Are you tempted by the freedom of being self-employed but worried that you can’t get projects enough to match or surpass your current salary? Or maybe you’re already your own boss but would like to expand your possibilities to sign new projects? Then keep on reading this, because here I’ll give you 4 tips on how to best sell yourself as an independent consultant.
There are many advantages to the freelance life but with that freedom, there also comes a need to constantly be looking for new projects and new clients. At the same time, your clients expect you to be up to date with the newest development in your field, as it is this expertise and special knowledge that makes you attractive to hire as a consultant.
In other words, it is a good idea to have a clear strategy for how you find new clients as you’ll also need time to work on the projects you’ve already taken on, further educate yourself, accounting and what else comes with being self-employed.
1. Pick up that phone
Good old cold-calling might not be something praised far and wide, but it can be very effective. Some might find it uncomfortable because they find it difficult to be rejected, even by a person they don’t know. But remember not to take the rejection personally and keep going. If you have prepared yourself and know how you can create value for your client you’re doing them a favour by proactively calling them and offering your services. If you keep that mindset while calling, you’ll also have an easier time convincing your client the same thing.
2. Leverage and grow your network
Maybe you already have a great network you can reach out to. Ask people that know you professionally to recommend you in their network (make it easy for them by for instance making a nice Linkedin post they can share). Someone in your direct network might even need assistance that you can provide and therefore it’s important that they know that you are now available as an independent consultant. Remember that friends and family is also a part of your network (and a very loyal part of it), who might also have a professional self that can help you along. If you are new on the market, or just don’t have that big of a network yet, then starting using your private network and improve your professional one step by step. There are tons of events for you to participate in where you can meet potential clients and business partners. IoD, Institute of Directors, in the UK has a lot of networking events, focused on various topics, but also regional events where you can get to talk to and network with other local businesses. Remember your clients don’t have to do the same as you do (that’s why they need to hire you) so think out of the box and take any opportunity that presents itself.
3. Let your clients find you – take advance of the digital opportunities
A lot of buying processes, also of consultants, start on Google, or at least online, so a good visibility in the search engines and a professional digital presence is a great way to attract new clients. A good Linkedin profile that you can send clients to is a must-have. Next step is a webpage where you in words and pictures can show who you are and what you do. With references from past clients, you can also show potential clients your value. You might even consider blogging and establishing yourself as an expert in your field. This can, in the long run, lead clients to remember you when they need an expert with your profile.
4. Use a freelance consultant agency
The last tip I want to leave you with is to let a freelance consultant agency find the projects for you. Freelance consultant companies are all about matching projects with consultants. We do a lot of what is sketched above but with the crucial difference that we don’t solve the projects our selves but find the perfect consultants to do so. This means that you can sign up for our mailing list with your skills and the geographic area in which you prefer to work and then get a project-mail every time a project matches your profile.
Most freelance IT consultants use this to find new projects because it’s effective, gives a broad spectrum of projects to choose from and minimizes the time without projects. It can be hard to both be working on a project and at the same time be looking for the next one. But sending your resume as an answer to a project-mail is doable. You can sign up for our project list here.
If you are an IT-specialist and good at what you do, then there is definitely a market for you as an independent IT consultant. So if you aren’t already self-employed, all I have to say is “Just do it!” If you use a couple of the tips from above I have no doubt you’ll succeed!