So, you’re thinking of getting into the consulting business?
Oh? You’ve been a consultant for a while but want to be more independent?
In the first situation, you’re fresh to everything, and the other, you’re taking the next big step.
Doesn’t matter which, you’re still starting from a place of wanting to take control of your career and business.
And in both cases, a lot of the same resources apply.
After my previous article, 55 Books Recommended for Independent Consultants Who Want a Successful Business, I was asked, “What can you suggest for those who are either:
- Thinking of becoming a consultant for the first time, or
- Those who’ve been a consultant, but want to become more independent?”
I have to admit; I had to sit and think about this for a while, as it’s been some time since I was in a similar situation.
But then I realised the areas that worried me as new to the business are often the same that creep up on me a decade later.
With that said, I searched through my library again for those old favourite resources and added a few recent additions that have impressed me with their content.
I’ve divided this list of books that will help you answer the following 5 questions:
- A. Do I Really Want to Do This?
- B. What Am I Offering? Why Should Clients Choose Me?
- C. How Do I Find Clients and Contracts?
- D. How Do I Sell Myself and Win the Contract?
- E. How Do I Do It All?
Regardless of your situation, flirting with the idea of becoming a consultant or are a consultant looking for more independence, I hope the resources I’m sharing will help answer one or more of the above questions.
Book Category A: Do I Really Want to Do This?
If you are genuinely serious about going out on your own as a consultant, please please please do your homework and know what you are getting yourself into.
10 years later and I am still learning some aspects of my business, some sexy – some not so much.
But please don’t let that stop you from taking some time and understanding what you’ll need to do in this kind of business.
So, on that note, I’d like to suggest looking through the following to:
- Learn what you have to offer as consulting services.
- What you need to do to have your own successful business as a consultant.
- Getting Started in Consulting By Alan Weiss
- Peter Drucker on Consulting. How to Apply Drucker’s Principles for Business Success By William A. Cohen, PhD
- The E-Myth Contractor. Why Most Contractors’ Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it By Michael E. Gerber
- Escaping from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur by By Pamela Slim
Book Category B: Why Should Clients Choose Me? What Am I Offering?
With the assumption you still want to embark on the adventure of becoming an independent consultant, I’d suggest sitting down and getting an outline of what you’ll offer and what makes you stand out from others, differentiating yourself in the market.
Check out this short list of options to read:
- Linchpin. Are You Indispensable? By Seth Godin
- Shift. How to Reinvent Your Business, Your Career, and your Personal Brand By Peter Arnell
- Why Should I Choose You? Answering the Most Important Question in Business in Seven Words or Less By Ian Chamandy and Ken Aber
Book Category C: How Do I Find Clients and Contracts?
You may get your first contract from your network, but what will you do for the next one?
On the topic of what it will take to gain clients; I’d like to advocate the following list of books that can help you with networking, marketing and lead generating.
These books may help you in finding not only your next contract but to cultivate an excellent working relationship with clients who’ll want to repeat business with you.
- Book Yourself Solid. The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling By Michael Port
- Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time By Keith Ferrazzi
- The Networking Book. 50 Ways to Develop Strategic Relationships By Simone Andersen
- White Papers for Dummies By Gordon Graham
Book Category D: How Do I Sell Myself and Win the Contract?
Now that you have built relationships and generated leads, you will need to be ready to write proposals and negotiate contracts.
Again, you may have some solid skills here, but now it’s time to level up with your new career and business context in mind.
The following books have helped me improve on the skills I gained as a past employee leader. I hope you too find some great value.
- Say No to Me! The True Power of Upside-Down Selling By Alice Wheaton
- Successful Pitching for Business. Learn in a Week, What the Experts Learn in a Lifetime By Patrick Forsyth
- Authentic Negotiating: Clarity, Detachment & Equilibrium by Corey Kupfer
Book Category E: How Do I Do It All?
If you think a ‘to do’ list will do, reconsider.
May I suggest another approach?
How about figuring out what needs to be done AND how you’ll go about it.
There are different approaches in regards to planning and productivity.
And, if you give this topic your attention, ahead of time, and find a method that works for you, you’ll be amazed at just how much and how fast you can accomplish towards your goal of becoming an independent consultant.
So, as you begin to transition from your current role, be it an employee or contractor to an independent consultant managing your own business, invest in yourself and attain the new habits and approaches to managing yourself and your most precious asset, your time.
Here are two resources to get you started.
- The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results By Gary Keller with Jay Papasan
- Ready for Anything. 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done By David Allen
Now, you may have noticed I provided one or more choices for each question.
That’s because experience has taught me, there is always another way to do something, and I can still learn more.
And because I love to learn and practice what I learn, I would enjoy hearing from you as to other great resources you’d recommend or other burning questions you’d like help with.
Thanks for reading!
Founder and President
Stand & Deliver Inc.