Independent consulting is a career that involves a lot of autonomy and responsibility. You are your own boss, which can be both exhilarating and stressful. Growing your independent consulting business takes time, energy, and focus, but it can be an immensely rewarding experience both professionally and personally.
Here are four tips to help you grow your independent consulting business:
- Develop a strong personal brand.
- Be clear on your target market.
- Specialize in a specific area.
- Build your network
Growing as independent business consultants requires a mix of strategic planning, thoughtful execution, and a little bit of luck. But by following these actionable steps, you can set yourself up for success and build a thriving consulting business.
1. Develop a strong personal brand.
As an independent consultant, your personal brand is everything. It’s how you market yourself and differentiate yourself from the competition. Spend time developing a strong personal brand that clearly communicates who you are, what you do, and what value you bring to your clients.
How do you develop a personal brand for independent consulting, though? Start by creating a website, profile on a freelance marketplace like OnFrontiers, and social media profiles that showcase your work, thought leadership, and areas of expertise.
Utilizing industry keywords within your headlines and titles will set you apart from the competition and help you rank higher in search results. Ensure your branding is consistent across all channels and that your content is high-quality and engaging.
2. Be clear on your target market.
Who are your ideal clients? What needs do they have that you can help them with? When you’re clear on who you want to work with, it becomes much easier to market yourself effectively and attract the right kind of clients.
Engaging with clients who are the right fit for your business will help you build a reputation as a go-to expert in your field and lead to referrals down the line. Remember that your target market may change over time as you gain more experience and expertise, so don’t be afraid to revisit this question periodically.
3. Specialize in a specific area.
While it’s important to be a Jack (or Jill) of all trades as an independent consultant, it’s also important to focus on a specific area or niche. This will make you more attractive to potential clients who are looking for someone with your particular expertise.
Consulting specialists are in high demand, so if you can position yourself as an expert in a particular area, you’ll be more likely to land consulting gigs. Broad topics like healthcare, information technology, operations, or finance can be difficult to break into without a specialty.
Perhaps you have experience working in a certain industry or with a certain type of client. For example, you could be well versed in implementing electronic medical records systems or have a deep understanding of the pharmaceutical industry.
By focusing on a specialty, you can set yourself apart from other consultants who may be offering similar services. Use this to your advantage and focus your marketing efforts on these companies or individuals. Not sure what area to specialize in? Consider your skills, experience, and interests. Ask yourself questions like:
- What comes easily to you?
- What do you enjoy doing?
- What do people come to you for help with?
Your answers to these questions can help you zero in on a specialty.
4. Build your network
As an independent consultant, networking is essential to your success. Get involved with industry associations, attend trade shows and conferences, and connect with other professionals on social media. These connections can help you expand your reach, build credibility, and find new clients.
A freelance marketplace can be an excellent opportunity to network in ways you’d otherwise not be able to. OnFrontiers is a software as a service (SaaS) marketplace that links knowledge seekers to information providers in the public sector.
The OnFrontiers expert concierge team can assist you in developing profiles that showcase:
- Relevant career history
- Interests, and
- Hourly rates.
Connecting with potential clients on OnFrontiers allows consultants to get in front of a relevant and engaged audience, furthering the development of their personal brand. Networking on platforms like OnFrontiers enables consultants to reach a global network of clients, many of whom they would not have access to otherwise.
Building a successful independent consulting business takes time, effort, and dedication. But if you’re willing to put in the work, the rewards can be great. By following the tips outlined above, you can set yourself up for success and position yourself as a go-to expert in your field.