Consulting Resources and Tips for the Ones Branching Out
Yes, working hard is an essential key to success. However, it is also important to work smart. We live in an age of information sharing, so there are plenty of consulting tips, tricks, software, and tools out there on the internet. Moreover, many of them are even available for free. Just because you are consulting independently doesn’t mean you are alone. Online consulting resources are the new colleagues. In fact, they have a slight edge over colleagues since you can keep coming back to them every minute of every day for help, and they won’t get annoyed.
The 7 Best Consulting Resources for Independent Consultants
Consulting is a fast-paced, jam-packed career choice. You often have meetings all day, so where would you find the time to do the administration, research and reporting that your clients require? Luckily, there are some resources to help you with this:
When becoming an independent consultant, managing your own accounting and bookkeeping as well as being able to do financial evaluations of companies is expected. To do this effectively, you need to be a master at Excel. Chandoo is a free website that offers resources, templates, and beginner and advanced level Excel courses.
As you might’ve guessed from the name, ConsultingMag is an online consulting magazine. It is a great resource to use to stay up to date with industry trends. In addition, the website is filled with consulting-related news, rankings, company profiles, informative webinars, and potential jobs. Better yet, it is all available for free.
Feedly is a website highlighting insights from news sites and blogs that you have flagged as relevant. It is an easy and efficient way of staying up to date with worldwide news, industry happenings, and client updates.
CaseInterview.com is a good place for any consultant that needs to brush up on their pitch and interview skills. Here one will find case interview-based tips, videos, coaching resources, and articles. But just as a heads-up; you do have to pay for access to this website and its resources.
Consultport is an online consulting platform. Here consultants can read consulting-related blogs or use the platform to find exciting projects to consult on. They also offer several tools and courses to help you be the best consultant you can be. You can also find courses on consulting topics to support you on Consultport Academy
Slideshare is a website where people can upload presentations, documents, or infographics on topics that they are experts in or just have a passion for. Presentations provide a concise summary of a topic. This can be an excellent place to go if looking for inspiration or information about a specific topic.
Must-Have Consulting Tools
Apart from the consulting resources needed, there are also a few consulting tools. You may be asking yourself, what is the difference between a tool and a resource? A tool is used to create something, whereas a resource is used to learn about something. Here are some of the consulting tools we recommend having under your independent consulting belt:
- Cushion or Asana: a tool for project management
- Salesforce: a customer relationship management tool
- Grammarly: a tool to ensure that there are no errors in your writing
- GoToWebinar: a paid webinar tool for presentations and tutorials
- Zoom: a free tool for easy online meetings with worldwide clients
- Acuity Scheduling: a tool for clients to use to schedule appointments with you
- Google Analytics: a tool for tracking website analytics
- CoSchedule: a scheduling tool for keeping track of marketing efforts
- 9Lenses: a tool for the management of your consulting framework and an easy client insight delivery and sharing platform
- DropBox: an easy tool to share files with clients
- DrumUp: a tool for managing marketing via social media
- Mailchimp: an email tool for sending out standardized bulk emails
- 1Password: a tool to manage and store any client passwords shared with you
- FileStage: a tool for review, feedback, and approval of files
- Crystal: an AI tool that predicts a client’s personality and helps you respond in a similar relatable manner
Apart from specific consulting resources needed when becoming an independent consultant, you will need business resources. These business resources help you along your path of entrepreneurship. Firstly, you need financial resources in the form of funding to get your consulting business up and running. Secondly, you need human resources in the form of employees that outsource accounting, marketing, or bookkeeping too. Thirdly, you need educational resources in the form of industry knowledge so that you can be competitive with other independent consultants and consulting firms. Fourthly, you need physical resources such as a place to work and the equipment necessary to work effectively. Lastly, you need emotional resources in the form of support systems when times are tough.
Independent Consulting Tips
Branching out by yourself can be scary, but here are some consulting tips from independent consultants who have already taken the plunge:
- Cast your fears aside and do it
- Set aside money to fall back on
- Specialize your services
- Time management is key
- Develop a personal brand
- Balance work-life carefully
- Enjoy your well-earned breaks
- Go independent for the right reasons (not just for the money)
- Make the most out of it
All of these resources are a wealth of knowledge, guidance, and answers to any burning questions you may have. We suggest implementing these tips, tricks, and tools to give yourself an edge over your competition.