What I’ve learned as a consultant

So here I am….a consultant. I’ve been operating independently for a while now and have come to the following conclusions:

  • The ‘problem’ is very rarely the problem.
  • Consulting is an art, not a science. Of course, this applies to most careers, but I think some people lose sight of this. There are many people say ‘do x,y & z’ and you’ll be a successful consultant…this just isn’t true. There isn’t a secret formula to success in the consulting world (or any career for that matter)…the closest thing to a formula is ‘Do the best you can’.
  • I like this work and would love to continue doing it….but….I’ve been considering a few full-time opportunities and would seriously consider taking one of these at the right organization.
  • There are good clients…and bad clients. If you can, stay away from the bad ones. How do you know who the bad ones are? For me, my gut tells me whether a potential client its into my ‘good’ or ‘bad’ bucket.
  • There are a considerable number of people in this world who think you must have experience from a ‘big name’ firm before they’ll hire you as a consultant. Without these ‘big names’ on your resume, many people automatically discount you, your skills and your experience.

That last one is rather disheartening to me…I am who I am and that’s all I can be (didn’t Popeye say that?) :)

Comments

  1. Joe Herlihy says:

    Hey Eric – caught your comments above and agree with everything you said. Was on my own for a while also and it is tough to make it out there – even when you do all the right things. In Maine, where I live, I break down potential customers into three categories: 1. those who need the help but don’t know it / reject it; 2. Those who need the help, know it, but have no money, and; 3. Those who need the help, know it, have the money, and think they need to get a big-name consulting firm to do it for them. It is sort of the old mind-set from the 60′s – “You won’t get fired for hiring IBM.”

    Anyhow, two little boys under two sent me packing back to a full-time job. Fortunately, I’m still doing the consulting work I like without the up and down fear of where the next project is coming from.

    I’m with you in spirit!

    Joe

  2. Hi Joe – Thanks for the comment.

    I like your three categories…I see that quite often myself.

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