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Ways to Land Your First Consulting Job

6 Tips for Securing a Consulting Contract

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Leaving the security of a full time job to go out on your own can be nerve-wracking. It can also provide the perfect situation to obtain your first paying client. Provided you leave a former employer on good terms, negotiating a deal for consulting work is often lucrative for everyone.

Employers like the idea because it extends their access to you. Granted, it may be a short term fix until the boss can replace you. But sometimes that equals three months (or more) worth of work - making the transition easier for you. Here’s another advantage for you--Obtaining even a short-term contract with a prior employer earns you an instant referral, and allows you to begin building your portfolio.

Ready to get started? Read these six tips on how to convince an employer to re-hire you as a consultant.

  1. Be Honest About Your Consulting Goals.

    When it comes time to quit, be upfront about your plans. Explain your professional goals and how going out on your own will help you meet those objectives. Then let the boss know you still want to contribute to the company on a temporary basis, as a way to help fill the void while the company searches for your replacement. Of course, don’t hide the fact that such an arrangement will also help jump-start your consulting career!

  2. Educate Employers on the Advantages of Consulting.

    Hone your pitching skills by selling your old boss on the advantages of hiring you again. The best way to accomplish this is by educating her on the benefits - specifically how it will make her job easier. Be sure to mention advantages such as: no down-time while searching for and training a new employee reduced costs (no longer paying a salary or benefits) increased productivity (working on a single project, it’s going to be done faster)

  3. Pick the Right Consulting Project.

    There’s probably no shortage of the number of consulting projects you could take on for your previous employer. But picking the most appropriate one is critical. Select projects that:

    • - can be completed within a six to nine week time frame
    • - highlight your expertise
    • - represent the type of future projects you want to do for other customers
    • - can be completed remotely (outside of the office)

  4. Refrain from Sharing Your Consulting Plans with Peers.

    Avoid the temptation of sharing your plans with co-workers. Though your closest comrades are likely to be supportive, others may get green with envy and make a stink. While that can’t keep you from quitting, it may cause the boss to think twice about signing a consulting agreement with you.

  5. Strike a Discounted Rate for Your Consulting Services

    Offering a competitive price for your services can sway even the most frugal employer. Don’t undercut your value by too much. But giving a slight discount on services is enticing, and a sure way to close the deal.

  6. Provide a Written Consulting Proposal.

When all else fails, put a written proposal in front of your employer. It’s an ideal way to show that you’re serious. And by spelling out the details of your project proposal, it can ease some possible concerns. When the deal is finalized, don’t forget to transfer the terms of that proposal into a written contract.

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