Starting out can be scary, if you want to learn how to win work as a consultant, read on. The world of freelance is very different and can be overwhelming, especially if you got used to a comfortable corporate job with a safety net. If you want to venture out into the world of consultancy, you’ll need to get work by yourself. There’s no boss or superior out here who will assign you tasks.
As a consultant, you must be an expert in your field or industry. (If you need help starting out, here’s a consulting business checklist to help you out). However, you need to know there are other consultants like you. So, you have to start thinking about how can you possibly get work or win clients. Not to worry, below are some very helpful tips to get you started:
Put Yourself Out There
One of the most important things to do to be able to win work as a consultant is to actually show potential and future clients that you are available. How do you go about doing that? You definitely need to market yourself, below are 3 ways that you can do it:
1. Set up Professional Accounts/Pages/Site
There are billions of people on social media. And unlike when it first started out, it was simply for entertainment or making friends. But now, social media sites have become an avenue for businesses, companies, freelancers, and more. When clients do a background check on consultants they plan on working with or hiring, they always include social media. This can include Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. So, it’s very important to have a professional page or account pertaining to your consultancy work.
Depending on the industry you are in, you can also branch out into other social media sites. For example, if you are an organization consultant, Pinterest could be an effective place for potential clients to come upon your work. Now, if you are a consultant for web designing or development, it may make more sense to actually have an official website of your own.
It depends on you and your industry to learn which professional accounts or pages to set up. You don’t have to make one for all social media, just the relevant ones. If you really need a boost, you might even look into doing ads if you have the budget for it.
Now, what you put on your professional accounts should highlight what you can do or offer. This is not time to be humble, show off awards if you have them, post certifications, and relevant work experiences.
2. Try & Try
If you don’t like the approach wherein you draw in clients, another way to market yourself is to try approaching them yourself. You can check out freelance job sites and check out consultancy postings. The key here is to just try and try. Keep applying so you get more chances for potential clients to reply to you.
However, make sure that the job consultancy posts you are applying for are relevant to your work. You need to meet the requirements or criteria—you don’t want to waste your or someone else’s time. Also, don’t feel too bad if no one replies to your proposal or application, again just try and try.
3. Expand Your Network
If you are stuck in just one group, you’ll never be able to grow. Always grab the opportunity to meet new people. It doesn’t even matter if they work in the same industry as you. Who knows, they might actually know someone who will need your services.
a. Other Consultants
Of course, you are looking for a client but chances are you won’t land work by simply bumping into one. There are times when you get work through other consultants like yourself. If that consultant is working in the same field as you, they can ask for your help. If their schedule is too full, they may pass on a client to you. Or, if the workload is too much, they can also partner up with you. Don’t think of them as simply competition because freelancers do have a community where they help each other out.
b. Clients for Experience
Not everyone gets to be so lucky to work with “perfect” clients. You know, someone who shares the same viewpoints as you and pays really well. But just because a client is not perfect does not mean you should accept the work. Aside from getting paid, always remember that you will be getting experience. As a consultant, you always have to have your skills sharpened. One way to do that is to simply keep working.
If a client finds your work satisfactory, they can always refer you to other people. Also, if you gain a good reputation in your industry, chances are clients will be running after you. The only problem you’ll have is to pick which job to take.
Work on Yourself
There are a lot of freelance consultants out there that’s why it is important to work on yourself. You need an edge for clients to choose you over others. Here are 3 things you can do to work on yourself and your consultancy business as well:
1. Update your Portfolio
If you want to impress would-be clients, a portfolio is one of the things you can show them your work. That’s why it is important to have the contents of your portfolio be fresh or up-to-date. This shows that you are being hired regularly and you stay on top of your consultancy work.
2. Attend Training or Webinars
Most consultants need to have certifications to be able to work. For example, if you are a networking consulting engineer, be sure all of your Cisco certifications have not yet expired. And since this industry is fast-paced and ever-changing, you need to keep attending training or seminars (webinars) so you are aware of the latest technology.
This is all about working on yourself so that you can show potential clients that you have many things to offer. Attending seminars or training can also be an excellent way to spend your time meaningfully in case you have a client dry spell. So, if your future client asks you what you have been doing, you can simply and truthfully answer that you’ve been undergoing training or boot camps to improve your work capabilities.
3. Be Prepared and Organized
To be able to win work (or anything for that matter), you can’t rely on luck alone. There is a ton of preparation and organization ahead of you. It’s a good thing there’s freelancing software that can help you keep everything on track—Kosmo.
Just imagine a project management app where you can have an organized client list and project list. Where you can also track your work time, and create and send contracts and invoices with ease. Kosmo can do all that and more. This will make your life easier once you win one job after the other. You can focus more on your actual consultancy work instead of organizing invoices and other freelancing documents.
A potential client will not be impressed if you don’t know how to make invoices or if you don’t even have a payment method setup. You’ll be able to land clients if they know that you can do the work and if you are prepared on how to do freelance documentation, such as proposals and contracts.
Other General Tips on How to Win Work as a Consultant
You’ve come to the last phase of winning work as a consultant and that is sealing the deal. Because you might have the right connections and the right credentials, however, you won’t land the job if after a call or meeting with the client the conversation was lackluster. Here are a few more tips to help you out when actually talking to a potential client:
- Be Confident
You can easily stand out by simply being confident. When you go into a meeting, you can’t focus solely on how to win work as a consultant. Clients will know if you are simply after a job, they would prefer someone who actually cares about their business or their project. You need to project to the people you will meet that you are confident in yourself. Showing you know what you can do and you know what you can offer can make or break a deal.
- Show Personality
Again, there are many consultants out there. They may have the same certifications and work experience as you. So, how can you set yourself apart from the competition? The best way to do this is to be yourself, you have to let your personality shine through. Don’t act like someone you aren’t. If you are a serious person, there’s no need to act all jolly just to get the job. The right client will appreciate your seriousness and might actually prefer it for their business.
- Remain Professional,
Although you are being confident and showing your personality, never forget to remain professional. You can be friendly with would-be clients and fellow consultants but remember that this is a work environment. Stick to appropriate topics, don’t act like they’re your BFFs. These people are looking for consultants for their business and they would want someone professional.
It can be frustrating to be a freelance consultant but rejections are as much a part of it as landing clients. Now that you know how to win work as a consultant, understand that it’s all about patience and putting in the work.
Get Organized & Win More Clients
Kosmo has everything you need to run your freelancing business.