How do I transition from being a contracted staff member providing business development services to a freelance consultant?
I've been hired over and over again to come in to small businesses and help them reorganize and positioned for growth. I want to start consulting full time instead so I can help several clients at the same time. But I'm lost at starting my own business model as I'm unsure of how to price myself and what services to offer... And even if I can make enough money at it for it to be worth it. I'm looking for resources, a mentor, guidance, something.
It would seem that you have relevant experiece and success in hand. You ARE then a consultant. You have to brand and market yourself as such. Let the businesses and managers you have done contract work for know you are now available for consulting work. Use them as references. Build your sales collateral amd website around the successful experiences you have enjoyed. Most importantly FOCUS. The biggest mistake entry level consultants is to try to be all things to all entities. Present yourself as the expert in your strongest area of competence. I only work in the consumer product space. When I am approached with technologies, services, software, science projects, etc. I decline. Like Dirty Harry said, "A man has got to know his limitations".
Contact me if you want to discuss.
How is what you are doing any different from being a "freelance" consultant? Only that you are allowing your clients to come at you one at a time. It's probably not even that cost-effective for them to pay you full-time if it doesn't really require a full-time effort.
As to pricing, start from what you are getting paid now and add 50% to represent what an employer is really paying to have you on board. Divide by 1800 to get a "fair" hourly rate that will end up costing your employer less. (maybe even divide by 1500 to represent months when you have no income ["marketing time"!]).
You should always be three to four times your present hourly wage or $120 USD an hour whichever is higher. Don't start by charging low as you will end up staying there. You have to realize that you aren't going to be working full time and build that factor in as you will have down time.
I would also start speaking to groups as a way of establishing myself as an expect.
I can only suggest that you have strong belief...belief in you!!!!, give to clients what you know is missing from your past experiences, they were the things that validated the idea to begin your on company in the first place....I wish you luck!!
YOUR INTUITION IS THE BEST JUDGEMENT!!
What is your profession, if you have any, start charging low but not too low.
1- make up a complete list of your own core competencies i.e. what do you have that companies are willing to pay for?
2-Locate other professionals with the same skillsets: Google "management consultants";
3- Consider joining one of them as an affiliate in order to find out what the ground rules are, and how much to charge. At least get pay scale from them as if you were a potential client - and find out SPECIFICALLY what they're being paid for.
4-This should provide both a game plan and a mentor.
5-Finally: the best-paid consultants charge on a percentage-of-improvement - NOT an hourly rate.
A year from now you will have a game plan, a specific prospecting system, a specific set of skillsets to showcase, a pricing plan, and maybe a new car.
As the old saying goes: "physician heal theyself!" Look at your own situation as a business you are responsible for helping to grow.
Look at the companies that have placed you and see how they go to market. You may not be able to afford thier type of marketing and sales but it should give you an idea how they get their contacts and contracts.
If you are just starting out, think "cash flow" and spend as little as possible on materials and facilities. Spend you time and money building a network by going to business venues in your area. You will need some minimum "marketing" assets like a business cards (<$35) and maybe a website (<$100/yr).
Also, be sure to join key social media/blogs/forums related to your target market's businesses - not yours - it's like selling to yourself! Develop you profiles completely on these networks so people can see you as someone who knows thier problem and can solve it (don't mention Money!)
A tip: think in what you do best, build a short story to tell about that, and find a customer that belives in you. This is the begining.
The market will drive you then.
I share the same dilemma with you however, in my case I don't have pipeline business and hence often take a bit of some time between one assignment and another. On a lighter note though, remember that start consulting on a fulltime basis you have to brand yourself. For instance, do you have a company or personal website where you can exhibit work you have done previously including recommendations received. You may also want to set up offices . for example the virtual offices type at a relatively good address.
Hi friend. That was exactly my case. First of all, remember that the difference between knowledge and wisdom is: Knowledge: know what to do....Wisdom: do it.
I am not anyone to advise you. I can tell u my experience, but it's my experience, with "my glasses", not yours.
I changed from staff member to freelancer consultant for (now) six companies, in different areas: BDM, Proccess, etc...
I contracted a agency services for my "legal issues" (payments to State, legal status of freelance...)
Then, I signed a contract with every company that asked for my services (written by the agency).
About the price...A price in relation to the market and the value...the different value you offer. Do you know what r u offering, different to the rest? Are you able to generate business for your clients? Are you, not only a freelancer but a business angel? After your years of experience: can you offer not only know how but "client list"? What else do you offer?
Apart of it. What would be the salary of a person of your profile in a Full Time Employed model? Have you calculated price/hour, with all the hidden costs? I.E. A person of 75.000€/year has a really cost for the Co (in Spain) of aprox 120.000€ (salary + assurance + taxes + equipment + desk, power, network, water, vacancy...) Dividing among 160 hours per month you have a cost.
Your speech: As a freelance, I have hardly hidden costs...(I pay my assurance, my taxes, my equipment, I only make an invoice if I work...
So my cost per hour is...for example: 75€/hour, or 500,00€/complete day...or 2.000€/week. or 3.500€/two weeks, or 6.500€/month and so on...much cheaper than a staff member...
And....for results of a company, is much bettter a external frelance that a person with payroll...You are not in the passive of the company.
So, let's go. Jump and do it.
If you need a mentor, contact with me and my Co.(email@example.com)