Solving The Independent Consultant 's Dilemma

Philip Boland

Independent consultant challenge

Like me, you may be an independent consultant and very happy with this arrangement from a career perspective.

Independent Consultant - The Good life And Not So Good Life

I really love the good side of being an independent consultant: You like me enjoy managing your own time. And you do not have to answer to others. It feels good to run your own business and you enjoy the clients/projects in which you are involved. But you quickly become aware of some limitations of this model: It is difficult to achieve any scale as you have to do everything. From marketing and business development to admin and, of course, actually delivering billable work. And your work scope is typically defined by your own experience and expertise, and often by what you personally enjoy doing.That was my experience. My challenge was how to expand my offering to get more clients and bigger longer relationships clients delivering paid work; to move from single projects to long term client relationships. As I have learned, this is the constant dilemma of the independent consultant. Fortunately a few years ago I found a great solution. It has worked well for me.

Are You Finding The Same Challenges I Faced?

To see if this solution could also be right for you, consider 4 situations that business advisors / consultants face. Do any of these frustrating situations sound familiar? Indeed, to how many can you relate, all of them?

  1. When you are talking to a prospective client (maybe even having paid for the appointment), you find that the help they need is not in your area of expertise. So you have to walk away and leave the opportunity on the table.
  2. You are doing great work for your existing clients. And as part of this you uncover other areas within their business where more help is needed. That would be great but the solutions are in areas outside your skill set. So again you cannot take advantage of this opportunity
  3. You can only earn income when you are performing billable work for your client. Under that pressure, you cannot find the time to develop new solutions, scale up and/or earn a passive income
  4. Winning new clients takes time and money. If only you could earn more revenue from fewer clients. Wouldn't it be great!

Then I Found A Practical Solution

I was faced with all of these problems and just accepted it as they way it has to be. Well, that is until I discovered a network of like-minded consultants that I could leverage to “expand” my practice. This network consistent of a large number of motivated independents covering a vast range of skills, experience and industry expertise. All of which I could tap into and introduce to my prospects and clients. No longer did I have to walk away from untapped opportunities. Now I had an enormous breadth of offerings I could introduce to help solve my client’s problems. – And that dramatically increased my perceived value to these clients as well. I was now the go-to person for all their needs, now and in the future. A great ingredient for a healthy sustained relationship with my clients! Then, based on the Code of Ethics that all members sign up for in this network, I get to share in the revenue generated by all other consultants I introduce to either clients or prospects.

Independent Consultant, Connected To New Opportunities

Personally, I work primarily with software and technology companies helping them structure their business for growth and expansion. But, in recent years I have been able to provide the following additional services by introducing other network members to my clients:

  • Market research to identify global expansion opportunities
  • Marketing, branding, web site design
  • HR support for recruitment, training, psychometric testing and organisation development
  • Financial services and bookkeeping
  • Corporate advisory, fund raising
  • IP protection
  • Government grants and subsidies

Now I am earning revenue from multiple concurrent engagements and my potential client base has expanded enormously. Plus, as a side benefit I receive referrals from within the network as well. This brings me additional work that I do not have to personally chase. That is what I call a good "business multiplier" recipe. All I have to do is make sure that my fellow network members know me well, understand what I do and see the extra outcomes they can help their clients achieve. And let me tell you, that does not feel like work!

So, What About You?

If you would like to know more about how this solution could work for you, why not catch up informally with me or some of my colleagues from The Network Of Consulting Professionals? It is a free, and obligation-free, networking opportunity offering a window into securing the best of both worlds: retaining your independence and multiplying your scope for healthy business growth.Are you available in Melbourne or Brisbane for our next get-together casual events? Register here

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