Connecting with new clients – Part 5

As you have discovered from this series, there are countless ways to connect with new clients. You will find the methods that work best for you, but don’t be shy about trying something different.

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Connecting with new clients – Part 4

Depending on your business, an online presence can help you connect with new clients. The Internet can provide you with a wealth of advertising/marketing options. Depending on what type of consulting service you are offering, you should consider one or more of the following…

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Connecting with new clients – Part 3

Though it’s a classic way of connecting with new clients, the tactic of handing out your business cards is still relevant in today’s technological age.

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Connecting with new clients – Part 2

Don’t miss an opportunity to make a name for yourself. Get yourself out there and introduce yourself.

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How to become a consultant and succeed

Wondering how to become a consultant and succeed? It starts with focus and confidence – and you may find that figuring out your path helps with the latter.

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Finding ways to connect with new clients – Part 1

Finding new clients – read on for tips. In the next few weeks you can look forward to another series of articles on finding new clients for your consulting business. I will cover traditional approaches as well as not-so-traditional. Some of these ideas will be familiar to you. But I hope you also learn some new techniques that will help you build your client base and increase your business.

Before you decide on any approach, you need to identify your target market. Who do you picture as a prospective client? Age, sex and level of education are examples of questions you need to ask yourself. Will your clients be individuals or small businesses? Ask questions specific to your type of business.

So, create an ideal client profile – it will be an invaluable tool for finding new customers. Knowing your target market is a must-do before you start promoting your consulting business.

So get ready for a wealth of tips and tricks to help you connect with new clients!

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Making the transition

So you’re working for somebody else but you dream of becoming a full-time self-employed consultant. The good news is: you don’t have to up and quit your current job! A great way to achieve your goal is to start consulting part-time.

Why should you do this?

  • Finances – your current job is your ‘safety net.’ Staying in your existing job enables you to build your consulting client base at your own pace and without financial worries.
  • Experience – consulting part-time while you continue to work provides you with valuable hands-on experience. You may also realize you need to gain more knowledge through courses or classes. During this time you can start networking and perhaps even find a mentor. Everything you learn now will prepare you for the day you want to move into full-time consulting.
  • Enjoyment – working as a part-time consultant gives you the time you need: you can focus on your goal and discover just how rewarding being a consultant can be!

Other aspects to consider:

  • Prepare for longer hours – most likely you’ll be working some evenings and weekends. Make sure you find a good balance and pace yourself accordingly.
  • It takes time – you won’t have one hundred clients lined up when you start your consulting business (if you do, then congratulations!). As your experience grows, your client base will increase, too, and before you know it, you’ll be able to start consulting full-time!
  • And never forget…

    • Keep your dream alive! Focus on what you need to do to make it work. Stay positive. Increase your knowledge. Challenge yourself. And never lose sight of your goal of becoming a full-time self-employed consultant.

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    What are you good at?

    You think you want to become a consultant, but you’re not sure what direction to take. A good starting-point is to do a personal inventory for yourself. This involves taking stock of your unique skills, attributes and experiences. (Refer to Discover Your Inner Consultant for help in carrying out an inventory.) You probably have a good idea of your skills and abilities, both personally and professionally.

    But you may not know it all – you are only looking at yourself from your point of view. Other people in your life, especially those you live or work closely with, may have a better idea of your talents than you do.

    Six tips for self discovery

    1. Ask your friends and family:  What do they think your best skills and abilities are? You might be surprised at what you hear.
    2. Listen to compliments: Really listen; don’t automatically disregard them. What are people telling you? Try taking notes, even if it just means jotting things down in a diary or Word doc.
    3. List ‘easy’ tasks: The tasks you find easy are a good indicator of where your strengths lie. Can you build on these?
    4. Notice your feelings: What do you really enjoy doing? What would you love to learn? Make a list of what challenges you and what bores you. Notice any patterns?
    5. Ask your boss and co-workers: Those who work with you should have a good grasp of your strengths and weaknesses.
    6. Ask your teachers and classmates: Here is a group of people that you’ve likely spent years with; who better to ask what qualities they noticed and admired about you?

    Don’t be shy; only by asking directly will you discover your potential in becoming a consultant. Listen to what people are telling you – they are a valuable resource that you should not overlook.

     

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    3 surprising ways to increase your work productivity

    Like other professionals, consultants can suffer from boredom or stress or isolation. Often your productivity declines as a result, which can lead to frustration or apathy. Does this sound like you?

    Via Elephant Magazine, here are 3 surprising things that will increase your work productivity:

    1. Take your work to a cafe.
    2. Take your dog to work.
    3. Slow down!

    For consultants who work from home, Tip #1 is great advice. Getting out of the house and into a stimulating environment can work wonders if you’re stuck in a rut or feeling lonely.

    As for bringing your dog to work, well if it’s allowed, why not? According to the article, the presence of a dog can reduce office stress and also relax clients.

    Tip #3, slowing down, means adding quality time to your life. Exercise more. Sleep more. Eat well.

    As you can see, it doesn’t take much to shake things up. It’s so important to keep your mind and body in tune, both mentally and physically. If you do, you will definitely see an improvement in your work productivity.

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    Leave a paper trail!

    How many times have you had to reference something and not been able to find what you’re looking for? How about the phone number of a prospect you met yesterday in the coffee shop? Exactly what did you tell your client on the phone two weeks ago?

    There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find what you need… right now. Your consulting business will operate far more smoothly if you record and save vital information.

    • Filing system: This is the most obvious and the most important. Filing makes work so much easier, so make it a point to keep your files organized and up-to-date.
    • Telephone calls: Jot down the name and date of every client and potential client that you speak to. Also note the purpose of the call. File them accordingly.
    • Notes: Use a good old-fashioned notepad or use your smart-phone (note-taking apps are available). Take notes either during client interviews/discussions or soon afterwards while the information is still fresh in your mind.
    • Email: You can use your email to create a paper trail. Create folders to save important messages, including messages that you have sent. Keep your inbox clean so you’re not scrolling through 100 messages to find the one you need.
    • Computer: Again, create folders and sub-folders to save important documents. And remember: back-up your files regularly.

    Leaving a paper trail will save you much time and hassle in the future. Clients aside, staying organized will also make tax time (or audit time) a less stressful experience. And while keeping accurate records is important, you should also get rid of unimportant clutter. Eliminating unnecessary documents and files will also save you time and effort when it comes to finding needed information.

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