Do you sometimes question your market rate?
And worry about pricing yourself out of the consultant market? Especially during a market downturn or recession?
I believe this is less likely to occur when independent consultants:
- build an authentic personal brand
- create strong value-driven relationships
- keep their eye on the market
This is how I manage my business. But it’s not always easy.
There are times I have found that ‘perfect’ project I feel I can deliver exceptional value for—and then they don’t choose me. Like many of my colleagues, I have heard the dreaded words, “You’re exactly the consultant we want—but you’re too expensive.” Other times, opportunities come my way, but they don’t align with how I want to make a difference.
I’ve learned it often has nothing to do with me
Earlier in my business, I likely received this response because I wasn’t as tuned into the market as I needed to be. But over the years, with mistakes as my teacher, I’ve learned that it often has nothing to do with me.
Liz Ryan, Founder and CEO of Human Workplace, contributor for Forbes and LinkedIn Influencer, summarised this well.
“If you are clear about the contribution you can make and its economic value to your next employer [client], then you have no reason to back off from your salary [contract rate] target.”
The solution? I use caution as a tool
Even with the years of experience I have, I am cautious of the market, what it will bare, and how I’m positioned within it. Being cautious is necessary. It doesn’t mean I am less successful. I choose to use it as a tool to remind me to stay sharp and not become complacent. It motivates me to continuously strive to understand my local market and ensure I am clear about:
- my specialisation
- how I can help my client resolve their business pain
- the value of my help within my market
This is all part of having an opportunity funnel.
I suggest taking a moment to read this letter someone sent to Liz Ryan about these questions. In her response, she speaks from a human resource and employee perspective, but it is also excellent advice for independent consultants.
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Thank you for reading.
Founder and President
Stand & Deliver Inc.