Why Freelance Consultants should be Blogging?
We need to put some basics in perspective before we can dwell in detail on the topic for the day; there are conflicting questions on consulting or freelancing that are tad confusing to get any clear answers. I, myself having worn many such different hats confront with all these fundamental questions while I was being in a job or doing freelancing or being a consultant or being an entrepreneur.
For instance who is a consultant and who is a freelancer, and is there any fundamental difference between their nature of work and level of engagement. All appears similar.
Then the large question is there a blend of both characters called as freelance consultant, and who are these elusive elements or elite species.
So, do they do certain set of works which is not done by either a freelancer or a consultant? Is it that it is merely about playing with words and work more or less remain the same just that connotation of each word has gained a separate space for itself over time and with it’s predominate usage.
Who is a Consultant?
A qualified professional on specific subject matter who can provide complete guidance in resolving major issues or advice in solving a complex problem. An expert working on medium to long term projects on few assignments as it needs lot of involvement and deep engagement. For example the consultants are as a management consultant or a marketing consultant or a strategy consultant or tax consultant to SEO/SMM/SMO consultants. There are entry levels consultant to consultant who are veteran in their respective areas, each based on their demand and supply vary the charge, command and control their professional fees.
Who is a Freelancer?
A service provider who could be self-employed or employed part-time and providing services in free time on specific areas, engaged for a short to very short duration or part of a project to mini projects, and generally working on multiple smaller assignments. For example the freelancers are as content writers to creative writers to journalists to web developers to app developer to graphic designer to jewelry designer. There are freelancers who are attached to an organization almost doing the work of an employee without being an employee and there are freelancers who are detached from any organization and keep doing work what comes their way.
Who are Freelance Consultants?
A qualified professional who is self-employed and is servicing multiple organizations at the same time or managing different independent assignments simultaneously in one’s area of expertise and exploring an expanded horizon of work without getting tied to one assignment or one set of projects or one organization. Yes, it is a blended characterization of these two above interesting characters. There is a sudden spurt in the demand of freelance consultants because of the increasing gap in their demand-supply and also there has been growing proclivity of people preferring more of freedom and flexibility over finance and fixation of one type of job. The web world and the digital age are changing the very contour of the conventional employment in organization and employability index of people.
All said and done, it finally boils down to the meat of the matter, the working and before one can do that one needs to get the work and getting freelance work is not at as easy at it seems from outside and hence people earlier were restrictive in changing and shifting jobs where the work scenario was confiding to convention not redefining the rules of the conventional framework. By being attached to an organization as an employee was a safe bet and also work outside was largely limited and life for a freelance consultant was in hibernation.
Things have changed now and changing much rapidly than anybody could have envisaged the canvas of the new playing ground…it is exciting, it is challenging, it is satisfying and it is more than just mere work it is “play and work” that goes hand in hand, there is a perfect symphony and these two are enjoying their new companionship or in today’s preferred parlance the usage of the word courtship .
As a freelance consultant the big challenge is getting the work or getting the potential clients know about you or your work.
You are not backed by an organization where the entire machinery works to bring the business and work to your doorstep. You operate as an individual. The resources are limited. You have to then start converting those limited opportunities into businesses.
Marketing is not easy and marketing yourself is much tougher. It was tougher earlier when freelance consulting was not a good topic to discussion perhaps a decade and half back before the advent of new age economy. Today, you have plethora of avenues to showcase and create a case for yourself. One of the important avenues is having your own website and that stands as your company identity. Running a website is not easy and needs both time and efforts to create the content and keep the website current and updated. Otherwise, it works a negative branding. The moment a potential client visits your website and it is not updated and if he is questioning the quality of the content.
“The context is lost.”
The context of attracting potential clients and hooking them to your idea gets defeated. But the need for digital presence stands strong and its importance cannot be discounted. Digital presence through social media is not the alternative, it can supplement but it cannot replace the need for a proper digital presence and identity.
Blogs can purely come as an alternative to a website or else blogs can be a plus in your website can add that much-needed interactive flavour generally missing in the static websites.
You can do almost everything on a blogging platform which you wanted to do on a website. More importantly you can build a strong community and connect with people who matters for you, the constant communication and intense interactions that happens through this all-pervasive podium allows you to copiously demonstrate your authority and builds your credibility on the subject that is your fiefdom.
In fact with the advanced Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress and the range of plugins and widgets we have at our disposal today, have the gamut of functionalities and with wide spectrum of themes matching the profession of consulting, it is there to make your identity reflect through the home page. By effectively using this medium, the consultants not only can connect and reach to potential clients but slowly and certainly can create a niche and establish the identity, communicate the value more effectively and strongly establishing the brand value proposition.
“The credibility is an important factor in the profession of consulting.”
“It takes time to build.”
“It takes time to convert that credibility into credible business opportunities.”
Nothing can be more powerful than well researched and well written white paper to a case study which can directly and instantly establish the business relationship. The power of knowledge transcends.
Blogging plays the role of placing your knowledge on the market place and there are clients who are constantly looking for the right consultant, they want to see your work, hear about you and learn about what you have done and then take a wise decision.
Never underestimate the understanding of the clients, how less qualified one may be and how less exposed one may be, many times we take it for granted and don’t present our case in such cases undermining the client wisdom. For a consultant every client is equal and the importance has to be intact. It cannot be selective and it cannot be arbitrary. It has to be universal and it has to be genuine.
Therein lies the secret to the secret art of successful freelance consulting practice…
You should be able to empathize with the client, the problem and prove your ability to get the best solution to address the problem. No sympathy. No extended emotions. The consultant adopts an analytical approach to solving a problem, a data driven decision-making process that should guide the governance of the better resolution of issues.
The more we drive the client from a subjective perspective to an objective perspective, the faster we will be able to convince the client and get the solution on board, and then make it up and running.
The process of problem solving is also a sub process of eliminating the wrong solutions and getting the buy in from users who are generally embedded to the archaic assumptions. It is not that simple as it seems in putting the solution to practice though many times the solution is there in front of you once you have done the dip stick study, in the end it is the critical experience and the vital expertise counts.
The ability to manage multiple tasks and parallel processes to get the right solution accepted and adopted by the users is an art by itself comes with age. In the digital age we can have opportunity to break away from the convention and create a space for ourselves.
The sum and substance of the reasoning for augmenting the prospect of freelance consultant is through the platform of blogging; “7 MANTRAS”
- Build Profile to Promote
- Sharing Success Stories
- Create Insightful Case Studies
- Connect to Potential Clients
- Display your Ability to Analysis
- Enable and Enrich your Engagement
- Give Credence to your Credibility