Four Steps to Earning Your First $200,000 in Consulting
The consulting industry is booming, but what does it take to make it work?
You're looking for a new career but don't know where to start? I'm here to help. I've been in your shoes, working more than 40 hours a week, and I’ve now found success as a consultant working with companies like Universal Music Group, 21st Century Fox, and Disney. Let me teach you how to develop your brand, find clients through social media marketing on Linkedin and Twitter. If any of these steps sound daunting or too challenging, don't worry - I have included a LinkedIn script below that landed my first client within three days.
1. Define your target market
It is super important to decide who you want to work with. I'll go through some examples below, but this can include anyone from marketing executives at Fortune 500 companies or entrepreneurs looking for consulting services in their industry.
For example, suppose your target market is entrepreneurs looking for consulting services specializing in social media marketing. In that case, you may want to start by researching companies that have a presence on Linkedin or Instagram. You can also join LinkedIn and Facebook groups related to the topic area like "Social Media Marketing." At this point, it's up to you how far you want to go with finding potential leads. It's crucial that you know who your target market is and what field they're in so you can approach them.
2. Build relationships
Public speaking is an excellent way to build relationships with potential clients. Many successful consultants have found leads from speaking at events like TEDx and other marketing conferences. The bottom line is that it's essential to decide who you want to work with and then focus your efforts on finding them. It can take time, but if those are the people you're most passionate about working for, it will be worth it in the end.
You want relationships, so don't come across as disingenuous or self-promotional when reaching out. It might be helpful to keep some stats handy, like how many friends you know who have benefitted from your consulting strategies and advice.
3. Learn how to sell yourself
Spending time on LinkedIn sharing content on your feed, commenting, and engaging with other influencers will help you grow a strong, lead-generating network. I use it to build partnerships by reaching out to companies with which my company shares a target market or an overlapping customer base. One effective technique is to share your expertise with marketing executives, follow them, wait for them to follow you back, then send a message with your contact information. Here is one of the most compelling scripts that helped me land my first client.
"Hi [name], I spent years working at [companies you’ve worked for] while working closely with amazing folks like [mutual connection you know well]. I see such incredible potential in your company, and I would love to be a part of it in any way.
My primary focus is growth marketing, with a lot of experience writing [publications you’ve written for] for the same audience and users you seem to be attracting.
I’d love to tell you more about how my skill set could help you all reach and exceed your Q4 growth goals.
Thank you for connecting here on Linkedin."
4. Find clients, and never give up!
If there's one piece of advice I can offer about finding work as a consultant, it would be to never give up. I learned this while pursuing a side hustle while studying in Sweden.
At the time, I was struggling to find work and ended up applying for an unpaid project at a respected university. The professor agreed but told me it wouldn't be worth my time unless I could bring in at least one research sponsor over six months, a tall order considering how many were already on their roster.
After much deliberation, I decided to take on the project anyway, figuring what's the worst that could happen? Thankfully, using the Linkedin script described above, three companies I reached out to actually expressed an interest in hiring me as a consultant.
I'm living proof that anyone can earn their first $200,000 consulting. It’s not easy, but it is possible and worth the effort to have a flexible life with more free time with your family. It took me years, so don't get discouraged if things are slow going right off the bat. Sometimes waiting is what makes everything worth it in the end.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor