How to Become a Consultant (596 words)
Here's some of my own advice:
3. Always sell when you are busiest. Many freelancers get so crazed with work that they do not take time to sell their services. Then suddenly one day all the projects are completed and nothing is in the hopper. A freelancer or consultant with nothing on the docket can go for weeks without work (and without a paycheck).
So what do I say to people these days about fireproofing themselves? Moonlight. Build a client base. Follow Teufel's two rules and my third one. What do I tell people contemplating going on their own? You need the following three qualities: You have to be good at what you do (which includes selling yourself and schmoozing clients and prospects). You have to be able to cope with terrible cash flow; consultants often are the last people to be paid. And you have to be comfortable operating outside the office environment, sans people, perks, expense account, health insurance and copiers.
You'll work harder than you ever worked in your life. But you'll make more money and have more fun than you ever dreamed possible. Best of all, if you get fired you're still working. The icing on the cake: You can fire a client you don't like. One of the happiest moments of my life was several years ago when I fired that same publisher and told its self-important, twenty-something product managers to take a hike.
Denny Hatch, consultant and freelance copywriter, founder of Who's Mailing What! (now Inside Direct Mail) and former editor of Target Marketing, is the author of "Method Marketing" and "2,239 Tested Secrets for Direct Marketing Success." He can be reached at www.methodmarketing.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.