3 Ways to Be Prepared for the Peaks and Valleys of Consulting

consulting

Any business that has been around long enough has experienced some up and down cycles. Consulting is no different. Some months it seems that everything you try just works, while other months seem to have a trial waiting around every corner. No one returns your calls and you feel like you have to wrestle your opportunities out of the jaws of defeat.

For a solopreneur like me, the ups and downs can be a bit more trying, since most of the weight is on my shoulders. Sometimes even the good times are trying, since all of the extra work has to be done by someone. Don’t give up, it does get easier. Over the past few years I have learned a few things that I think have helped to ease some of the bumps in the road and make things go smoother.

Keep your eyes open for new opportunity

By looking forward and planning for the future, you can keep your business flexible enough to survive the changes. If you just keep doing the same things, you can expect the same results, until the market no longer responds to your technique. That’s why innovation is so important.

Right now, I am putting the finishing touches on an in-house learning system that will allow us to provide educational opportunities for our blog readers. Through a subscription model, I can also make use of presentations and material that has already been built out to create a new stream of revenue without much added expense.

momentum

Always be on your marketing game

No matter how good things are now, that slow month will come and you will thank me if you keep your marketing pipeline full of well qualified prospects. Use the momentum of the good times to carry you through lean times. Schedule projects as far out as possible, but try never to say no to new business. Use blogs, social media and other online marketing and engagement platforms to keep the conversation and visibility happening.

Not only does it provide you with a steady source of new work, but marketing muscles get rusty without use. With today’s ever changing marketing platforms, just a month or two of not staying on top of the latest trends can put you way behind the curve.

Diversify, diversify, diversify

The more you can offer without stretching yourself too thin, the more opportunities you have of providing potential clients with what they need. Keep your eyes open for new opportunities. One of the things we do is offering workshops through webinars. The material is typically developed from blog research and helps to market our services at the same time.

By finding ways to get more out of the work you are already doing, like the webinars and online learning system, you can multiply your potential revenue and add new marketing opportunities at the same time as consulting clients become educational customers and vice versa.

  1. Never Stop Marketing. No matter how good your business is, never stop developing relationships, marketing your business and building your business network.
  2. Diversity your business. Think about where you can add value in different industries and other areas without having to do twice the amount of work. Maybe you can resell or license a report or gain a commission if you are booked for referring someone in your network who you trust their work.

 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell
Jessica Miller-Merrell is workplace technologist and marketing strategist. She's the founder of Blogging4Jobs.com and proud member of the independent workforce 5 years and counting. Follow her on Twitter, @jmillermerrell.
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