How to Become a Consultant – Part 4: Project Planning

This is one of the most overlooked areas for new consultants. They focus on creating a website and logo, they get business cards printed, they set up their office space and they give themselves a catchy name.

Then they go out and find clients. But there’s one big gap in this plan.

Don’t Follow My Approach
What are you going to do when you get a client? When I first got started as a consultant I just winged it. I went in and figured things out. But I don’t recommend that approach.

You don’t need to plan out a hundred page system for your clients from day one – that would surely be a waste. But you should have a written plan of how you can help the clients you get.

Keeping It Simple
This is as simple as writing out what areas you can take them through, what needs to be done in each area and what the end result will be.

Don’t fret, this can be in point form, and will not only help you better explain to potential clients what it is that you’ll do for them, it will also make your work process more efficient as you actually work on the project.

This may seem like a no brainer but you’d be surprised how many consultants have no real plan for their clients. And without a plan it’s infinitely more difficult to achieve real results.

Give it some thought and if you have questions post them here and see if others can help you get on the right track.

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  • Tim

    Hi Michael,

    I just stumbled upon (ah, that’s where they got that name!) your site this morning, and I must say that as someone just starting out in this field (my second career) it has so far been a huge help.

    I have an honours degree in Comms. (Australia), 5 years’ esperience as a journalist and the desire and need (I’m very hungry – literally) to set up my own consultancy business.

    I have read a great deal on the subject, follow journals, spoken with advertising execs, etc., but one of the things that would really help me (and maybe I missed this on your site) is a blow-by-blow account of what a consultant would do for a client.

    Say, for example, a client wants to raise their social networking profile, does the fact that they already know about social networking mean that they don’t need a consultant? Or, would the consultant offer to set up a Twitter account, monitor it for them, etc.? I know that’s simplifying things, but if it’s the latter, then the consultancy role seems a bit thin on the ground. How much would I typically charge for that sort of thing?

    Cheers,
    Tim

    • Tim, thanks for your comment.

      Consulting can cover a wide range of services. Some consultants provide simply advice on which their clients handle all the execution.

      Other consultants take a more hands on approach providing the advice and the implementation for their clients. This approach is far more popular and it’s what most companies (especially small and medium-sized ones) are after.

      In the case you mentioned, a business simply knowing what social networking is doesn’t mean they know how to use it to build and grow their business. They may understand the concept but not know how to connect the dots to have it support their brand. So yes, in this case a consultant could be of great support.

      We have several articles on this site regarding setting your consulting rates Have a look around and let me know if you have specific questions.