Going solo and embracing the consulting lifestyle is a lucrative career move. Most freelancers and consultants have the opportunity to make a lot more money than they would in a salaried role. Of course, that freedom and potential comes at a price. That’s the risk of business disappearing! You must also consider the major task of actively finding clients. Getting out there and securing your first consulting job is no easy task.
Trust us, we’ve been there before. It took months before we landed our first client. And we learnt a lot along the way. Using today’s post, we hope that we can help you cut the corners and secure that first client fast. As a consultant, you need a variety of jobs and clients lined up. Here’s how you do it.
Harness existing contacts
Most people who take the plunge into the freelance lifestyle have a strong history behind them. After all, you can’t become a consultant until you build up a lot of specific experience. So, your first option is looking back through your address book, and reconnecting with old contacts. Reach out personally to each and every contact, and introduce them to your new business. If it’s been a while, use LinkedIn to reconnect with people. If you can make this a face-to-face meeting, even better. Meet old colleagues for coffee, and pitch your services. Hopefully, one of them will bite.
If your old contacts aren’t getting you anywhere, it’s time to make new contacts. Look at the fresh faces of the industry and introduce yourself. Make a powerful first impression! Attend networking events in your niche, and find a mutually beneficial connection. We understand that networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone. But, even the more introverted among us can find an effective way to connect with new people. You can even start online by connecting across LinkedIn and Twitter.
Branding and marketing
One of the trickiest things for consultants to get their head around is the idea of marketing and branding. Previously, it’s not something you had to worry about. Now, it’s one of your most important jobs. You’ve got to get your name out there in the right circles. Start with a few networking essentials like business cards, stickers, and brochures. Make sure potential clients take something away with them. Next, think about your online marketing and branding. Build an authority website that shows off your expertise and experience. Build a social following through Twitter and LinkedIn. The easiest way to get consulting clients is to make sure they come to you.
Speak at events
Your clients are looking for evidence of expertise and experience. What better way to show off your skills than speaking at an event? Networking events, conferences, and trade shows are full of potential clients just waiting to hear from you! Do you utmost to book a speaking gig, and show off your knowledge. Open yourself up to dialogue, and meet interested parties afterwards. Quite simply, put yourself on the map within your industry.
Follow this advice, and you’ll begin to make inroads in your industry. All you need is that first client. They’ll get the money coming in, and you’ll get your first foot on the ladder.
Speaking at an event is a great way to find new clients (photo source)