6 Personality Traits of Successful Consultants

By MBO Partners | December 1, 2019

MBO red logo

When pursuing a new career, it can be helpful to see if your personality matches the path you want to go down. For example, networking, running a business, and managing projects are all important aspects of an independent professional’s daily life—and there are certain personality traits that go along with these responsibilities.

If you’re considering pursuing a career as an independent, see if your personality aligns with these six traits below.

1. Having confidence in what you do

A successful independent consultant will look at a challenge with excitement rather than apprehension—the word “can’t” likely isn’t part of their vocabulary. Their can-do attitude stems from the fact that most successful consultants are confident in their abilities, even when it comes to large or difficult projects.

2. Being realistic about what is possible

Confidence to tackle difficult projects must also be accompanied by a realistic sense of what is actually possible. Successful consultants can offer clients realistic timelines for completion of work, even when that timeline is contrary to what the client wants to hear. If you try to squeeze a week’s worth of work into two days, odds are you’ll end up disappointing the client with a poor-quality deliverable.

3. Being motivated to stay on task

Motivation is an especially important personality trait if you are an independent working from home. It’s much easier to procrastinate when you’re in the comfort of your own home, far away from an office environment that may feel more like “traditional” work. If you’re unmotivated or struggle to finish tasks working alone, you may not complete projects on time and that can lead to disappointed clients who won’t use your services again.

4. Having a flexible mindset

If you work with multiple clients, you’ll have to balance several, and often shifting, priorities. For example, a client may call you at the last minute with a major change and you’ll need to be able to set aside what you’re doing and prioritize them for the moment. As projects come and go, your income may fluctuate as well. If sudden change really throws you for a loop, you will want to find a way to overcome this tendency if you choose this career path.

5. Being patient with your business and your clients

Becoming a successful consultant with a steady stream of projects probably won’t happen overnight. As with most things in life, you’ll need to be patient and persevere to eventually achieve your goals. This patience also extends to your clients—you may have to thoroughly explain technical concepts multiple times (and they still may not understand), or you may find yourself having to accommodate a difficult client.

6. Being personable

The health of your independent consulting business heavily depends on two things: your relationships with your current clients, and recommendations and endorsements from previous clients. This means that many aspects of your job are social: networking to find projects, working closely with clients to build trust, and forming industry relationships to grow your business. While you may think that means that consulting is only for outgoing extroverts, there are many ways introverts can thrive as independent consultants as well.

Do you think self-employment is the right career path for you? Check out our quiz to see if you’re ready to go solo.

Find independent consulting jobs with top companies through MBO’s marketplace

Join Today!

Related Posts

consultants working at desk

Do I Need a Mentor as a Consultant?

October 26, 2021

Many professionals today have turned to mentoring relationships for guidance and support. In the past, apprenticeships were once the norm in the business and professional world but they are now a practice relegated to specific industries. Internships, which have largely taken their place, are designed for the purpose of exposing an aspiring professional to their…

man working at computer looking at mountain

How to Become a Freelancer for Big Companies: 4 Steps

October 12, 2021

There are many benefits to working with large enterprises when you run your own small business. Higher-value contracts, bigger budgets, and the opportunity to gain credibility with a recognizable name—just to name a few. However, in order to be attractive to big organizations, independent professionals must first ensure they have a reliable, trustworthy business in…

5 Books for Remote Workers

September 17, 2021

If you’re one of the many independent professionals who work remotely, you know how great the flexibility can be. The ability to personalize your work space, take ownership over how you complete your work, and finding routines that work for you are great perks. But all benefits aside, it can still be a challenge to…

Learn more about the MBO Platform

For Independent Professionals

Start, run, and grow your independent business with MBO

For Enterprises

Find, manage and retain top-tier independent talent