Market Scoping for Consultants: How to Get Work

Another in Our Continuing Series on Consulting After 50

One of the best-kept secrets about consulting is that independent consultants don’t get their work by responding to Requests for Proposals (RFPs) or by using social media, they get their work informally. Some of the over-50, independent evaluators I interviewed recently began marketing more than a year before they left their full-time jobs. Others had no time at all. The boom dropped, and they were suddenly out. What’s interesting is that no matter how they got there, none of these independent consultants looked back! So how did they get work so quickly?

A recent survey on Marketing for Consultants asked over 10,000 business consultants what type of marketing had the best result (i.e., brought in the most money). Referrals had the greatest return for 36% of the consultants and networking was next at 34%. However, my interviews also uncovered another good strategy—strategic alliances. While only 4% of business consultants found it had the best return, several of the evaluation consultants I talked to said it was a great way to break into the market.

Let’s take a closer look at these proven marketing strategies.

Read more: Market Scoping for Consultants: How to Get Work

Handling Risk: Three Decision-making Strategies for Consultants

Another in Our Continuing Series on Consulting After 50

When making a critical decision like starting your consulting practice, fear of failure is top of mind. “It’s risky!” you think. We associate risk with unsafe or harmful activities like racing fast cars, scaling craggy peaks, and abusing drugs. It’s the potential for negative outcomes that worry us. But risk can also have a positive impact. It can lead to growth, independence, and success. So when thinking about risk in a consulting context, let’s be clear—entrepreneurship may be risky but it’s not harmful, and further, there are ways of turning risk into opportunity.

Sociologist Jens Zinn (2008, 2017) has explored the relationship between risk and decision making. He outlines three general ways to make decisions: 1) Rational strategies; 2) Non-rational strategies; and what he calls 3) In-between strategies. We need to use them all!

Read more: Handling Risk: Three Decision-making Strategies for Consultants

Using Social Media: Wallflower No More

Another in Our Continuing Series on Consulting After 50

If Facebook were a place, it would be the pub you go to on Friday nights. LinkedIn would be a job interview room. Twitter would be your local coffee shop. So says Nature. The best way to energize your business profile is through social media but the speed of change and number of apps available probably make you dizzy. Facebook is okay connect with friends and family, but who needs the others, right?

Well, you need them! Social media and digital marketing grow more powerful by the day. With a little preparation, your on-line presence can promote your skills and expertise even before you launch your business. Start small, be persistent, and you’ll soon be joining the digital dance floor.

Some suggestions:

Read more: Using Social Media: Wallflower No More

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