The thought of traveling to cool countries all over the world and getting paid to do it is appealing to a lot of lifestyle entrepreneurs. You have probably seen me doing just that this year and it makes you want to jump into the consulting at companies space head first. A lot of entrepreneurs that I talk to want to get into international consulting with large companies right away. But, that’s not usually how it goes. I get the appeal but I didn’t start with what I’m doing today. I didn’t start with the bigger opportunities that have come my way over the last five years.
My journey in consulting started with a $500 social media marketing contract with a company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Social media was hot in 2012 and I saw an opportunity to book gigs with all kinds of companies. Without knowing the exact process, I found local companies in Milwaukee and sent them consulting proposals that showed how I could help their social media marketing efforts. There wasn’t any information online about how to get into consulting at companies, so I winged it. I got A LOT of NO’s but I did book that $500 gig.
I did a good job for that business and the owner referred me to several other local businesses in Milwaukee. From 2012 to today, I’ve worked my way to larger companies, and then to international companies. To date, I’ve done consulting gigs at 58 different companies in 58 countries. But, what I want you to see and understand is that I didn’t start with traveling the world for consulting gigs. I started local and with smaller companies.
You never want to compare where someone is now if you are just starting out. If you don’t know exactly how to get started with consulting at companies, here is what you should understand. I hope this helps you start your consulting at companies journey, and helps take you towards your ultimate goals.
Establish a Foundation Around a Topic
If you are going to book a consulting gig, you should have a topic that you can consult on or have several topics. For a company to hire you, they will want to see that you’re an expert. The way that they determine that expertise is by starting out looking at your foundation: your website, social media presence, and email list. They want to see that the content you’re putting out there matches what you say you consult on and that you’re knowledgeable about your topic(s).
If your branding is not clear, it will hurt your chances of getting hired. If it’s not clear how what you do is practical, it will hurt your chances of getting hired. You need clear branding and a foundation that shows you do have the skills and knowledge. Companies will spend months looking through your foundation to make sure you’re the right fit. IF you don’t have a solid and clearly branded foundation established, that is where you need to start. You need a consultant’s website (here’s an example), and you should be posting tips, tricks, and content on your social networks and email list that educates and shows your expertise.
Build Your Consulting Social Proof
To be seen as an expert, you also need some “credentials.” It’s not the kind you’re probably thinking of–it’s the kind of credentials you get from experience. To book a consulting gig, this is what companies are normally looking for:
- You need good content on your website, social media pages, and to your email list that shows you are an expert in what you talk about. Not everything on your social networks is going to be professional, but you should frequently share topic tips, content, personal moves related to your business, and sales offers.
- You need to have done some podcast interviews on your topic. The more interviews you can do, the better it will look to conferences and companies. Bonus if the podcast is large. It’s easy for a company to listen to you on a podcast interview and see that you know what you’re talking about.
- You need to write for large business and personal development publications on your topic. The names of large publications and your content on these publications are HUGE to companies. It helps show that you are an expert because you are educating through respected and trusted platforms. Companies read these publications regardless to learn. When you are there, you show you’re an expert through the content but you also give yourself the best chance to be found organically.
- You need to have done some smaller gigs and have references a company can follow up with. They will follow up. No reference and it doesn’t count to a company. A reference, NOT a testimonial.
- You will need some video of you speaking. They have to see you can present. They have to get a feel for your style. Make sure each talk you do is interactive— that’s what companies look for in a consulting presentation.
If you don’t have this kind of social proof in place, this is what you should be working on if your foundation is established. The more of this you can build, the better your chances are of booking a consulting gig.
After you’ve done all the hard work of establishing a foundation and building social proof, you can get to the fun stuff. But, to get there, you need these two important parts taken care of. You will get to travel and all the perks of consulting once you’ve established yourself. So, if you don’t know where to start, it’s what I’ve talked about in this post.
Are you going to pitch consulting gigs this year?
In 2012, social media was starting to boom and everyone wanted to know how to cash in on social media marketing. I saw an opportunity.
I knew that companies would move slower than entrepreneurs on implementing social selling. So, I started looking at local companies in Milwaukee that I could target for social media consulting. I pitched all kinds of companies.
In late 2012, I booked my first official consulting gig at a company. It was a $500 social media marketing consulting contract for a local McDonald’s franchise owner.
It wasn’t much money but I worked my butt off. I taught his team everything they needed to know about the basics of marketing on social media. He was so happy that he referred my consulting services to three other local business owners. It was just what I needed to get started in the consulting at companies space.
Since that first contract, I’ve booked consulting gigs at companies in 58 countries over the last five years. This year alone, I’ve done consulting gigs at companies in New York, Amsterdam, Dublin, London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Manila so far. I have 16 more gigs booked this year in 16 more countries, and I’ve already booked nine international consulting gigs for next year. I’ve also helped clients book consulting gigs in 12 states and 16 countries this year.
Companies paid outside consultants $39 billion dollars last year. From the gigs that I’ve done and the CEO’s/COO’s/HR managers/department heads that I’ve talked to about consulting, I can tell you the opportunity is crazy good.
You can do one-off trainings from $10K-$100K, license any online courses you have at a rate of $1K-$3K per employee, book high-end coaching in the range of $15K-$60K, and sell comprehensive training programs and temples at rates of $15K-multiple six-figures. I base these numbers off of what companies have told me they’ve paid consultants in each of these areas this year. Heck, I’m sure there are consultants that are getting even more than this.
As you may know, I run a class called “Get Booked” two or three times a year. This class teaches someone how to become a paid speaker and consultant all over the world. It shows entrepreneurs exactly what I’m doing this year and what I’ve done over the last five years in the paid speaking and consulting space.
While the live class won’t run again year, I am letting entrepreneurs purchase access to the home study version. For one week, July 16th-23rd, you can purchase the recordings from the class, all the class documents, and access to the private group. I’ve taken 37 entrepreneurs through this class and have gotten great feedback.
If booking paid speaking and consulting gigs all over the world is one of your goals, check out the details and see if this is right for you: http://kconstable.com/get-booked/