So, you’re on your own…now what? As we have mentioned in the previous blogs, becoming an independent consultant really is a journey. Business may fluctuate and things may not always go according to plan, however the good news is that you are in control. The key to your success is how you chose to pave your own path, staying true to yourself and always learning and growing.
In part II, we talked about tips, tricks and best practices when beginning your journey as an independent consultant. For our last blog in this series, we will be discussing several ways to stay committed and successful after making the leap.
Refine Your Offerings
We all know the saying, “less is more.” One of the most common mistakes people make when becoming an independent consultant is not being realistic about how much they can take on and not refining their offerings. This is especially important in the beginning when building a client base and getting your name out there as it can be easy to fall into this trap. While it’s not a bad thing to have multiple offerings or areas of expertise, be sure that they are aligned with what you want to be known for and where you really thrive. When starting out, it’s important to evaluate each new opportunity you come across. Without setting these boundaries, you may not only be spreading yourself too thin, but your overall brand and reputation may become confusing to others. Being clear about what and how much you take on (both for yourself and others) will not only allow you to be successful in what you do but allow you to also enjoy what you’re doing. After all, isn’t that why you made the leap in the first place?
Continue Professional and Personal Development
If you were working in house before going on your own (or anytime really), then you likely will use similar skills, business and personal, as you would on your own. However, this time you are the one calling all the shots. Think about a product or service you use and why you continue purchasing the same brands. What do they do to stand out among others? Now, what does that look like for your business?
Business development is critical and an ongoing priority to continue refining in order to ensure you continue on a successful path and grow as an independent consultant. For example, whether it’s an ongoing engagement or a brand-new opportunity, get clear about your expectations of yourself, your clients and anything relevant to the work you’re doing. This will not only help others have a solid understanding of what to expect from one another, but it gives you a chance to be honest with yourself about what you will and won’t put up with. Another important factor is staying on top of new trends. Be strict with yourself about developing a growth mindset and take the opportunity to continue learning any chance you get. You may be an expert at your craft, but things will always be changing that may require you to shift and evolve. Strike a balance between your commitments and continuing to develop yourself from a business and personal perspective.
Like anything you do for the first time, things won’t always be easy. Making this leap will likely be in that category and this is another reason why many people sometimes fear this change. This being true, remind yourself why you started your own business in the first place and stay true to who you are. Take advantage of slower times or whenever you’re feeling stuck or unsure instead of giving in to fear of failure. Set goals for yourself, even if they are small and be realistic about what you hope to achieve. Compare the risk and reward involved with decisions and situations and how they may play out. Along with this, don’t spread yourself too thin by saying yes to every opportunity that arises, and also don’t say yes simply for the money if it is not aligned with your values or what you built your business around. Stay grounded in your decisions and always remind yourself of your ‘why’ and the rest will follow.
Tips to Ensure You’re Staying Committed
• Intentionally pause before saying yes to an engagement to ensure it’s aligned with the work you want to be doing.
• Ask for feedback from clients, peers, friends and/or family often.
• Set new goals every so often to motivate yourself and keep you focused.
• Take the time to check in with yourself on a regular basis and make any adjustments that may not be serving you anymore.
• Celebrate your wins!
You Got This!
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve already taken a positive step in the right direction. As mentioned before, this is your journey; you are in control, and it is up to you how things fall into place. By taking the time to understand yourself a little better, what you need to consider before getting started, following tips and tricks to stay successful and putting in the work after you are established, you will set yourself up for success. And remember, it’s perfectly okay to take a break when you need one. In fact, that’s very important to pay attention to.
We’ll leave you with a quote by W. Clement Stone: “Success is achieved and maintained by those who try, and keep trying, for there is nothing to lose by trying and a great deal to gain if successful.”
This is a big step, but you got this!
At Gig Talent, our goal is to support those stepping out of their comfort zone and making the leap to independent consulting. We act as your sales and marketing division to take out the uncertainty of running business on your own and prioritize community, so you feel fully supported to do the work you know and love. If you’re interested in becoming a GigTalent Certified Consultant and/or if you know of any amazing HR Consultants and Coaches, we’re always looking to expand our collective. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.