A solid consulting practice is built through hard work and a willingness to take risk.

No check goes into my bank account unless I go out and win the business.  In consulting, you have to hunt what you eat.  I get out the binoculars, climb the mountain, scout the herd, get out my bow and arrow, shoot it, kill it, cook it, eat it, and throw away the bones.  It’s all up to me.  If you want to build a sustainable consulting business, there is no way to avoid being directly responsible for landing projects. This is a bit of a funny analogy since I’ve been a vegetarian for many years, but the important point is that you have to hunt what you eat in consulting.  There is no grocery store.

The hardest thing any consultant does every day is bring in the business.  If you are a partner in a big consulting company, what is your top priority?  Bringing in the business.  Not doing the billable work.  This is true for any industry that lives and dies by the billable hour and it will be true for you too.

Building a successful business is hard work.  In the early days, I did the billable work and didn’t worry about the rest.  I have several years of corporate experience and a fancy MBA, so I have no excuse for why I didn’t treat my business like a business.  Now I have a Business Plan, a Marketing Plan and a Financial Plan.

Do You NEED to Make Six Figures?

This is less about the six figures and more about needing to make money.  Unless you need the money, you probably aren’t going to be willing to do the hard work it takes to build a successful consulting business.  I’ll tell you right now, the hardest thing about being a consultant is bringing in the business.  All of us can do the work, it’s the work we’ve been doing all these years.  It will probably take you out of your comfort zone to sell yourself.  But don’t worry, I’ll help you learn to love it.

Are You Willing to Take Risk?

Jumping off the corporate track may seem risky and it is.  But I know what’s in my pipeline and I know where my business is going.  My revenue each month is not always perfectly predictable like your corporate pay check.  But we all know, some of us painfully, that you can walk into your corporate job any time and unexpectedly be laid off.  So, I don’t think the risk is much higher and I have complete control.  There shouldn’t be any surprises.

It is wise to prepare, educate yourself and lay the groundwork before you jump off.  A mama in one of my recent programs did just that.  She spent a few months getting things in place, figuring out what she needed to do and talking to people before she took the plunge.  She was able to hit the ground running and start doing billable work right away.

My Goal was No Corporate 9-to-5 Job for the First Year

My first goal was to be able to work mostly from home for the baby’s first year.  A new baby is already overwhelming, so I wanted to take baby steps (pun intended).  I fired up my business development activities and pledged to treat my business more like a business.  I put together a detailed marketing plan and focused on execution.  My hard work paid off and my pipeline started to fill with high-quality prospects.  Now 15 years later, I never let a day go by without doing something toward networking, marketing or business development.

Take Control and Take the Plunge!

The mission of Billable with Baby® is to help you find the courage to start your own consulting business so you can have the freedom and flexibility to raise your children the way you wish.  You can replace the full time pay your family needs.  I am excited to meet all the new moms as we grow this Billable with Baby® community!  Please join our free group of ambitious mothers starting and running successful consulting businesses, Billable with Baby® Community.  Selfishly, I am hoping lots of you join me, so I will be surrounded by even more like-minded moms.

This is the second of the Top Seven Things to Know About Starting Your Own Consulting Business.  Although it’s shockingly easy to get started, it takes hard work to build a sustainable consulting practice.  The next post is about the importance of working in an area where you have deep experience and expertise.

Top Seven Things to Know About Starting Your Own Consulting Business

  1. It’s easier than you think to get started
  2. Then it takes hard work and risk
  3. Work in an area where you have deep experience
  4. Pent up demand phenomenon
  5. Never let a day go by without doing something to bring in business
  6. What do I love?
  7. What do I hate?

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