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  • Writer's pictureHarshal

Launching Solo Consulting: Insights From My Journey And Expert’s Guides

My Takeaways From David Field’s 6-Step Guide: Step-1

Do you want to start solo consulting? I started solo consulting in 2022 and got to learn from a few consulting veterans through informational chats and books.

One such book I read was David Field’s book: The Irresistible Consultant's Guide to Winning Clients. This book offers practical business tactics. It also gives a deep look at the human aspect of a very human profession. It is holistic and easy to understand.

In this post, I share my learnings and takeaways from the book. I didn’t write down everything. If you find my notes valuable, you’ll find the book even more valuable. You will love David’s stick-figure cartoons and food references (I love food).

You will find:

  • The minimum steps to build a successful solo consulting venture.

  • Steps, challenges, and tactics to succeed in consulting.

  • How to Identify your market niche.

  • Tips to build relationships.

  • Sales, pricing, and signing up a consulting customer/client.

I’ll use “client” and “prospect” words in this post, not “customer”.

I spent 4 hours and 13 minutes writing this series.

Consultant reading a user manual.
Consultant reading a user manual.

6 Steps To Build A Great Consulting Business

David Fields suggests this step-by-step approach:

  1. Think Of Your Clients, Not Your Business

  2. Identify Your Niche

  3. Build Visibility Through Marketing

  4. Build Relationships

  5. Context Discussion With Prospects

  6. Propose, Negotiate, and Close

Thanks to Sales For Nerds post for reminding me of these steps.

My take:

I spent most of my effort on step 2 because I had the biggest gap in this area. Also, I didn’t reach step 6 often.

Step 1: Think Of Your Clients, Not Your Business

David calls this ‘Right Side Up Thinking’.

Right Side Up Thinking means you put your client first. When you talk to prospective clients (“prospects”), do it without planning to sell anything. Listen to their main challenges. Avoid discussing your business. Instead, concentrate on the business needs and concerns.

Why start with understanding client demand? You can always upskill, but you cannot invent (client) customer demand.

On the other hand, Upside Down Thinking is when you focus on yourself - your skills or interests - before the client. Upside Down Thinking includes questions like:

  • What am I good at?

  • What have I done before?

  • What do I want to do?

My take:

This resonated with me because it is similar to Amazon’s customer obsession or Twilio’s wearing the customers’ shoes cultural pillars. This advice was counter-intuitive to the suggestions from my full-time-employed friends. Many of my friends recommended considering the three 'Upside Down' questions listed at the end of the above section.

Since it is hard to navigate within a long post with a table of contents, I split this into 5 articles, (about) one for each step. All posts in this series:

Ending Thoughts

In this series, I’ve shared my notes from reading David Field’s book and my take on experimenting with those approaches.

If you are starting or have done consulting for a while, what stands out as counter-intuitive advice?

What worked for you to identify your niche or build relationships?

Related Posts

Here are posts related to this series.



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