Most successful people will agree that a continuous thirst for knowledge is a key element in building a growing, thriving business. And although continuing education and certification programs can be time intensive, and at times, costly, they provide recognition for your specialized knowledge or skill set which can be a significant benefit in obtaining certain clients or projects. Additional benefits of having professional certifications include:
Having training that your competitors don't have can set you apart when going after new business. Your certifications can differentiate you from other professionals in your field, showing that you have a demonstrated commitment to understanding and excelling in your profession. It provides an advantage, which is particularly important in today's extremely competitive and tight economic market. Stay on top of the market trends and learn how to use that new software or social platform before it is a household name.
Professional certifications can also help to provide your consultancy with a solid foundation. The advanced training, information and knowledge gained from the specialized coursework can provide you with up-to-date tools and technical strategies that will serve to guide and direct you in the execution of your projects - allowing you to manage all aspects of your work more effectively.
Another benefit of obtaining professional certifications is that the time and work invested will likely result in increased income. Most clients understand higher costs associated with specialized training and are willing to pay for consultants with industry certifications. In fact, according to Payscale.com, in many industries, certifications can increase earnings by at least 10 percent - and up to 35 percent.
By acquiring new and updated industry information, skills or techniques you can hone current work habits that may be causing inefficiencies or quality issues with your work output, while increasing your competencies. You will become a more valuable addition to the organizations you work with and be seen as an expert and leader in your field. Certifications can also give you an opportunity to establish the groundwork to implement a more sophisticated working environment for your consultancy.
There are also an increasing number of companies, non-profits and government organizations who, when working with outside consultants, want (or may even be required) to only hire those who possess certain certifications from recognized programs. Additionally, certification shows your commitment to superior professionalism, upholding industry standards, and continued education and learning. These merits can also help boost your credibility and prestige within your professional network, with your current clients, and when pursuing new business opportunities or bidding on new projects.
Generally speaking, no matter where you live or which certifications you choose, it is likely to be a worthwhile investment because of the many advantages that they can provide throughout your career. Obtaining certifications early on in your career can provide you with significant benefits from the start, so getting started as soon as possible is highly recommended.
Note: Be sure to keep your certifications up-to-date, as some expire after a certain period of time.
Contracts should clearly articulate services to be performed, timelines for completion, and payment terms and conditions. Here are 6 best practices for drafting the right contract for your independent consulting services.
When it comes to consulting, your reputation can be everything—so why risk it? Here's how to keep your record clean and your clients satisfied.