I have written a series of recent blogs on how to build a consulting career. I started out with How to Create Job by Creating a Consulting Career followed by How to Build a Consulting Career and recently More on Building a Consulting Career.
Here are some tips on building a consultant career.
One of the challenges with consulting is that many people say the practice is not scalable for single individuals or a limitation on capacity and growth. A consultant is always time challenged between chasing new projects which upon completion stop generally income and the perpetual chase for the Yankee dollar.
To augment my resources I have always used paid interns. I have done it for years. First it was my kids and then a variety of college students. There have been many graduates of Blank and Associates. What works best for me is students who live in close proximity to me and students who are studying marketing, public relations or advertising because that is in business I am in.
It’s a win win situation. Students who recently graduated from college face the chicken or egg shuffle of “you have no experience.” Working for me provides them with relevant experience and after a time they move on and get hired which is great for everyone. I can also help them get a job by providing a working reference.
I basically try to assign as many task projects to them to save me time. For example I write all of my own content but my interns help me by posting my blog in the discussions section of the fifty LinkedIn groups I belong to. I would be less inclined to spend the time to do that. The more I distribute my content the more feedback I receive.
Why do something yourself that you can have a student do for you at $12 an hour? I am trying to make much more than that.
I find that students are also very social media and technology savvy which helps a lot. They have helped me in many ways. Everything from syncing my phone and iPad to loading apps on my devices to educating me on new technology to PowerPoint presentations.
I love it when they come to me and ask, “Have you ever thought of doing it this way?” I generally change the way I do things because they may have a better idea. The learning is both up and down.
The other way is that I increase my scalability is because of my network. One of the benefits of networking is that it saves you time and makes you more productive. People think that is counter intuitive. It takes time to get there and back, listen to the speaker etc. They think that time would be better spent doing other things.
My network is so broad that I rarely have to research something and when I do I go to Jane Bayer at Factfinders who can find anything. I don’t go to Google, I go to people. I know people who have told me who to use celebrity talent, social media experts in all areas of expertise, proof readers, printers galore, and trade show suppliers. Whatever it takes I can generally find quickly and efficiently. There is a big difference in consulting betwen telling your client you are working on something versus having the answer. So how broad are your resources?
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