managing Fear
In addition to the focus on passion, consultants must be able to manage fear. In both my academic and professional careers, I learned that individuals are driven by two forces: fear and desire. Ryan and Bellman alludes to the overwhelming power of fear and suggests that it leads to unnecessary questions, which can reduce work performance. Fear is a natural emotion and we should not ignore it, but consultants need to learn how to acknowledge and embrace fear in order to help facilitate more productive behavior in the workplace.
 
Using Emotions to Produce Behavior
Advocates of Emotional Intelligence (EI) will assert the third level of EI is the ability to use emotions to motivate productive behavior. In lieu of that paradigm, authentic consultants must be aware of their fears and then seek resources to better understand their qualms that they can channel the energy to better serve the client. For example, if I’m afraid that a client does not like my proposal, instead of being defensive or attempting to convolute future conversations, I should address my concerns with the client to glean more insight into their evaluations.
 
A related factor of managing fears and EI is the basic construct: to know thyself. It sounds relatively simple on the surface, but it is extremely germane to the authenticity of consultants. Individuals that are in the business of helping others must be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and the potential ability to help a client. For example, as a consultant, I may be very versed about topics related to EI and how it can help in the classroom, but I may not be a great resource for to teach a sales force how to utilize EI to increase sales. As a result, authentic consultants must know their abilities and be brutally honest to their potential clients regarding how they may serve their needs.
 
Seeking Win-Win Partnerships
Finally, authentic consultants seek win-win partnerships and question whether this will be a symbiotic relationship. If you are only able to take from the client and not return something of equal or greater value, then you are not truly being authentic. Organizational Development consultants, in particular, exclaim the need to check in periodically with the client to ensure that value is recognized. It is important not to wait until the end of the relationship, but to continuously follow up with your employer, as there may be opportunities to leverage feedback. Careers in consulting are all about helping the client utilize internal and external resources to solve problems with the long-term intentions that the client will not need related help. 
 
About the Author: Antar Salim, MBA serves as a coordinator for Rasmussen College’s School of Business, at the Eagan, MN college campus; where he teaches business degree-seeking students. He has a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in Management from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.

Related to Authentic Consulting

Discover Your Inner Consultant

Tips for new consultants

Tips for new consultants are invaluable. I’ve taken some time to round up some of my best tips for new consultants:

Getting started

When you’re getting started, there’s a lot to consider. How much money will you need to get started? Is consulting viable in your industry? Will you need to become certified? What about business cards? What about health insurance for the self-employed?  And should you be charging taxes? For more details, check out the becoming a consultant FAQ.

Choosing your niche

One of the best tips for new consultants is to get specific about what you can offer your clients. Here at Consultant Journal I’ve written over 800 tips for new consultants, and I’ve covered dozens of ideas for becoming a consultant, including:

  1. Become a home staging consultant
  2. Become a mortgage consultant
  3. Become a clutter consultant
  4. Become a skin care consultant
  5. Become a legal nurse consultant
  6. Become a philosophic consultant
  7. Become a sports nutrition consultant
  8. Become a sales consultant
  9. Become a grant writing consultant
  10. Become a prenatal and postnatal fitness consultant
  11. Become a restaurant consultant
  12. Become an information technology (IT) consultant
  13. Become a Tupperware consultant
  14. Become an Avon consultant
  15. Become an online business backup consultant
  16. Become a social media consultant
  17. Become a Mary Kay cosmetic consultant
  18. Become a marketing consultant
  19. Become an online researcher
  20. Become a personal chef
  21. Become a weight loss consultant
  22. Become an art consultant
  23. Become a copywriting consultant
  24. Become a fitness consultant
  25. Become a wedding consultant
  26. Become a graphic design consultant
  27. Become a life coach consultant
  28. Become a CHRP consultant
  29. Become an HR consultant
  30. Become an image consultant
  31. Become an environmental consultant
  32. Become a tax consultant
  33. Become a financial consultant
  34. Become a management consultant

I’ve also put together a comprehensive guide to help you Discover Your Inner Consultant: A Guide for Discovering What Consulting Business You Could Start.

Setting rates

Not sure what your consulting rate should be? Having a thorough understanding of what you need to charge as a consultant can mean the difference between just paying the bills and making an amazing living. Understanding consulting rates is key.

For all the inside scoop, take a look at Consulting Fees: A Guide for Independent Consultants.

Marketing your business

I’ve written a lot about how to market your business and how to land new clients. Take a look at my five-part series, Finding New Clients.

Managing your clients

Once you’ve become a busy consultant, you may find yourself having to manage a wide variety of clients. And, yes, sometimes you’ll even be turning away work.

Work-life balance

And don’t forget the reasons you became a consultant in the first-place. Take care of yourself and your family, and make sure your work-life balance is appropriate for you.

These are just a few tips for new consultants. Good luck on your journey!

 

I want to be a consultant

"I want to be a consultant…" Ah yes, those six powerful words. They’ve been known to change lives; they sure changed mine.

Just like attaining any other goal in life, it’s the desire to do something that starts a ball rolling. Once you’ve identified what it is that you want, your dreams suddenly become more attainable. You can see a path from that phrase, "I want to be a consultant," all the way to becoming a consultant.

Once you’ve decided that you want to be a consultant, then you can stop wondering and waiting. You can start planning on attaining your goal.

Are you thinking of becoming a consultant? Are the words "I want to be a consultant" keeping you up at night or getting you through a bad day at work?  Well, don’t spend another day wondering.

You don’t have to give up on your day job if you’re not ready to jump in overnight. Why not consider becoming a consultant as a sidejob? Or consider investing in the "Discover Your Inner Consultant" guide.

The next time you hear those words tickling your ears, listen. "I want to be a consultant."

Do you want to be a consultant? Think about it. Do something about it. Get started today. What have you got to lose?

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What is a consultant?

What is a consultant? The idea of consulting can be confusing. Sure, you’ve met a few "consultants," but, in actuality, what is a consultant? What does it mean to be a consultant? And, better yet, how can you become a consultant?

What is a consultant?

Consultants are independent contractors who are paid hourly, per day, or per project. But rather than get bogged down in figuring out who is and who is not a consultant, let’s talk about how you could become a consultant.

When you think of consultants, you may think of seasoned PhDs billing hundreds of dollars per hour. Yes, there are many consultants who fall into this group. However, what you may not know is that there are thousands of consultants who are just regular people — some of them may even be stay-at-home parents, artists or other people you might not see as "suits".

Remember, in order to become a consultant, you don’t have to be the world’s foremost expert; you simply need to know more than your client knows. That way, you’re offering your client your expertise and knowledge, which he or she compensates you for in the form of a high hourly rate.

Now that you know the answer to the question, "What is a consultant," perhaps you are Interested in becoming a consultant yourself–even as a side job to pay off debt, to build your resume, or just to have more disposable income.

Who knows. Perhaps the next time someone asks, "What is a consultant?" you can answer, "Good question. Seeing as how I am a consultant myself, let me explain it to you."

Need help determining the most lucrative and successful ways to start a consulting business? Consider the Discover Your Inner Consultant course. Or just want to find out how much consultants make? Dive into Consulting Fees.

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