I was asked recently for some career strategies on starting up a Consulting firm for marketing, strategy and business development for corporate environments, including some pros and cons. My response to the budding entrepreneur is below, and in retrospect each con is very easily also a pro. We started our companies because the good outweighed the bad, after all. And it is the flight of the entrepreneur to see the gold in each mountain.
The pros for independent Consulting are always the intangible:
– unlimited earning potential
– you make your own schedule
– “you are the top of your organizational structure, make sure you have a mentor to keep you growing, challenged, and humble.” There is always someone else better at what you do, and if you don’t know who that is, always seek to our do yourself. When you feel as though you’ve reached your peak and can become no better, then you’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of your own potential.
– “it’s the small foxes that spoil the vine.” Keep an eye out for the small things, the little compromises in your character, the small “doubts” about whether or not you can do something, or the little compromises you make for a customer to get the sale. Make no compromises that you are not willing to make for the next 20 years.
– “others will value you only to the extent that you value yourself.” You are accomplished, you are excellent at what you do, you were born for this. Write down 4-5 declarations that you will recite each day. As each becomes a core value, replace the daily recitation with a new one, if one you’ve taken off requires reinforcing, then add it back to the daily list.
– “speak only what you know to be true, believe in what you are saying/selling/marketing, and speak with all confidence and you won’t ha e to do much convincing.” The first rule of sales is the one who is least interested in the relationship rules the relationship. Don’t seem too eager or desperate to retain the relationship, it’s unprofessional. But always respond to every inquiry within 24 hours, the same day if possible, even if your response is that you will reply to their email “tomorrow”, they feel valued & don’t have to wonder when they’ll get a response from you, this helps them to move forward with other projects, and also gives them an opportunity to request another/sooner/later time.