I have been a consultant for 18 years. Long enough to know some people roll their eyes, think I only work 2 hours a day, or can make my own schedule around my favorite TV shows. Wrong!
I am a business owner whose clients depend on me to achieve our set-upon goals. If I didn’t work diligently, honestly, and flexibly, I would not have some clients for 10+ years. Yes, still take the time to search out new and exciting projects.
As an audience development/marketing/database management consultant (the role changes with the project) on a daily basis I have to:
- Get work done on schedule.
- Listen to my clients’ needs, sometimes helping them to articulate their goals.
- Regularly communicate project status and ideas to current clients. Also attend in-person and phone meetings.
- Be vigilant to make sure that my customers respond to emails and phone calls, so projects don’t stall.
- Know a variety of vendors my clients can work with—email providers, telemarketing, database management, email, auditing firms, copy writers, others I can partner with on certain projects.
- Stay involved in the marketing industry by reading, attending events, and doing.
- Have experience working with different social media platforms.
- Keep abreast of changing rules impacting outbound and inbound marketing emails ie. CAN-SPAM laws , telemarketing, BPA, USPS with regards to mailing periodicals.
Plus, there is ongoing work to do to keep my business running:
- Have trusted professionals who help me with design work, accounting, legal, and financial issues.
- Seek out new prospects, put together proposals as requested. Revise pricing for current clients as projects change.
- Keep my blog updated, to communicate my business knowledge and perspective to clients and prospects.
- Keep up with billing, processing payments.
- Handle marketing, create a new logo and website.
Every year I think I learn to run my business more effectively. This year, for the first time, I have followed the lead of successful business owners and set aside weekly time on my calendar to focus on growing and honing my business. It’s too easy to spend all day on project work, not focusing on the business. This set-aside time has made me more efficient, given me some new ideas to try this year.
The balance of client-related work vs. running the business is delicate, yet important to manage. So yes, I am a consultant. And a successful business owner. And proud of both.
The journey continues.