3 Biggest Myths About Starting A Consulting Business
If there’s one superpower I would love to have, it would have to be the gift of hindsight.
After many years in business, I’ve learnt many lessons since starting my consulting business – some painful – that I wish I had realised sooner rather than later.
You tend to hear a lot of horror stories when you venture out on your own. Expect crazy long hours with crazy clients, paltry payments, fiery arguments with your colleagues and a non-existent personal life.
I’ve realised the horrors of starting a business could have been minimised or avoided altogether. So, what were my misconceptions?
“You have to charge measly rates until you make it.”
If there’s one advice I would give to you, it is to start thinking big from the start.
Don’t start by scraping the bottom of the barrel because your mindset determines your fate.
Charge what you are worth. I’ve written previously on how to approach your pricing strategy.
Learn to say no.
You may feel a fear of missing out (FOMO) when you see projects that aren’t suited to your skills but pay handsomely. Or projects that are right up your alley but pays a fraction of what you want.
Don’t get stucked in.
I’ve done it countless times and something better suited to me always comes along. It’s called the law of attraction.
Likewise, I’ve made the mistake and taken on a project that just becomes a painful nightmare, leaving you kicking yourself for having ever wasted the time to try and help the would be customer.
Don’t let your insecurities hold you back. We’ve all been there when you feel insecure about yourself and your future. It will mess up your mind.
So, what can you do instead?
Get in touch with previous clients and catch up over coffee. Tell them you are now in business. At the very least, get them to write a recommendation or testimonial. They might not have jobs today but keep in touch.
For more on how to testimonials is the single biggest secret weapon you can use in your business, check out this video.
Approach clients you’d like to work with. Network with people in your industry. Attend events, conferences, and mingle around.
Don’t be shy. Shout it from the rooftops
Hustle on social media. The trick is you need to be seen as an expert by being helpful and building a following.
Write helpful and useful posts on LinkedIn. Tweet and share industry news. Start a blog about your experience and give tips for free. Join Facebook groups where you can find compatriots and prospects.
“You need to fight tooth and nail for a job.”
When I first started out, I used to spend hours and sometimes days drafting and refining a quote or proposal.
There are two things I wish I had gotten right from the start. They would have saved me a lot of grief.
1) Perfect your pitch
Most people are busy. They may not have time to pore over your proposal in detail. Sometimes they only have time for a 5-minute phone call. In short, they need to be convinced quickly.
Whether in the form of a face to face meeting, a phone call, a letter or an email, your pitch needs to be flawless. Pitching helps you become laser focused on your strengths and the problems you help solve for people.
Whenever you find prospects, ask yourself why they should hire you. If you’re tongue tied, you’re in trouble.
Practice your pitch with other people. Write it down. Test it out. Perfect it.
Sell a result or a solution rather than a service.
Focus on value rather than price.
2) Standardize your quoting process
You can easily spend a lot of precious time coming up with a competitive quote that hits the client’s brief. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll realise that they have a lot of things in common.
I’ve saved time by using email and document templates for all my quotes. Granted, there will be unique things about a project or a client but a quote tends to answer the same questions.
And if you get rejected, breathe. It’s not the end of the world. Ask them why you missed out. You need this feedback for your business.
“You need to be the boss, worker, tea lady and cleaner.”
When you’re stuck with a resource of one person (i.e. you), it’s time to get creative. There are plenty of options nowadays to help lighten your load.
Outsource all your menial and routine work which does not require your expertise. They can be tasks such as data entry, bookkeeping, writing, and designing.
There are plenty of outsourcing marketplaces. The popular ones are Fiverr, Freelancer, Airtasker, and Upwork. There’s also 99Designs, a niche marketplace for designers.
If you can’t outsource it, then automate it. Find apps or software that will assist your business by reducing repetitive or mundane activities.
Here are a few examples:
- Accounting software like Xero – that automates data entry by connecting your bank accounts directly into the software,
- Get organised with a calendar & task management tool – that helps remind you of important things you need to do like follow up, sending invoices, and chasing payments,
- Use sales tracking software – that helps you keep track of leads, convert more sales and make sure nothing falls through the cracks, especially when you start to get busy
or anything that helps to make your life & business easier.
They’ll save hours of work. If you add up the cost of their subscriptions, they will still cost you less than hiring a bookkeeper, marketer, writer, designer, and a personal assistant.
Want to get your consultancy off the ground? Download my free e-book where I outline the exact strategies I used to grow my business to a record 6-figures in just 12 months, and then more than double that in the following 12 months