06 Apr The Knows Guide to Consulting As a Side Job
What is Consulting?
Consulting is when you exchange a particular skill set or know how you possess for money
YOU show someone how to do something. THEY pay you money in exchange
This simple exchange is often the start to most business people’s lives.
YOU provide service. They pay you money
And consulting can take many forms:
- Yougive advice on a problem they’re having. They pay you money.
- You provide information on how to do something. They pay you money.
- Youguide them through something they’re not sure of. They pay you money.
- Youtell them how to do something faster & more efficiently. They pay you money.
- You get the point…..
Consulting is just a simple exchange of knowledge and money.
Here are some examples of consulting (you will notice the difference in remuneration for some of these different services):
A huge company is installing a new software system across all their branches.
They want YOU to oversee the process.
They will PAY GHS50,000 to hang around for 3 months and fix bugs.
Someone is having marital trouble.
They want YOU to listen and give them advice on what to do.
They will PAY GHS60/hour to listen and give advice.
Someone is trying to make sure people can find their website when they search for it.
They want YOU to do it for them.
They will PAY GHS2,000/month for the next 3 months, plus an additional GHS3,000 bonus if you are able to get them to the top of Google.
Someone needs help training their staff how to use their new website.
They want YOU to teach them.
They will PAY GHS20/hour to train the staff.
Consulting Jobs don’t have to be different to get different prices. Some consulting jobs can be the exact same service, but will be priced differently based on a number of factors. Those consultants who can get the highest rate will have some advantage:
- They always secure amazing results ✅
- Length of experience ✅
- Previously worked with well-known clients ✅
- Know who to sell to that will pay the most money ✅
- Know how to offer the service in a way that will fetch the highest price ✅
Now we know what consulting is, the next step is understanding WHY you should do it.
Why YOU should start a part time business as a consultant, even if you have a JOB?
Getting paid for work you do on the side is very valuable to your professional development. It is essentially as if you started your own business, except your costs are little to none, and there is pretty much no risk.
The main benefit of doing this, is in the lessons that you learn on your journey. The simple act of charging people for your service, will teach you so many things and will force you to learn:
- Where to find clients.
- How to talk to them and get them to hire you.
- How to charge clients more.
- How to build a simple website.
- How to deal with large corporations.
- How to bill clients in different ways.
- How to deal with small business owners.
- How to find different types of clients.
- How to make sure people stick to deadlines.
- How to handle difficult or overly-needy clients and manage their expectations.
- How to modify your product/service offering to get more money.
- How much work you can handle before you burn out.
- How to update your social media profiles to let people know about your service.
- Get over the fear of letting others know you offer a service and charging them.
- The list goes on….
Basically consulting will grow you as a person and teach you a lot of stuff, but the main thing that you will realize from consulting as a side business is:
The “serendipity” that happens when consulting!
Pretty much every successful person, did some form of consulting at some point for others. If you ask them about their stories, there will always be an aspect where they started consulting as a little side gig, experienced great results, got good referrals, got hired by someone else, realized that it was scalable and huge companies grew out of that.
The upsides of consulting far outweigh the downsides in every way.
Plus it is a good way test the waters and see whether it is something that you might be good at long term, without taking a big risk.
HOW TO FIND YOUR CLIENTS
A side business is basically a smaller income stream that you get on the side. It is also a great safeguard if you end up getting fired or laid off… Atleast you will still be able to eat.
Well consulting is a great way to make sure that you always have some money.
You don’t need any inventory. You don’t need a special title or education to do it. The are no barriers to entry. You can do it as and when you have time. So why do a lot of people not get into consulting?
The biggest problem people have with consulting, is finding clients.
So how do you find clients? From our experience in doing it ourselves and also in helping other people get started, you get clients by talking to people.
You don’t get clients by having a fancy logo, or by having an amazing website. There is not one person who is going to find your site and buy your services.
Yes a website is important and gives off an air of seriousness and professionalism, but what it does along with your bright shiny logo, is to make you feel like you are actually working on your business when you are not. No client ever said Let’s hire them because of their logo.
The reality is that you will rarely (we can’t say never) get clients solely off your website. YOU are going to have to do the leg work, and that’s not a bad thing.
If you talk to a lot of consultants about how they get clients, you will hear them say:
“Most of the clients I get are through referrals and personal contacts…”
Yup… that sounds about right! Unless your website or blog gets significant readership, it is very unlikely that it will be your main source of consulting clients.
People will rarely see your ad and think “LET ME GET THAT!!”
Instead, they will come to you when they actually NEED your service.
So how do you find your clients?
What is a noob. A noob is a beginner. No experience. No reputation.
You want to be a photographer, but have never taken a picture of anything.
You want to be a website designer… but you have only installed a few personal blogs
You want to do video production for a movie… but your only experience is a course you took on Udemy.
You my friend are a noob. No experience. No references. No portfolio. No past success and no contacts. If you are at this level do not fear. Try and get a few jobs and work your way up to the next level.
Here are some places to start:
Getting your 1st Clients: Your personal Facebook Account:
The best place to start looking for your first client is in your OWN PERSONAL NETWORK. This is because the people in your network already know you and trust you.
Facebook groups are a great place to start and can be used to “Validate”(INSERT LINK) a concept or idea, by reaching out to your network and getting people to join.
If you manage to get people on board, then you know that you have an idea that solves a problem. If it does, you have just validated a concept without spending any money.
So what are ways you can do this?
For a Fitness business:
Going into fitness and creating a group to really evaluate what it is my target clients, moms like me really want. This is a free, goal based group:
Any one trying to keep up with fitness goals? Feel free to join this group to stay accountable with other moms!
(Insert group link)
Or Offering something for free:
5 FREE IDEAS: Send me a link to your business website and I will write you 5 free ideas for your business!
There is no downside to this because if you don’t like my ideas you can always use them to wipe your virtual ass!
However, if you do like them, they’re yours to keep and use and you don’t even have to pay a single cent you tight ass bastard!
Link me to your business now and you can find out 5 superly insane ideas a random stranger can come up with for your business.
Doing this will allow you to collect a lot of information from your target and also to make lots of contacts while positioning you as an expert in whichever field you chose.
BUT HOW CAN I APPLY THIS TO MYSELF?
Let’s say you want to start an SEO business as a consultant on the side, but you have no portfolio or proof of earlier customers.
Start on Facebook and in any one of your business groups, post this:
Want me to SEO-proof a post for you?
I’ll send you updates to make on your site for free! Send me your most popular page on your website (Google Analytics –> Behaviors –> Site Content), and I will make suggestions on how to best SEO the post. I will do keyword research on your page, then send you:
- Title tag updates
- Meta tag updates
- Description tag updates
- Which links you should add to your site
- Tell you about any terms you should avoid using.
- Tell you any content sections to add into your post.
Option 1.) Comment here with a link to your post, and I’ll send you all the updates you should make via a personal message.
Option 2.) If you’d like me to do ALL OF IT FOR YOU… Send me GHS 50 and I’ll do it all. We will just need 15 minutes of time over a Google Hangout or Skype session. This small price can often get you ranked 300% higher in the search engine results.
I look forward to helping you out! Feel free to ask me any SEO related questions. I’ll answer them here.
This post should generate some interest, and the rest is up to you. If you actually genuinely help people and give them good work, and reports, then you can sell them your services.
If you can get one person to say yes to you managing their SEO, then you just got your first client. And guess what, do a good job there and you will get referrals and grow your customer base.
How to Charge Your Clients
The biggest issue people have when it comes to consulting is knowing how much to charge clients.
If you do a SMALL job, They pay you SMALL money
If you do a BIG job, They pay you BIG money
I’ll tell you what to do = $
I’ll show you step by step how to do it = $$
I’ll show you how to do it step by step and I’ll be there everyday to guide you = $$$
I’ll just finish the whole damn project for you. Just sit back, relax and I’ll have it done next week = $$$$
As you can see from the above the more valuable the information or service you are providing, the more money you can get.
Try and break down your pricing this way:
Tier 1: Tell them what to do = $
Tier 2: Show them step-by-step = $ $
Tier 3: Show them step-by-step and be there everyday = $ $ $
Tier 4: Just do the whole damn project for them without them doing anything = $ $ $ $
NOW WHAT ABOUT RETAINERS
For projects that require you to work for more than one month, you need to charge something called a retainer. These type of projects tend to require the company you are doing the work for to pay you a flat fee every month. Examples are social media management, advertising, accounting for a company, etc.
Take the SEO example from before. Let’s say you negotiate GHS3000 every month to improve the companies rankings. Any additional work they have you doing, that is not related to SEO (like content creation, writing blog posts, etc) can be billed as extra.
See how that works. Not only do you get paid GHS3000 but also additional work.
Retainers are great because they guarantee you income over a certain period of time, which can reduce your stress levels, but due to their nature, they are also much harder to get.
Before you go for a retainer and lock yourself in, try charging an hourly rate first to test out the client. Here’s how.
CHARGING BY THE HOUR
Getting a retainer although a sweet gig is like getting married. How about a quick date first?
Now I talk a lot about moving away from active to passive income and this method is really active income. Active income is when you trade time for money, but if someone is paying you a few hundred cedis an hour to work, would you complain?
Also once a client pays you, you can get them to start paying you A LOT, once you win their trust and deliver on your work.
SO HOW DO YOU IMPLEMENT THIS | THE KNOWS PRICING TECHNIQUE
Seeing as a lot of you are already scared or uncomfortable when it comes to time to have money conversations, try this technique to help you cover all your bases.
Create THREE different pricing structures.
Basic = Cheap and safe
Advanced = Optimal amount of money you’d like
Expensive = Most clients wont spend this much. But some will
Here is how this technique works:
Basic package = $
Very basic work.
Affordable price and will atleast get you in the door
Clients response – This option is too little
Advanced package = $$
This is the optimal amount of work for them, and the optimal amount of money for you
Clients response – This option is jusssst right
Super Amazing Rockstar Package = $$$$$$
This is the complete sit back while we do all the work for you super rockstar package that is super expensive.
Clients response – This option is too high
This approach allows you to get clients both big and small. Here is a real world approach:
The Basic WordPress Package: GHS400
- Basic WordPress website installed with your choice of theme.
- Tweaking and Tuning of your site done.
- One hour of personal WordPress training.
The Advanced WordPress Package: GHS1,300
- Fully customized WordPress website installed.
- Full SEO tuning done for your site.
- Full list of content items to write for good SEO.
- Two hours of personal WordPress training.
The Professional WordPress Package: GHS5,200 + GHS1,000/mo Retainer
- Fully customized WordPress website installed.
- Full SEO tuning done for your site.
- Full list of content items to write for good SEO.
- Five hours of personal WordPress training.
- Every month we perform 2 split tests to optimize.
- BONUS: One SEO’d article written for you per month.
- BONUS: Full social media presence and strategy laid out.
BONUS: Blogger outreach program to get your blog into blogging communities.
Usually people will tend to opt for the middle package, with a lot of them seriously considering the huge package if they can afford it.
THEY PICKED THE LOWER PACKAGE, HOW TO I GET MORE MONEY OUT OF MY CLIENT
Never fear, Knows has you covered. The main approached people take to getting more money out of clients are usually:
1 Charging higher process from the start
2 Offering more services
3 Increasing your demand by becoming an expert in your industry or field
4 Consulting in areas that generally pay more
The biggest barrier however is mindset in thinking you are charging too much. Let us put it into perspective for you. You are scared of charging a company who is used to paying:
- $100,000’s/year in taxes.
- $1,000’s/year for permits.
- $3,000/month in rent.
- $40,000/year for employees.
- $1,000’s/year for simple administrative work.
- $10,000’s/year for marketing.
THE PROPER MINDSET FOR CONSULTING
How should you consult yourself with clients. This is an important question to ask yourself and will help you not get taken advantage of by clients.
Your time is your product, so be strict with it
Make it clear from the start that you will bill hourly.
If someone calls you and says “Hey can you fix this??”
You go and fix it… but then send them an invoice for the work you just did… even if it’s a small amount.
This will let them know that GETTING WORK FROM YOU = PAYING YOU. After the first incident, they will know not to do this.
You can answer a question here and there but as you grow you need to be Extremely STRICT with your time.