Career Planning for Freelance Consultants

Career planning for freelance consultants is almost like doing consulting for yourself. That’s actually a pretty apt analogy, because you need to create objectives, work with your market, and develop your business as much as any of your clients.

Career Planning and Freelance Consulting

An apt description of the career planning process for freelance consultants would be “career symbiosis”. The consulting business is your career in progress. How that develops can easily be fitted in to your business model in progressive stages.

As a consultant, you’ll be well aware that contracts and clients need management, and so does your career development. Luckily, you can do both at once. Consulting is often defined in career terms as “degrees of difficulty” with good reason. Expertise is the real driving force in business development for consultants.

The expertise relates to your real talents as a consultant, and it’s a very good guide to viable career plans. These skills are extremely reliable, usually the ones you go looking for an excuse to use. They can be used to map out areas of career development in practical terms. Creating a business model where the strongest skills are the business selling points is good practice, and it will allow rapid career development.

That’s good for business, as well. Bear in mind that any career progression has to have direct practical applications to the business and be a viable option for commercial purposes. It builds your networks, client base and your credentials.

Getting Started

As a consultant in whatever industry, your services are results-based. The best place to start career planning is in areas where you’re absolutely certain you can get good results.

For example:

If you’re a business consultant, you may want to develop your business to provide ongoing support services for extra revenue.

The issues for career development are:

  • Which of these services are you able to deliver?
  • What areas can you develop into full scale services?
  • What do you need to expand your business? (Licenses, staff, systems, etc.)
  • How do these services expand your consultancy and career options?

This is a logical progression. You can expand and develop your career with your business in clear, easily managed stages. This approach also allows you to develop any necessary areas of business at the same time.

Upper Range Consulting Career Development

In upper level consulting, you need to be ultra competitive, and this is where your career planning will work as a primary asset in business. To get the big consulting jobs, you need very strong professional credentials.

At this stage you need:

  • Full range of services
  • Strong presentation of prior experience
  • Demonstrated expertise in key roles
  • Clear, flawless track record in the industry

Your early development and business modeling has set the scene for this type of work. Your career planning has effectively been duplicated as your working business plan. You’ll find that each stage of your career planning creates new business assets. As a freelancer, the more you can do, the further you’ll go.