The “transition from employee to consultant” is a guide on how to transition from corporate life into consulting. This article will help you win your first client.
After years of success in the corporate world, many people are considering a career change. But if you want to switch industries but don’t know how to get your first clients, this is the article for you.
Starting a company does not need quitting your employment. In fact, consultancy is one of the lowest-risk companies you may start while still working in a corporate position.
What is it like to work as a consultant?
Giving (and charging for) advice to other professionals and companies is known as consulting.
Assume you’re a web designer who deals with food and beverage companies and has created hundreds of websites for them… You’re a lot more than a web designer. Your background qualifies you to provide web design guidance and perhaps even strategy, rather than simply doing the job. The advise you can offer is even more important than the design itself, given the amount of experience you’ve acquired in understanding what works and what doesn’t.
Consider this: almost anybody can create a website. However, few individuals have created hundreds of websites for food and beverage companies. Companies will compensate you for your knowledge and recommendations. Companies are now more than ever willing to hire freelancers and consultants.
With remote work on the increase (44% in the past 5 years), it’s common for businesses to employ outside consultants, contractors, and freelancers. You’ll know how to move from corporate to consultant at the conclusion of this article, and you’ll have two tried-and-true methods to help you get your first consulting client.
Is consulting the appropriate career path for you?
To begin, let’s look at who consulting isn’t for.
- Taking use of your potential
- Having your own business
- Flexibility and independence
- Income potential is limitless.
…doesn’t appeal to you, establishing your own consulting firm may not be the ideal choice. These are the top four reasons why individuals go from working for a company to working as a consultant (taken from our 2019 Marketing for Consultants Study). However, with more potential comes greater risk.
Don’t let anybody hold it against you if you prefer the perceived safety and security of the corporate world. (I’d argue that the corporate world isn’t nearly as secure and stable as it once was, but that’s another story…)
However, if one or more of those concepts strike a chord with you, consulting may be right for you. And if you’ve worked in the corporate sector for years, you’re already halfway to being a consultant.
How to Begin Working as a Consultant
Here’s how offering your talents to an employer differs from doing so as a consultant:
Instead of serving a single “employer,” you serve many customers as a consultant. When you applied for your present employment, you put in your application, went through an interview, got the job, and then began working for your employer.
You ceased to promote yourself.
This marketing effort never ends for a consultant. Even after gaining customers, you continue to advertise and sell yourself. Client projects take the place of “jobs.” And, even while you’re working on one, you’re constantly on the lookout for new client assignments (or many more). Marketing and sales is the skill of finding new customers and converting them into paid consultancy work.
As a new consultant, these are the most important talents you’ll lack.
You have the skills to perform the job; you simply don’t know how to get it. However, if you know how to acquire new consulting clients, you may make much more than you would in a corporate position.
Decide on a lucrative field of expertise.
You must specialize in order to make marketing and sales simpler.
In a tiny pond, be a huge fish.
You’ll have less competition if you focus on a particular industry.
Consider the following two variables:
- WHO is it that you serve?
- WHAT IT IS THAT YOU DO FOR THEM (and WHAT problem that solves).
Then you may compose a message similar to this:
WHAT you do is for the benefit of the people you serve.
- For eCommerce start-ups, brand consulting is essential.
- Fintech Companies Need Digital Marketing Help
- Universities and Colleges HR Consulting
Notice how much more specific these messages are than something like “marketing for small businesses.” If you specialize and serve a specific industry, you’ll not only have an easier time identifying your ideal clients (business leaders who run companies in your industry), but you’ll also have a much easier time identifying your ideal clients (business leaders who run companies in your industry).
…but they’ll be lot more receptive to chatting with (and employing) you.
And don’t forget that your enthusiasm is crucial.
Your WHO should be a group of individuals who are in need of your help, who you can reach, and who you love helping.
Skills that you are a skilled at, that others need, and that you love doing should be your WHAT.
This message may, and most likely will, evolve over time. You’re ready to start approaching and gaining customers after you have a draft of this message.
How to Land Your First Consulting Job
You may find your first consulting customer in a variety of methods. To begin, I’ll offer you two.
Your Current Employer (Method 1)
What are you talking about?!
Yes, your present employer may serve as your first consulting client. Many of our pupils have already done so. This is how you go about doing it.
NOTE: This technique only works if you like working with your boss and have a solid connection with him or her.
Make an appointment to speak with your current employer. Explain to them that you’re thinking about establishing your own consulting firm in an open and honest manner. Reiterate your delight in working with them. Then, rather of quitting your job, propose that you alter the structure of your role. Instead of being an employee, you will work as a consultant for them.
They may continue to profit from your knowledge and ability as a consultant without having to give you a full-time salary or benefits. It’s also a gain for you since instead of being your boss, your company becomes a customer. As a result, you’ll be able to take on additional customers.
Method 2: Contact a Prospective Client
Because you know WHO they are and WHAT you do for them, you know who your ideal customer is. This is where the identifying portion of the equation comes in. So, how do you convert ideal clients into paying customers after you’ve found them?
It all begins with a meaningful discussion about their company, their position, their challenges, and their objectives. This is referred to as “sales” in consulting. Notice how different that is from the usual “pitch” of a used-car salesperson. This discussion is entirely focused on your potential client.
How do you get in touch with prospective clients?
You must first reach out to them in order to have these discussions.
Your early days as a consultant will entail a lot of direct outreach: reaching out to ideal customers to initiate these important discussions, whether by email or phone.
Here’s an example of an outreach message:
What THEIR COMPANY is doing in the INDUSTRY area has truly pleased me. As an adviser, I’ve just transitioned from dealing with businesses like COMPANY, COMPANY, COMPANY to helping other TYPE OF ORGANIZATION.
Because this is a new area for me, I’d want to understand more about your industry expertise. I’d be grateful if I could ask you a few short questions – even 5-10 minutes would be very helpful. Is there any possibility you’ll be available tomorrow afternoon? Thank you a lot.”
You’re not asking people to pay attention to your pitch. You’re inquiring about their company, their situation, their problems, and their objectives.
Both of these approaches need having a discussion. Yes, it might be unsettling. It will also force you to go outside of your comfort zone.
You’re better off staying with your present work if you’re not willing to have discussions about how you can provide value to others. If you’re ready for the challenge, keep reading to discover how to go from corporate to consultant.
Two Proven Strategies for Transitioning from Corporate to Consultant
You have two alternatives for transitioning from corporate to consultant after you’ve secured your first customer.
1. The Transition to the Side
While you’re still employed, here is where you start working with customers.
This has the advantage of lowering your risk. You have a safety net in place and may leave whenever your part-time income equals or exceeds your full-time earnings.
The disadvantage is that your employer may not approve of your side job. Also, since you’ll be working on the side and have less time and energy, it’ll be more difficult to attract customers and finish tasks.
The All-In Transition is number two.
This is where you put in your two-week notice – before you’re quite certain you’ll be able to support yourself.
The benefit is that you are “up against the wall” and have all of the time you need to win and work with customers.
The disadvantage is that it is more dangerous.
If you choose this path, save aside 6-12 months’ worth of money to ensure your survival. This is more than enough time, given my experience mentoring hundreds of consultants, for you to figure it out and increase your revenue.
Always keep in mind that where there’s an upside, there’s also a danger.
You won’t be able to eliminate all risk, but by using one of these methods, you’ll have a variety of choices to choose from that fit your risk tolerance. What’s the worst-case scenario? It isn’t going to work out. You should look for a new employment.
But by giving it a go, you’ll have acquired a lot of experience and a lot of respect for yourself.
Take Action: Land Your First Consulting Client!
This article’s action step is to go out and get your first customer. It’s going to be a shambles. It’s going to be difficult. You’ll get turned down a few times.
Winning your first consulting client is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
It’s the first step toward many people’s lifetime dreams of working for themselves, improving their income, and achieving their full potential. It all begins with a meaningful discussion with a potential customer.
So go out there and start a discussion. Pay close attention. Make a difference. Make an offer if you think it’s a good match. Alternatively, you may keep working at your corporate job… I’m not sure what might have happened.
Which route will you take?
If you are looking to transition from a corporate job to a consultant, it can be difficult. The trick is to know how to get consultancy projects and the first client.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get my first client as a business consultant?
A: You start by joining an organisation that provides business consultancy services.
How do new consulting companies get clients?
A: New consulting companies must present their best work to potential clients in order to get them on their team. This is because existing consultancies have a process for getting business and its usually easier if they can show that they are already working one of their clients well.
How do you transition from an employee to a consultant?
A: To transition from an employee to a consultant, you would first have to transfer your stock options and any incentive payment that you received as part of the employment agreement. After this is completed, there are several ways in which you can become a contractor or outside consultant for the company. You could also take advantage of those other types of opportunities by applying through one-time only promotions such as Employee For A Day.
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