Success Secrets for the Introverted Consultant

Have you considered starting a consulting practice but wondered whether an introvert is cut out for this career? Who’s really an introvert, and can we build successful businesses? Let’s find out.

Who’s an introvert?

In the 1920s, the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung popularized the notions of introvert versus extrovert with the publication of Psychologische Typen (tr. “Psychological Types”). He described introversion as “inner-directed psychic energy” and launched a debate about what it means to be an introvert that the field of psychology – almost a century later – doesn’t seem to have settled yet. But here’s what we know. Continue reading “Success Secrets for the Introverted Consultant”

Are You Confident about Your Confidence?

confidence

Here are five ways you can boost your confidence as a consultant.

As you start a business, it can be tempting to set up shop, secure a client or two, then expect that things will continue to pop. I was guilty of this myself at times.

I thought that my busy first year would translate into a busy second one. So, I enjoyed the newfound flexibility that came with the occasional slower day. I planted flowers in the garden and met friends somewhat regularly for lunch… until I realized that I was being premature in my comfort. Continue reading “Are You Confident about Your Confidence?”

How’s Your Hustle?

how is your hustle

When you first thought that you might consult, did you assume that your years of experience in the trenches would propel your new career path forward? Most of us learn quickly that this field is filled with talented people. Yet the overarching trait that keeps consulting businesses at full capacity isn’t talent—it’s hustle.

You likely know professionals less skilled than you who have sustained themselves over time due to sheer will. They befriend the key connectors in town and have mastered the art of closing the deal. While it’s a difficult admission to make, these endurance activities are every bit as important as knowing the content of our respective fields.

Many new consultants view hustle solely through the lens of securing clients. Yet it is necessarily multi-faceted: Continue reading “How’s Your Hustle?”

Attorneys and Accountants: Your Quest for the Best

How to pick the right attorney and accountant for your business.

One of the biggest investments you will make as a new consultant is in those who will provide professional services to you. At a minimum, you will likely consider engaging an attorney and an accountant. Given their influence on your early business decisions, you will want to do all you can to ensure that you pick the right attorney and accountant to help set you up for long-term success.

When selecting these advisors, referrals are clearly worthwhile. Ask other small business owners who they recommend, but consider limiting your survey to firms that are similar professional service firms. Also, attorneys and accountants often refer clients to each other, so if you find, say, an accountant whom you like, request a referral to an attorney, or vice versa.

Don’t hesitate to interview your top few candidates. These are core advisors that you might turn to time and again, especially your accountant. Your goal is to set up for a long-term relationship, so if you find an attorney who is, say, too formal or too alarmist for your taste, you are likely to be unhappy with your choice.

There are three general categories that you want to give advance thought to for each of these key advisors: Continue reading “Attorneys and Accountants: Your Quest for the Best”

7 Signs of a Good Consulting Project

seven criteria choosing good consulting projects

If you believe that choosing good clients makes consulting life more blissful—and in my experience it certainly does—then you might consider putting the same weight on the projects you take.

“Hold on,” you might be thinking. “If I am going to be choosy about both the client and the project, how in the world will I ever find enough engagements to put food on the table?” Of course, the opposite can also be true: “The more risk factors associated with the jobs I take, the higher the likelihood that I don’t do good work and risk jeopardizing my reputation.”

You certainly reserve the right to make decisions affected by both ends of this spectrum. But there are some basic criteria that tend to make engagements flow more smoothly for all of us. Consider these factors as you learn about your next job. Does the proposed project: Continue reading “7 Signs of a Good Consulting Project”

Set Your Own Speed Limit

What if you got to set your own personal speed limit? That vehicular dream might not happen any time soon, but if you run your own consulting practice, you do have an opportunity to set your professional speed. By that, I mean that you can decide whether you are taking a Sunday drive or a lane on the Consulting Autobahn. And you can do so for an unlimited number of issues, from setting your hours to growing your business.

One of the most fabulous things about this career path is that you can set and reset each parameter depending on your life circumstances and goals at a given time. Continue reading “Set Your Own Speed Limit”

You Can Help Turn Consulting Taboo into Trendy

Consulting gets a bad rap. Sometimes you can feel the hidden eye rolls when you tell new acquaintances what you do for a living. Professional associations largely ignore us. There are heaps of consulting jokes (some of which are admittedly funny).

Yet most in this field are generous entrepreneurs who go above and beyond for their clients—and for each other. Yes, the competition for jobs can be stiff, and it’s understandable that we might want to keep some ideas close to the vest. But there are many reasons for us to collectively cultivate more flattering images of consultants. Continue reading “You Can Help Turn Consulting Taboo into Trendy”

What’s Next for Your Consulting?

If you have called yourself a consultant for more than, say, five minutes, you have likely contemplated some version of the following: Hallelujah, I am finally my own boss! Now, how exactly will I get through this complex journey on my own?

A journey it is. It doesn’t have to be as solitary as it seems.

In my 16 years as a consultant, I have engaged in hundreds and hundreds of conversations with others in this line of work—as peers, mentors, mentees and later as attendees when consultant extraordinaire, Don Tebbe, and I led workshops for those entering this line of work. Most of those discussions eventually touched on the perennial ideas of working alone and refining our businesses. What they boiled down to was consultants’ craving for community and information. Continue reading “What’s Next for Your Consulting?”