Posted 28th September 2011.
I don't know about you, but when I went solo as a consultant/coach, my first few months were filled with excitement and terror in equal measure.
It was wonderful to know I could do anything I wanted and everything was dependent on me.
It was terrifying to know I could do anything I wanted and everything was dependent on me.
Your initial challenge as a solo professional is to land your first client. I was lucky: as a veteran consultant I knew enough people who sent work my way in the early days to buy me time to get fully established.
But I made mistakes too. Some big, some small. In particular, there were three things I wish someone had told me when I started.
Firstly, I wish someone had kicked my butt early on and told me if I wanted to succeed I needed to take action. It sounds obvious, and I wasn't filled with wishful thinking. But I was overly optimistic. Overly confident that something would turn up.
That overconfidence meant that I took the easy path. Concentrated on the interesting work I had rather than on the tougher task of getting out and winning new work.
Secondly, I wish someone had told me to swallow my pride. To reach out to more old contacts and tell them I was available. To hook up with as many people as I could – build my contact network quickly.
And finally, I wish someone had told me that when things started going right, when the clients and the money started flowing in, I should step up to the next level. Start working on longer term things that would make life easier. Get clients flowing in to me rather than me having to go out to get them.
Of course, things turned out very well in the end. But I could have got to where I am faster. I could have made things easier for myself.
If you want to get a headstart as a solo professional, avoid the mistakes many make in the early days, and set yourself on the fast track to success then head over and register for the free “Taking the Plunge” audio masterclass series.
There are 10 speakers (including me) giving their best advice and experience on the key areas you need to succeed as a solo or self employed professional. The topics covered include:
- How to get your first paying clients (me)
- How to get started as an independent consultant (Michael Zipursky, founder of Business Consulting Buzz – the leading website for business consultant)
- How to “find your mojo” and turn it into a business proposition (Andrew Thorp, founder of Mojo Life)
- Getting started as an independent coach (Gladeana McMahon, author and Chair of the Association for Coaching)
- How to start building your business network (Heather Townsend, author of the FT Guide to Business Networking)
- Getting started as a freelance trainer (Sharon Gaskin, founder of the Trainer's Training company)
- Getting everything done when you're self-employed (Meg Edwards, senior coach with the David Allen company – of “Getting Things Done” fame)
- How to keep on top of the admin needed to run a business (Helen Stothard, founder of HLS services, Virtual Assistants to coaches)
- How to develop your business proposition (Mike Harris, author – and a guy who's built three billion dollar companies!)
- How to manage the transition to self employment (Antoinette Oglethorpe, expert career coach for the self employed and organiser of the series).
I give it a huge recommendation for anyone either thinking of going solo, or in their first few years of working for themselves.