Should You Be a Consultant?
4. Always sell when you’re busiest. Many freelancers, consultants and people in business can get so crazed with work that they don’t take time out to sell their services. Then suddenly, one day, all the projects are completed and nothing’s in the hopper. Often, it takes a while to land assignments and contracts—a fairly long sales cycle. With nothing on the docket, you can go for weeks without work (and without a paycheck).
5. Keep looking for new opportunities within your existing client base. Whenever I began working with a client and began to understand the business, I’d invariably see something more that needed doing. If I was hired to write a direct mail magazine subscription effort, it made sense for me to write the billing series and the renewal series. After all, the subscriber came in because it was my voice doing the persuading. It should be my voice asking for money and doing the renewals. The name of the game is to make your clients dependent on you by continually finding ways to help them to be more efficient and profitable.
If I knew in 1960 what I know now, I certainly would have moonlighted. This would have given me a client base and a chance to learn about other businesses, which would have broadened my knowledge and experience far beyond the insular world of a single company. If I had been fired from or quit my regular job (which happened a lot in those days), I would still have been working and deriving some income from my outside client base. And very possibly through the contacts I had made while moonlighting I would have found full-time jobs a lot more quickly.
In short, I would’ve moved farther along financially and professionally had I not listened to my bosses. I’m a much better consultant than a corporate employee, and would have found that out about myself a lot earlier in my career.