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Should I Become A Consultant?. Pat E. Goodwin Pat Goodwin Associates You ARE One!. You already have an area of expertise. You have functioned often as an internal consultant. You were paid for that service—just not separately billed.

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Should I Become A Consultant?

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Should I BecomeA Consultant?

Pat E. Goodwin

Pat Goodwin Associates

You ARE One!

  • You already have an area of expertise.

  • You have functioned often as an internal consultant.

  • You were paid for that service—just not separately billed.

Difference: ‘Packaging’

An outside independent

Bill for the service

No responsibility for execution

Why do it?


Life Long Learning-You know more than you think you know

Good earning potential

Satisfying work-Challenging

Networking opportunity

We’re talking about . . .

NOT. . .

  • Working for a consulting firm


Solo operator but seek others expertise

Working out of home or low-overhead office

Do I Want to Do It?

  • Uncertainty of income

  • 3+ months of income saved

  • Prospecting

  • Selling

  • Hassles of self-employment

Can I Do It?

Do I have the ‘right stuff’?

Opportunity to learn

Get help- Other Consultants-Experts

What if I get over my depth?

What’s Your Expertise?

Functional or technical area(s)

Industry / industries

Geographic areas

A “matrixed” specialty?

Collaborate with support group of specialists

What We’ll Cover:

The consulting process

Managing your practice

Building your practice

Assessing your personal ‘fit’

The Consulting Process

The “How”


Giving (selling) advice professionally.

The Independent Consultant:

A personal service business based on trust.


‘Brain on legs’

Consulting vs. Contracting


  • Independent professional

  • Autonomy is critical

  • Deliverable is knowledge


  • Employee without benefits

  • Part of the team

  • Deliverable is a work product

Content vs. Process


  • Functional area

  • Technical expertise

  • Single intervention

  • Contract opportunity

  • Linear project

  • Boundary issues not key


  • Broad applicability

  • Team dynamics

  • Often expands

  • Contract will compromise role

  • Cyclical involvement

  • Boundary issues are critical

Edges get blurred . . .

  • Can slip easily from consultant to contractor

  • Can slip easily from content to process consulting

    Watch where you step!

Consulting Stages

Meet and qualify the client / issue

Define the agreement

Collect, analyze data-purpose, process, people, personal

Provide recommendations, possibly re-contract

Implementation phase

Close-out / follow-up

1. Meeting & Qualifying

  • Presenting problem

  • Background

  • Stakeholders and prime mover

  • Attempts to solve

  • Duration

  • Resources

  • Expectations

2. Defining Agreement

  • Services

  • Resources

  • Deliverables

  • Timetable

  • Compensation

  • Rights

  • Acceptance

3. Collect, Analyze Data

Start with stated problem: What they think they want may not be what they need

Get to all key stakeholders-Buy in

Get to important information sources

Peel the onion

Pinpoint the core issue

Define a practical solution:

Purpose, Process, People,


Why doesn’t the client do it

Data-Gathering Tips

What’s really important? To whom?

Follow the work flow (through silos?)

Anything working right? Where? Why?

Where’s resistance coming from? Why?

4. Recommendations

To all stakeholders

Start with stated problem

Trace the research

Reframe the problem-

Purpose, Process, People, Personal

Get all reactions

Sum up acceptance / resistance

Get closure—or re-contract

5. Implementation

Not the consultant’s role! Danger!

Can advise as consultant

Can refer a resource to implement

Can serve as overseer for implementation

6. Closeout / Follow-up

May complete the consult

On-going advice may be sought

Probability of follow-on work

Retained for audit / follow-up

References: Ask permission to use work as an example for other projects

Additional Reading

Flawless Consulting by Peter Block

Process Consulting by Edgar Schein

The Business of Consulting by Elaine Beich

Other recent books by Elaine Beich

Managing Your Practice

‘A Day in the Life . . .’

Business Plan

  • Content area?

  • Specific services?

  • Geographic market?

  • Market need trends?

  • Prospects?

  • Biz objectives?

  • Form of business?

  • Risks/constraints?

Setting Fees

What’s the market rate?

What’s my expertise worth?

What’s my income objective?

Market Rate?

In Texas today:

  • Day?

  • Hour?

    Other approaches:

  • Project

  • Service trade

  • Pro bono

Your Work Value


Your annual compensation

Divide by 2,000 (hours)

Your accustomed rate per hour


Multiply by 3 for parity

Multiply by 4 for uplift

Your Income Objective

$100,000 per year is…

Month:$ 8,500

Day:$ 850

Hour:$ 100

$150,000 per year is…

Month:$ 12,500

Day:$ 1,250

Hour:$ 175

Billable Days


Month total:31

Weekends: -7






Month total:31







  • Office . . . ?

  • Technology

  • Administrative

  • Marketing / Branding

  • Professional

  • Self-employment taxes & benefits

  • Travel Costs

  • Insurance / Legal Fees

Building Your Practice

How Do I Get Clients?

Where to start?

  • You’re not at ground zero!

  • Check your resources: Vendors, Customers

  • Check all contacts!

  • Sort as:

    - prospects (platinum!!)

    - advocates (gold!)

    - talkers (silver)

What works:


  • New networking

  • Old networking


  • Speaking / Teaching

  • Lecturing

  • Publishing

Don’t overdo:

  • Brochures

  • Direct mail

  • “Broadside” flyers

  • Advertising

  • Yellow pages

    (Save your money)

Prospects to clients:

Personal familiarity

Trusted referral

Quiet research

Validating your credentials

Trial contact

Bio Data Sheet, Business Cards

Web Presence

  • Checklist item

  • Doesn’t “sell”

  • Validates your practice

  • Gives you global reach

Web Page Features

  • Identity

  • Credentials

  • Photo/Bio

  • Charter / niche

  • Services

  • Professional Groups

  • Testimonials

  • Examples

  • Fee guidelines

  • Availability

  • Topics

  • E-mail link LinkedIn

Web Page Benefits

  • Tells your unique story

  • Validates prospect’s choice

  • Makes ‘yes’ easy: comfort zone

  • Can be interactive

  • Easy to keep fresh

Practice-building keys:

Display your knowledge, expertise

Professional visibility in the right places

Show your unique style

Frequently add value

Assessing YourPersonal ‘Fit’

Is It Right for You?

Benefits of Consulting

  • Autonomy

  • Variety

  • Low cost of entry

  • Low overhead

  • High earning potential

  • Great satisfaction, if a fit

Risks of Consulting

  • No structure

  • No support system

  • Income uncertainty

  • Need to invest in self with uncertain return

  • Work-life integration issues


  • No structure?

  • Self-promotion?

  • Closing a sale?

  • Comfort zone?

  • Personal situation?

  • Money drive?

High-earning Consultant:

Strong drive to make money


Works a niche

Strong belief in self

Focused, Disciplined, Motivated

Comfort with selling

‘Expert power’ drive

The Consulting Conflict

‘Expert power’ drive


Money drive

Comfort Zone:

Built-in structure

Rewards of managing

Satisfaction of getting results

Accepted expertise

Test the waters…

  • Tricky to ‘try it for a while’

  • Tough to toggle with job search

  • Contracting is viable option

  • Consulting can lead to employment

Making the Decision


  • Expertise

  • Interest

  • Risks


  • Financial

  • Spouse, family

  • Circumstances


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