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“Independent Consulting Part 1: Why your business track record will not guarantee your success in Independent Consulting”

Posted by Clive on February 1, 2019

This is the first blog in a series of 4 four explaining what Independent Consulting is and what it takes to be successful as an Independent Consultant.

I’ll start off with an important message, not just for Independent Consultants but also anyone who is seriously thinking about becoming an Independent Consultant. And that is:

“Success in business does not equate to success as an Independent Consultant.”

Let me say that again,

"Success in business does not equate to success as an Independent Consultant”

Before I explain why, a quick story from my personal journey into Consultancy to give you some context. I left line management with a global multinational to join a leading consultancy firm and I thought, “You know what, I’ve achieved great things here, so surely leveraging my experience and business know-how will naturally lead to a successful career in consultancy”

Well…wrong!

As soon as I started working with the consulting firm, they put the metaphorical consulting chip in my neck and I was immersed in learning the consulting toolkit. I got that this was different from business!

You see, Consulting firms don’t employ consultants unless they either have a solid grounding in consulting capabilities or have the ability and desire to develop the required skills. Why should this be any different for Independent Consultants? To truly act as an Independent Consultant, you must acquire the capabilities to do so.

Yes, business competence, experience, content and market expertise are important ingredients for a consultant. After all, you will be dealing with business leaders every day who will expect you to speak the same language and have credibility within their business. But that is just an entry level requirement for a consultant. It’s just not enough and here’s why…

Working on a client business as a consultant is very different from working in a business as an employee. Client expectations of all consultants are very different from those of business employees. You’re expected to be a catalyst for change; you will need to shift your behaviour from doing business to transforming business. New ways of working and new skills are required.

Check out my next blog, “Independent Consulting Part 2: Why client expectations of consultants are different from those of business employees.”

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