Summary: Providing consultations is an opportunity to get paid for your experience and knowledge instead of always dishing it out for free to those you don’t know.
Having someone come up and as for help or your suggestions every once and awhile is fine but what do you do when people you barely know, or don’t even know, continually come up to you to “pick your brain?” They may be offering free lunch or drinks but it is time for you to make real money off your abilities.
Consulting may be a new market for you so you may not fully understand what to expect. Start by understanding the language of consulting. “Pick your brain” is an obvious term but there are plenty of other ways people will ask for help. An example of someone reaching out to you could be: “I am hoping you can direct me to a path of success in writing, editing, and media.” The way you can best determine if your knowledge is worth charging for is if it can’t be simply Googled to find the answer.
Have a rate already set. Ask friends and other consultants in your industry that have more and less experience than you do what they charge to determine a ball park range to charge. This may mean you have different rates such as a day rate and an hourly rate. Consider how much time the consultation is taking away from your paid job.
Use professional language when setting up appointments, especially with someone that reaches out to you through your LinkedIn account. Use words like “work with you” and give a brief overview of your “consulting business” and rates. Be enthusiastic in your reply so that it is clear you want to help them but clear that your ideas and experience come with a price.
Create a consulting page to add to your website. Your personal site is a good place to show and advertise what you can do. Having a consultant tab will help those that ask for free help understand that you usually get paid for that service.
Getting paid for your advice is great but there are still times to offer up your services for free. Questions from friends or others in your immediate network don’t always warrant an invoice. If you do decide to offer free advice to someone, don’t feel that is must be immediately. You are giving of your time, make it work during a time that is best for you.
Photo: theblog.qccareerschool.comGet Paid for Consulting Work by Amanda Griffin