The growing gig economy is fundamentally changing the workforce, giving workers the flexibility to choose their own working hours and work outside the office environment. By 2025, most of the workforce will be part of the labor economy, working as consultants, contractors, temporary employees, or freelancers, according to Randstad’s Workplace 2025 study.
However, getting into the gig economy can be more complicated than some people think. “Do not let the fear of failure hold you, hostage,” Elaine Biech, author of The New Consulting Business, said: The Starts and beyond, in the newsletter. Try to reformulate your fear. Tell yourself that you are doing what is right for you, that it is exciting and progressive. You will be more successful by moving instead of stagnation. So discover something you can do every day to get closer to your dream.
Consultation work can be particularly lucrative for technology experts. Biech offers the following 15 tips to become a business consultant in today’s economy:
- Don’t trust myths about consulting: Many people assume that consultants can make a lot of money immediately, and it will have more free time and will avoid office politics. These assumptions are not always correct, Biech said, So try to get rid of the assumptions before you start working.
- Keep in mind that working alone can be difficult for some people: Biech recommends meeting other consultants or having regular lunches with friends to fight loneliness.
- You cannot rely on your area of expertise to succeed as a consultant: Just because you have learned in your field does not mean you will be an active consultant, Biech said. Consultants also need to know how to run a business and be an entrepreneur.
- Before committing to becoming a full-time consultant, take a test drive first. If you are not ready to immerse yourself in direct consultation, keep your job full-time and set aside the consultation.
- Don’t bypass the planning process: Start a consulting business with a solid plan, including business, marketing, and financial plans. Otherwise, the business will fail.
- Don’t lower your rates too much: Never underestimate yourself, Biech said. Think about the number needed to have a comfortable salary and cover the company’s expenses, and stick to that number.
- Hire an accountant that best suits your support team: It should be one of the first steps a consultant should take, Biech said. An accountant is required to provide advice on business decisions.
- Begin a testimonial file without delay: Collect customer testimonials and save them in an archive. These could be useful for brochures or proposals in the future.
- Go for the big fish. You’ll spend maximum time for baiting the hook: “When I first started, I decided to focus on medium and large businesses,” Biech said. This is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Large companies conduct extensive training and consulting purchases within a year and may be more willing to take risks for new consultants.
- Find a way to market yourself on a low budget: You do not need a massive amount of money to market yourself as a consultant. Start small, whether it’s blogging, writing articles for an industry magazine, sending out vacation lists, or conducting a survey, as these are usually simple and cost-effective marketing methods.
- Plan the worst situation, but behave as if you are experiencing the best case: Not only maintain your conviction that you will succeed but prepare for obstacles along the way.
- Do as much as you can to win a repeat business: Target to achieve 50% to 75% of annual revenue from previous year’s clients. Consultants want to have a substantial client base that will continue to return.
- Always try to create a client’s independence: Consultants do not try to make customers dependent on them, but rather, try to ensure they get the best possible return on their investment.
- Do not reduce your price because a client does not have a sufficiently large budget: It’s a quick way for a consultant to get a bad reputation. Respect the rate you initially indicated, otherwise you may appear unethical or unfair to other clients.
- Put quality and your client first and foremost, including profitability: The work may come to an end, but the relationship doesn’t end. Always take care to provide quality service and maintain an excellent reputation for your career.