I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I actually owned a small event planning company a few years ago. It didn’t make it very far but that’s another story for another blog…..Today as a part-time independent consultant, I enjoy the work I do. I love being able to problem solve and create communications strategies. And I love having to answer to myself. <–I’m an only child so this, I’m sure, is by design. 🙂 In short consulting comes naturally.
Sunday marked month two since I landed my first client under Friends of Ebonie Consulting. In early April what started off as two old colleagues exchanging best practices over coffee, ended up with Adrienne Nicole Productions becoming my very first client! I jumped right into her project. I tweeted and tweeted and tweeted to my heart’s content. I knew if I could ace this project, I could handle others. This opportunity pushed me to market myself and meet other prospective client organizations….It worked!
I now have seven client projects on the Friends of Ebonie Consulting roster. Two are completed. Four I am currently working on. And one I’m getting ready to kick start within a week. It hasn’t been all roses and gumdrops though. I’ve had a few hiccups and I’ve even had to tell a potential client we wouldn’t be able to work together. That is not the easiest part to digest but I’m learning it’s all a part of the process. That said, I thought I’d share a few quick take-a-ways you (or someone you know) may find helpful as a newbie to consulting:
1. Time management
….is key! If you know nothing else, know how to manage your time. It’s the most precious thing you have. Be diligent with your time. Get a day planner. Use your phone’s calendar. Use all the tools you can to be on top of your schedule. The better managed you are the better you service your clients.
2. Communication is everything
I am a natural communicator, i.e. I love to talk- a lot. 🙂 For once in my life, talking a lot comes in handy. When your goal is to satisfy the needs of another business, the urgency to get things right becomes imperative. Keeping the lines of communication open is unquestionably a must. I email clients weekly- sometimes daily. I speak to them at least 3 times during the project. I’m also sure I’d use Morse code if I could. Whatever it takes, communicate, communicate, communicate.
3. Be a master organizer
Organization is vital as a consultant. Unless you’re fortunate enough to start your agency with a full staff, most likely you will be like the rest of us serving as your own assistant, scheduler, document creator, project manager, etc. etc. The ability to keep all these moving parts well oiled is very important but it’s not easy. However, when you love what you’re doing it all becomes worth it.
I have my hands full but I am enjoying it. I really am. Civic work has always been my passion. I’ve done everything from volunteering to fundraising. But consulting….it is my everything. I advise from a place of compassion and concern. With each developed communications strategy, my purpose for doing this becomes crystal clear: It’s not just for the well-being of the organization, it’s for those individuals whose lives are changed through the organization’s work. If I can help my client’s brand themselves better, promote their program offerings in a more engaging way or revise donor solicitation letters that help to bring in more funds, in the end we all win!
So here’s to the next two months, two years, and maybe even two decades of consulting that makes a difference!
Excuse me….I will now hit my dougie!