From Executive To Consulting (4 Best Practices & Case Study) was originally published on uConnect External Content.
In 2021, millions of Americans quit their jobs. And more than 40% of the global workforce considered quitting their job.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the modern workplace — for good.
Spending more time working from home, employees — and executives — around the world had more time to reflect on what really matters.
Many of them loved the flexibility, freedom, and work-life balance that telecommunication offered them.
They would never give that up.
The “Great Resignation” is a fitting name.
For years now, I’ve seen many executives make the transition to consulting.
The events of the past 2 years have only accelerated that trend.
There’s no better time for executives to take their skills to the market, serve multiple clients, and build a successful consulting business.
By the end of this article, you’ll have key best practices on how you can upgrade your executive career into a thriving consulting business.
Executive To Consulting Best Practices
As an executive, you’re well-positioned to transition to consulting.
You have the experience, credentials, and network to make it happen.
Here are 4 best practices that correlate with a successful transition.
1.Tell Everyone You Know (Network Reactivation)
If you want to be a consultant, remember this: your network is almost always the best way to jumpstart your new practice.
A recent Consulting Success study on How to Become a Consultant showed that for over 50% of people a past employer was their first consulting client.
Want opportunities to flow your way faster? Make sure that everyone around you knows that you’re planning to become a consultant.
Tell them what problems you solve, your area of expertise, and the type of organizations and people you want to work with.
This leads to more referrals and introductions and can often create fruitful conversations and your first few engagements.
2.Create & Refine Your Messaging
Who you serve, what problems you can solve, what results you can create, and why clients should hire you: these are the elements of an effective Magnetic Message.
Here’s the formula we teach our clients: I help [WHO] to [solve WHAT problem] so they can [see WHAT results]. My [WHY choose me].
Here’s a real life example from Amanda Hill, former P&G Director, and now CEO of her own consulting business:
“We help CPG brands sell more effectively to women and achieve a 300% ROI by positioning your brand to appeal to women”
Use it across all of your marketing materials (your LinkedIn profile, consulting website, email signature, etc).
3.Set Retainer or Value-Based Fees (Instead Of Hourly):
At some point, you’re going to have to put a price on your services. How? By understanding the value that you can create for your client.
For example, if your services generate an extra $50K a month for your client, price your service in relation to that. Instead of charging $150 per hour, charge 10% of $50K: $5000 per month.
Who wouldn’t invest $5K per month to get $50K per month?
Providing a 3X-5X or greater return on investment is what you want to achieve.
The way you do that is by learning to ask powerful questions. Dig deep to understand what the buyer values most and how your expertise can help them to achieve the outcome and result they desire.
4.Put Systems In Place
Once you get your first few clients, what comes next? How can you replicate your success and do it over and over again? This is where systems come into play.
By documenting each task and activity you perform, you’ll be able to create a process and system around it.
You’ll quickly identify areas that are inefficient that you can remove or improve. And you’ll have a system that you can follow to work more efficiently and effectively.
Having a system will also allow you to start bringing on others to help you. Whether that’s a part time VA, a contractor or a full time employee.
Create a system for everything you do in your business: invoicing a client, writing a social media post on LinkedIn, completing a project task for a client, etc.
In addition to these benefits, having systems in place increases the value of your business. You might not be thinking about selling your business in the future. But why not build it so you can?
Systems increase the value of your business. When the business is 100% reliant on you, it has no value. It can’t be sold. When things are documented, clear processes exist and there are systems in place, the business becomes far more valuable.
Executive To Consultant Case Study: David Lee
Prior to starting his consulting firm, David Lee served in various executive roles in large healthcare organizations.
He’d raised over $50M for the organizations he worked for.
But being a Midwesterner at heart, David’s modesty prevented him from communicating the tremendous value he could bring to his clients.
David placed a concrete value on his expertise and skill set. He made that value the centerpiece of his messaging and marketing.
He was also charging a measly hourly rate compared to the results he created.
David shifted from charging by the hour to a retainer-based fee structure. As a result, he’s maximized his revenue without having to overwork himself.
Though he’s still in the early stages of his business, David grew his client base from one to seven clients.
Leverage Your Knowledge and Skills
By focusing on…
- Getting their name out there to the connections and colleagues…
- Creating a message to attract the attention of their ideal client…
- Setting profitable fees and avoiding the hourly billing trap…
- Implementing repeatable systems to generate repeatable results…
David was able to start a successful consulting business.
If you’re an executive and you want to start a consulting business, there’s no reason you can’t do the same.
With consistent action, and focusing on putting the right foundation in place, you can transition from employment to consulting while enjoying greater freedom, flexibility, and income growth potential.
Read more on how to: Write a Great Resignation Letter (and Leave Without Burning Bridges)