This month, we feature adviser Nicolette Taylor, who shares how she provided the resources and support to help an IT consultant do what he already knew he could – become an independent.
“He had done his homework, was willing to network, and took full advantage of the resources I provided for him. I could tell he had the right mindset; he was ready for independence.”
When I get a phone call from someone trying to find out if independent work is right for them, I’m always looking for a certain type of person. It’s the type that isn’t afraid to go out and find their own clients, the type that actually wants to learn about networking and marketing to get that next contract.
I think one of the reasons that independent mindset is so important is that becoming an independent doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process with a learning curve, and it’s more than just a new job; it’s a lifestyle. There are resources and experts out there to help, but the true independent professional is the one who actively seeks that information, instead of waiting for it to come to them.
I recently was able to work with someone who embodied that independent spirit. He was an IT expert in the biotech field, and after 15 years of working his way up, he felt like there were more opportunities for him if he took the risk of going out on his own. After a peer showed him a news article about the new wave of independent workers featuring MBO, he took a leap of faith and decided to give me a call.
The first thing he told me was something I hear often from people thinking about becoming a consultant for the first time; he wasn’t interested in all of the paperwork and back-office responsibilities involved with being independent. He wanted to focus on his specialty and start getting new clients. I explained to him that one of the benefits of working with MBO is that he could outsource all of his back-office requirements, like taxes and contracts, while focusing on what he does best: IT consulting.
One reason he struck me as such a fitting candidate for independence was the initiative he took to get his business up off the ground. He wanted to fill his own pipeline with new clients, and was taking advantage of every networking event he could find and using his own past connections to get his first clients.
Being prepared was clearly important to him, and that’s where I was able to come in and lend a hand. I explained that MBO provided a library of resources for new independent consultants. He took advantage of our webinars, articles, and templates to assure he was on the right path and hadn’t missed anything big. With MBO’s back-office support and education, he was armed with everything he needed to go get that first contract.
Independent consultants work in so many different fields that it’s hard to find commonalities, but I do think the successful ones all share a similar mindset. They’re comfortable being out on their own, getting their own clients and making their own success, and they aren’t afraid to seek support. It’s a balancing act, but this IT consultant found the middle ground and is on his way to a successful independent career. I’m just glad he called me so I can say I was a part of it.
Nicolette, a part of MBO’s consulting services team (link to CSA blog), spends each day talking with those that are seeking a solution for managing their independent consulting business and lifestyle. Contact her at email@example.com or 703-793-6281 if you have a question about how to manage your independent career. If you’re new or just considering this life path, you also may also want to take the quiz to see if you’re ready for independent work.