I can’t believe, it had been a whole week since I wrote my last blog. This week was really busy with lot of sleepless nights and lot of ice tea. Working full-time and consulting part-time is not an easy task. I would not recommend you to consult a business part-time, if you can’t keep up with all of your appointments in your outlook calendar.
Anyways, I am not here to tell you how to manage your time well (at least not in this blog). Before I start, I would like to thank my readers to read my blog and sending their replies through e-mails and comments. In their responses, lot of people asked me to write about the next step after getting the first client. Through this blog, I would like to answer that question.
I do management consulting on part-time basis, so most of my views would be helpful to part-time consultant instead of those full-timers. Following are few tips, which might help you when you get your first client/contract.
Communication, communication, communication: This is the key element of every consulting business. Being a part-time consultant, it will be really hard to communicate with your clients. Whatever may be the case, you need to communicate with them on regular basis. If you are consulting local businesses then invite their executives on lunch. You will be amazed to know – how much you can talk over the lunch. Voice conference will work too. I would also suggest you to gather and read as many documents as you can. Defining the business problem CORRECTLY is really important. And yeah! Try to keep your clients informed in EVERY STEP of the process in implementing the solution.
Leverage technology: If you are a part-time consultant like me, then you want to be transparent about your progress with your clients. If you are a management consultant, then it becomes even more difficult to provide some tangible output every day. Thus, I would advise you to use solutions like – Google site, Google docs, Windows live documents, etc. This will provide proper visibility of your work. Using skype for video conference is another cheap way to communicate with your clients. I have lot of clients from my home country (India), and skype had really helped me to better communicate with them. YouTube can be helpful too. I create separate private channels on YouTube for my clients, if there is any training required.
Keep record of your work: This would seem obvious for any consultant, but you will be surprised to know that only 20% of the independent consultant keep DETAILED LOGS of their work. Keeping an engineering log will help you in many ways from tracking your time to reusing your material. I, myself, don’t have the fix pricing model for my clients. Sometimes I charge them on a contract basis, sometimes on commission bases, and sometimes on hourly basis. Whatever may be the case, keeping track of your time worked on a particular project will help you to provide competitive pricing to your next client. Keeping all of your historical documents will help you to not only reproduce your material but also you can learn from your own mistakes. After all, we all learn from our mistakes, the key is to RECORD your past and learn from it.
I hope my article was helpful, and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi