How do I become an Independent Consultant
How to Become an Independent Consultant - The Answer in Technology
The standard approach to feasibility is to clearly define what you have to offer, what skills, knowledge or certifications you need, whether there is a market and how much it can support. This requires self-assessment and research. You can read more about this elsewhere.
Here, let's look at the impact of technology on feasibility.
The fascinating thing about the online consulting marketplace is how it opens your eyes to opportunities. Instead of sitting in your own little corner trying to describe what you're good at, you can look at the millions of projects available and see how many of them you are actually pretty well equipped for. And you can identify others who interest you, provided you've done some learning.
You can test profitability right away, even if you are still employed. You can submit bids for small projects to work on in your spare time and see what happens.
As with any business venture, you may find it unsuccessful in the beginning. In my personal experience, I only got five of my first 60 commandments. But I've learned from that experience, and it didn't cost me anything but some time and a battered ego.
Here is an excerpt from what I learned:
Your online resume is critical
Later on, there is a tendency to look at your customers' reviews on different platforms. But in the beginning you only have your résumé. Good freelance platforms provide guidance and even provide templates and examples to help you create an online profile.
It'll take a surprisingly long time to get it right. That's because it has to be short, with your self-assessment and research crystallized into a few meaningful paragraphs - a bit like the traditional elevator pitch. If you're convincing enough, the customer will ask for more.
Update your profile regularly by adding new skills and accomplishments and removing those that are no longer relevant. Ask customers to leave reviews. When you've done well, you usually enjoy doing it and are generous in your advocacy.
Your online profile is your number one marketing tool, so give it the attention it deserves.
Take the time to be very specific about the requirements in the project scope.
One of the downsides to online bidding is that the customer can be bombarded with thousands of responses. Yours will stand out when you've addressed all of the questions, when you've done some research on the client, and when you've shown exactly how your skills / expertise or approach will solve the client's problem. Try to show how you will deal with a particular problem - outline a problem, provide a framework, perhaps write a short section on the strategy.
This is no different from what we do in the normal corporate context - with the exception that it has to be short, concise and to the point. There is no place online for long descriptions and explanations.
No matter where in the world you and the customer are, try to set up an online meeting to get to know each other and talk face-to-face about the requirements. Relationships are as important as ever to a freelance business consultant.
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