Consulting Opportunities – Keep Your Doors Open

A world of opportunities are out there and today’s employers are leaning towards hiring business consultants rather than employees. According to a report from Cal Poly, about 27% of consultants are self-employed. In today’s economy, that figure is bound to increase. As labor forces dwindle, the need for consulting expertise rises.

Consulting opportunities look even better after the first contract is signed. The self employed consultant’s first assignment is often a former employer. If the consultant left on good terms, a door is open. If the consultant’s departure disappointed the employer, the door is still open, because the employer recognized the former employee’s value.

Obtaining consulting jobs is about toting your value and strutting your stuff. Consultants learn to package, present and market their expertise. That can mean changing gears and elevating your game a notch. Always be professional, a savvy marketer, an articulate specialist and your own best advocate. Start those habits before you walk out the door of that past job.

Strategizing for your new consulting career means setting your goals, finalizing your business plan, setting your budgets and building associations and relationships that boost awareness of your expertise. Your old employer knows you as an employee, not as a consultant. That employer may need some convincing.

Provide a clear, concise and professional presentation that shows the employer your value as an expert who understands the business, the goals, the management style and the product. A presentation with structure and substance will show the employer that your services are not only value packed but cost-effective. After all, you present a seamless transition requiring no new training, no break-in period and creating no information gaps. From day one, hour one, you stand ready to handle any project in your area of expertise. Where else will the employer find an expert with those credentials?

A consultant must be able to articulate his value. Know why consultants are utilized, express the advantages and overcome the reservations. Perfect your delivery, your body language, your professional personality and make sure the past employer understands you mean business.

Have a prepared consulting proposal outlining the services you can provide. Stay within your field of expertise. Be prepared to modify your proposal and to accept small projects to begin the new relationship. This initial contract will serve as a great reference, a launching point for your new career and a bridge to future work. Be prepared to provide a preferred client discount for this first job. Remember that the open door behind you could well be the door that jump starts your exciting new venture.

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