A Consultant’s Life in 2009 and Beyond

A consultant can be best defined as one who chooses not to be an employee; one who is willing to depend upon his or her own talents, abilities, and expertise for continued existence; one who is a risk taker – knowing that there is no weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly pay checks; one who may seem to be a little crazy and weird to his peers, but one is willing to try to make a difference in the world.

In that you work for yourself, you have to organize your own day. I have used Anytime Organizer for the past several years. I organize my day around set blocks of time and types of work and Anytime Organizer has proved to be great software for help in doing so. For example, you may break your day down into one hour segments or thirty minute segments depending on the type of work and how much time may be needed to complete that type of work. Some consulting work might require more time to be spent on the phone. Consequently, you may allow an hour for phone calls and follow-up to phone calls, while you may allow just thirty minutes for reviewing reports, and an hour for billing. The day and times allocated to each type of work may vary depending upon the type of consulting work that you do. Some type of work may be required each day, while some might just be required just once a week. The main thing is that over time it become clear as to how much time you need to allocate to the specific type of work each week and what adjustment you need to make

A typical day in a consultant’s life includes:

o making phone calls,
o checking e-mails,
o visiting clients,
o reviewing reports,
o writing reports,
o billing clients,
o going to meetings,
o and writing letters.

And, of course, until you become well established, you have to consistently obtain work which includes prospecting, asking for referrals, dealing with no answers, and marketing. Getting paid for your work includes billing, following up on billings, and negotiating rates.

Being a consultant means willing to accept extended periods of working alone while balancing that need with time to have fun with others. It also means dealing with the challenge of finding those times and making those times meaningful.

Over time you want to develop the reputation as one who puts the client first; one is willing to take the extra step; one who is sincerely committed to the idea of adding value to what you do; and one who is willing to make a commitment to becoming an expert in your chosen field.