When I decided to set out on my own and become a consultant, it wasn’t an easy decision to make. Not only was I stepping away from a steady income each month but I really didn’t know if it would work. I know that’s the risk with going it alone but it was one I felt was worth taking.
After finishing up my last day of work as Head of People Development at Sheffield Students’ Union, I enjoyed a night out and the pending excitement of working for myself.
The first morning of self-employment started at my usual time. After breakfast I got settled with my laptop ready and raring to go.
So, a few months in and I’ve learnt some useful things about making contacts and about myself:
Number one: It’s important not to panic. Someone gave me this as number one advice and it was so true. The drastic change of routine and being solely responsible for bringing in enough business to cover bills can be a daunting prospect, so it’s been important for me to keep a calm head.
Number two: Have a back-up plan. So, I made sure I gave myself an initial timeline to throw everything I had into making it work and the end of that time would act as a deadline.
This deadline is where I would evaluate how things are going and decide what my options are.
Number three: You have to get out there. Whilst platforms such as twitter and LinkedIn are very effective at building networks, nothing can replace good old fashioned face-to-face networking. Now this wasn’t my strong suit. Having spent years trying to blend in, I now had to take the plunge and try to stand out. The biggest challenge was figuring out which networking events were worth attending. Luckily, I had some help. I very nice colleague who had previously worked as a consultant gave me a helping hand and recommended the better events to attend. Recommendations go a long way to saving you time.
So, it’s still early days but I’m learning something new all the time, don’t get me wrong, it’s a steep learning curve but one I feel ready to climb. I just keep reminding myself not to panic and to have confidence in myself.
Since starting my new venture I have had the pleasure in working with organisations in a variety of sectors such as Higher Education and many in the Charity sector. I love meeting new people and working with them to help them achieve their goals.
I already know that the decision to work for myself was the right one for me. I have better work-life balance than I’ve ever had, I feel proud of the work I do and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.