For all the tips on how to become a consultant, there’s nothing,quite like a story from someone who’s actually made the leap. Dan Lockton has a field report from his recent time in the trenches as a consultant in industrial design.
In his report, he notes a key reason that many clients turn to an independent consultant, as opposed to a bigger consultancy:
Unless the client genuinely thinks you are wonderful, or are likely to come up with stunning insights or innovation which someone else wouldn’t, the reason is probably because you’re cheap, or the client thinks you’ll be cheap.
That’s often true. Clients often assume independents will charge lower consulting fees because they have lower overhead. No admin staff, fancy office equipment, corner offices or the like. However, if you aim to carve out a niche, you can push clients to hire you because they think you’re wonderful. And then you can command market prices. Still, if you haven’t niche-marketed yourself, you may see clients come to you in search of lower fees. Then again, if you’re happy with what you’re charging and the client is happy to pay, everybody’s happy.