People You Have Previously Worked With
It is hard to get new clients. Although most of us hate the term “selling,” including me, we are to some extent selling. The first “sale” is the hardest. As a consultant, it is hard to convince someone to work with you the first time.
Here is the great news: You have already worked with people before. These people are the most likely to hire you as a consultant!
This includes people at your organization, people at previous organizations you worked, and absolutely people who have moved to new organizations.
These people don’t need to think you are a Rock Star, they don’t even need to like you. They simply need to respect you. If you are professional and get the job done the vast majority of people will respect you whether they have become friends or not!
My first client was an organization called The Open Software Foundation. Several people had left my current employer, Hewlett-Packard, and gone there. They wanted to hire me but I made it clear that I didn’t want a full time job so they hired me as a consultant.
My second client was Motorola’s paging division (remember pagers?) in Boynton Beach, Florida. I had worked with them off and on for years as part of my full time job, and I continued to as a consultant afterwards.
My third client (all in my first year of consulting) was Hewlett-Packard, my previous employer. I was shocked by this one but they came looking for me and offered me consulting work!