We had to take an extra day in Namche Bazaar, Nepal. Our bodies had not adjusted to the elevation. We were ascending up Gokyo Ri in a few days. The mountain was just below 20,000 feet. It was said to have the best view of Everest in the world.
Neema, our Sherpa, was pumping us full of green tea. Yet, with all the advice, our headaches were constant. Eventually we made the summit after a few days, but we were miserable.
On the way down, the jagged Himalayan trails weaved down steep declines. Slowly, we picked up speed. Each step down, we had more oxygen than the step prior. Days earlier, we had been at the same elevation and suffered. On the descent, we ran down the mountain, completing two days worth of hiking in one day.
What fast forwarded our progress?
With each step we earned more oxygen, the success promoted more success.
Consultant Hacks You Must Know
A “hack” is a shortcut that makes an entire system easier. It’s like having more oxygen with each step headed down a mountain. As a consultant, it’s important to learn specific ways to grow a specialty, grow an audience, and grow an income. These “hacks” are often considered to be standard and essential things every consultant should know!
Consultant Hack #1 | Build Trust Fast
Prior to the internet, building trust used to take months or years. I’m amazed at how quickly people that I have never met build trust with me. As I write this, I’m at the American Counseling Association Conference. I’ve already met people who read my blog and listen to my podcast. These are just some ways to demonstrate your skills.
Here are a few quick ways to build trust fast:
- Start blogging about something you are learning in the specialty that you want to serve.
- Ask people in the industry you want to serve, “What do you wish that you had known about business before you got started?” Put all of these answers in a blog post and send it to the people who talked to you.
- Create a podcast to talk about your learning process.
Consultant Hack #2 | Give Content in Exchange for Something
Don’t expect to get money right away. Instead let people trade their email for something of value. For example:
- 10 Quick Tips to Make Bank Tellers Psychological Ninjas
- 7 Tools to Launch a Private Practice in a Day
- 5 Tech Tools That Take 5 Minutes to Install in WordPress
Your tools need to actually help people. At the core of great consulting is that you know what can help people. That means that you have to be acquiring content and learning about your field all the time!
Say you want to niche into helping HR professionals with the psychology of HR. You’ll want to grow specific free tools that will help those individuals to look better. What does an HR professional need to know about psychology? What pains do they deal with on a daily basis? Once you start building a list of HR professionals, it will be easier to learn what they need.
When they exchange their email for a really great piece of content, they’ll expect more great content, so keep it coming!
Consultant Hack #3 | Automate Your Email List
Automation is key to growth. An automated email will work like this:
Someone signs up for your email list.
- They get an email confirming they want to be on this list—this helps weed out spambots, too.
- In the first email, remind them to open it and make sure it does not go into their “promotions tab” (in gmail).
- Plan to have your emails come regularly (usually once every 1-2 weeks).
- You can also send out extra emails in addition to the pre-planned ones.
A number of providers offer these services, for a side-by-side comparison check out this article.
Consultant Hack #4 | Use Apps and Websites to Streamline
I have my favorite apps for consulting and growing promotion of my content. Here are a few that I consider essential. They are all free:
- Trello: Trello is a project management software. You create lists, and within each you create cards, those cards can have links, lists, or conversations. It is great for managing consulting client’s projects.
- FreeConferenceCall.com: Most of my consulting clients want to audio record our sessions. This allows them to go back to the discussion to grow. When my clients grow and succeed, it helps me to look better, too. A free MP3 is sent to the subscriber after the call. I have the client sign up, so they are responsible for recording and get the email. That takes me out of the middle.
- IFTTT: “If This Then That” is an an amazing app. You create recipes such as: If I post a new blog post, then post it on my LinkedIn profile.
These are some that I use every week. There are tons more, I’m sure you have your favorites.
Consultant Hack #5 | Bring Out More of You
When I first started consulting, I hid behind the website Practice of the Practice. I thought it would be better to have a brand and image to appear bigger than I really was. As I interviewed consultants for my new podcast, I found that most of them kept saying to me, “I want to see more Joe.”
As a consultant, people want to do business with you, understand your unique perspective, and know what they will get. Clearly articulating who you serve and who you don’t serve is important. The quicker you can articulate who you are and what you bring to the discussion, the faster you will grow.
If You Don’t Want to Grow
As you find ways to build trust quickly and exchange content for an email, when you automate your email list, streamline your social media and website, and let more of you come out, you will grow quickly. Consultants are doing these exact strategies with profound results. These five tips will accelerate your growth and are essential to becoming a consultant today!
Photo courtesy of akunamata on flickr