Consulting - Part 2

Archive for the ‘Consulting’ Category

Dreyfus model of skill acquisition

The Dreyfus model of skill acquisition is a helpful concept to understand when interested in building your expert status. The Dreyfus model was developed at the University of California during the 1980s, and this model of skill acquisition is still relevant today.

The basic premise of the Dreyfus model is that students progress through five stages of expert status in this specific order: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert.

In their paper, "A Five-Stage Model of the Mental Activities Involved in Directed Skill Acquisition," brothers SE Dreyfus and RL Dreyfus discuss each skill level in great detail. In short:

Novice – Dreyfus model of skill acquisition:

Novices adhere to specific rules. Novices do not think outside the box, nor do they exercise "discretionary judgment."

Advanced beginner – Dreyfus model of skill acquisition:

Advanced beginners take a more holistic approach to the project at hand than do novices, but advanced beginners have a limited understanding of the big picture.

Competent – Dreyfus model of skill acquisition:

Competency is achieved when you start deliberately planning your projects and when you have created routines and structures in your work.

Proficient – Dreyfus model of skill acquisition:

Proficiency is achieved when you can effectively prioritize different elements of your project. You know that you’ve reached proficiency when you truly grasp the whole of what you are trying to achieve.

Expert – Dreyfus model of skill acquisition:

In the words of the authors, experts possess an "intuitive grasp of situations based on deep, tacit understanding." Experts forego rules. Instead, they make decisions based on analytical approaches.

Are you interested in learning specific, actionable tips that will help you jumpstart your expert status from novice through to expert–just like in the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition? Get Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status for free when you subscribe to Consultant Journal’s newsletter.

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Consultant course – 5 great options for study

Taking consultant courses can be an effective way to jumpstart your career as a consultant. However, consultant courses aren’t always easy to find or aren’t necessarily in your area. Here are 5 great consulting course options for study that will help you launch into your next career as a consultant. Consider combining some of the below options for an even more effective method!

1. Self-study

Self-study can be a great way to get all the information that’s contained in a consultant course at your own pace. Self-study can be comprised of many different methods, including reading, researching, taking online consultant courses or speaking to active consultants directly.

2. Find or create a peer group (online or in person)

Do you know of any other individuals who are interested in taking consultant courses as well? Join together and share resources, motivation and insights. If you’re in an urban area, create your own starter consultant group. Ask around–both locally in your community and online. You’ll be surprised at how many like-minded people you may run into!

Your consultant course peer group can be in your own city or online.

3. Find a mentor

One of the surest ways to find success is to get to know someone who you admire and who has achieved the results that you hope to achieve. Speaking for an hour or two to a consultant in your niche can be its own consulting course! Mentors are valuable. Although busy, many potential mentors are happy to help out new consultants. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and connect with acting consultants in your area who specialize in your area of expertise.

4. Local courses

Consultant courses are not regular curriculum at universities or community colleges. However, you can inquire at your local business organizations regarding whether there are any consultant courses happening in your area.

5. Online courses

One of the most effective ways to become a consultant is to take an online consultant course, like Become a Consultant: How to Make the Leap, which contains a number of workbooks, audio, and a one-year subscription to the insider’s edge newsletter.

Hopefully you’ve found these 5 great options for consultant courses helpful. If you’re considering taking a consultant course that must mean that you are seriously considering this exciting life change. Why not take the next step re: consultant courses and take action on one of the items above?

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Incidentally, if you belong to a professional association, check with them to see if you can have your self study or online courses here approved for traditional and online CPD course credit.


Consulting expert manifesto

Are you interested in building your consulting expert status? Behold – the consulting expert manifesto:

1. Teach a course

If you want to fast-track your consulting expert status, arrange to teach a course in your niche. Sound scary? It doesn’t have to be. You can limit the enrollment and even charge low or free admission. An added bonus is that people who are likely to take your course are perfect prospects for your consulting services. Arrange to teach the course at an official sounding venue, such as at a university or in a prominent business park.

Adding the fact that you’ve taught such a course will give your bio a boost.

2. Write articles

Submitting articles to and having them published in trade or industry magazines–both print and online–can offer a quick upward jolt to your expert status. Being able to mention that you’ve been mentioned or written for a recognizable industry organization or publication will give your expert status an extra level of authority. In addition, having these articles published gets your message out to more prospects.

3. Perform radio and television interviews

Similar to writing articles, being interviewed or quoted on radio or television offers extra wow value to your online bio and resume. You may be surprised. Local radio stations are always looking for guests to feature, interview and call upon for commentary.

4. Understand the meaning of "expert"

Do you have the confidence to see yourself as an expert? One of the best ways to project your expert status is if you truly believe that you are an expert in your field. Don’t feel like an expert? Educate yourself! Subscribe to industry magazines, take courses, or join industry associations. Do whatever it takes to educate yourself in your field.

And, remember, in order to be an expert you don’t have to be the world’s foremost guru in your niche. No, you’re an expert to your clients as long as you know more than they do and are proficient in helping your clients achieve their goals or solve problems in effective ways.

5. Get more resources to jumpstart your expert status

Looking for more consulting expert manifesto tips? Give your expert status a leg up. Receive your free report now — get  Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status here.

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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?

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