Working for yourself as a team development consultant, facilitator, or trainer can be very rewarding to say the least. And during the past recession, many professionals …especially those in their late 40’s and 50’s… became fed up with stagnant wages, extra workloads acquired from downsized peers, and growing workplace incivility.
These talented individuals are managers or team leaders who have a wealth of knowledge and skills to offer organizations experiencing growing pains due to issues such as looming change initiatives, massive hiring efforts, or reorganizations. With years of experience, education, and leadership mentoring under their belts, these individuals have acquired the skills to effectively and successfully coach teams within organizations. They have talents in managing projects, increasing employee productivity and engagement, implementing new programs and policies, or working with business start-ups. So these industrious individuals who have amassed knowledge over the past 20-30 years are looking to leave the workforce to write their own ticket because they are simply not compensated for their wealth of knowledge and experience.
Of course starting and successfully running your own consulting business comes with a few challenges to overcome. We’ll address a few of them here and provide resources and solutions so you can become your own boss. First, let’s whet your whistle by looking at the benefits of being a self employed consultant or business coach.
- Business coaches and consultants write their own schedule.
- They have the option to outsource tasks such as administrative duties or web design so they can focus on the core of their business.
- They can work out of a home office or closer to home to minimize commute stress.
- They can purchase resources and tools such as software to manage projects, income, and expenses.
- They can work with clients who respect and value their services.
- They determine their own income potential and need not rely on the occasional “pay raise.”
- They determine their own work/life balance
Now let’s look at a few potential road blocks and remove them from the path to becoming a self-employed consultant or coach.
Hurdle #1- Finding proven consulting resources to ensure continuing success
There is nothing like having a handful of training tools that don’t complement your client’s values and are zapping your profitability by charging exorbitant royalty fees. You want to start and certify with a turnkey program that gives you the opportunity to collaborate with other consultants, provide work culture diagnostics to bring about change fast, and catalyze good team behavior. Avoid programs that tell you how to do something and choose a fully developed, certified program that provides actionable strategies utilizing proven team development tools and methods.
Hurdle #2 – Start up Funding
It’s no secret that funding any business, let alone a consulting business, is a foremost concern to all entrepreneurs and solo-entrepreneurs. Unless you have accumulated a pile of money to jump from the corporate rat race to starting your own business, you may want to consider some of these funding options. All involve risk and need to be scrutinized thoroughly, but the rewards can be great.
- IRS ROBS project or Rollovers As Business Startups allows company founders to rollover 401(k) savings into their new corporation’s profit sharing plan to fund the business. Strict IRS regulations apply, but worth looking into.
- Traditional loan financing via financial institutions. With a sound business plan and established relationship with your banker, you may be able to secure a line of credit or business loan to expand or get your business off the ground.
- Equity Financing ranges from family and friends to “angel investors” willing to invest in your business and stake a small claim in ownership.
Hurdle #3 – Finding “right fit” clients that keep you well paid and booked
If you are working with clients that undervalue your service, resist your expertise, or are sabotaging your success, these types of clients will demoralize you and doom your budding consulting practice. Also avoid falling into the habit of discounting your services to win the project – you’ll have a tough time raising your rates later. These are just a few common pitfalls for both beginning and seasoned consultants and coaches. You end up putting in long, arduous hours…. effectively lowering your income and missing opportunities with clients who are willing to pay handsomely for your knowledge and expertise.
That’s why I am bringing an exclusive opportunity to independent consultants, business coaches, facilitators, and trainers. I am offering a 90 minute “free” webinar that addresses the 3 biggest mistakes that keep business consultants, facilitators, coaches, and trainers from succeeding. Several classes are offered now through the middle of May. You’ll learn how to apply immediate practical methods that will have you earning more and working with committed clients who appreciate your worth!
Copyright TIGERS Success Series by Dianne Crampton
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