Do you have what it takes to be a consultant?
While consulting is often overlooked by people who could otherwise become successful, but simply underestimate their capacities, there are some skills and traits that are absolutely essential for anyone who want to make a real living as a consultant. Here are the four essential traits winning consultants have. We’ll also discuss how these traits impact their businesses.
One prime example of persistence is entrepreneur and consultant Sam Ovens, who was recently interviewed by The Epoch Times. In this piece about Sam Ovens, he talks about his reverse job posting business which failed. His SnapInspect business wasn’t a failure, but it wasn’t what launched him into his modern career. Instead, it was his Consulting.com business he created after selling his shares SnapInspect. There are many similar stories among successful business people.
They didn’t dedicate themselves to a failing business model no matter what, but instead learned from their failures and had the persistence to try again until something worked. Persistence does not mean continuing to pour resources into failing projects, but instead cutting losses and learning from them. Persistence does not require that you keep a demanding client who is never happy or slow to pay, but instead continue with the cold calls, follow up on leads and put in that extra hour at night to finish the work instead of going home to watch TV before going to bed.
Let’s be honest. Winning consultants have expertise that no one else is able to offer to clients. If it was common knowledge, there’d be little point in paying for a consultant. Before you decide to become a consultant, identify what you know that others are willing to pay to know or the actionable advice they will pay to receive.
Expert knowledge may be a combination of factors and experience, such as legal expertise in a specific industry or process improvement consulting for a specific field. This is how you can have space lawyers and trust attorneys paid well despite so much competition. It explains why process improvement and Six Sigma experts in the medical field are paid better than those who simply have an MBA and general knowledge.
What if they ask something you don’t know on the expectation that you do? It is not unprofessional to admit you don’t know something. Your obligation, however, is to either find out or be able to involve someone who does know.
Winning consultants have excellent time management skills. They don’t burn themselves out working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. They understand how to divide their tasks between immediate problems, such as an upset client, and dedicating time to the tasks necessary to maintain success, finding new clients and cultivating existing relationships through check-ins and thank you cards. They are able and willing to say no to new work when necessary to avoid hurting the quality of their ongoing projects.
Consultants maintain a professional attitude with every client and professional customer. They don’t try to turn a professional relationship into a personal one in the hope it will result in more business out of a sense of obligation. They treat friends as valued clients when working for them. They don’t sink into an employee attitude that can hurt your project by undermining your status as the valuable expert.
While becoming a consultant is feasible, you’ll have to either possess or be willing to develop some of these skills in this article if you want to be successful. If you were thinking of starting your own consulting company or want to take your existing one to the next level, make sure that you work on the skills needed to thrive in this business.