My consulting career is going pretty well, with a full book of business and a growing staff. It does occupy a lot of time and there are times when I feel like I am giving up on other experiences. Does a successful consulting practice preclude other activities?
Consulting can be time consuming, but doesn't have to overwhelm other aspects of your professional life. In its traditional form, consulting involves building relationships, developing professional skills and technology, and applying them through time spent solving problems. As a professional who brings together experience, skills and perspective, it doesn't have to all be time intensive one-on-one consultation with a client.
There is a range of opportunities to use your expertise in other ways:
- Writing - Take on a column, blog, book, white paper, etc. to bring new perspective to your practice, build your visibility and create some lasting value from your expertise.
- Speaking - At any level, speak to trade associations, business or consulting conferences, or to community groups about topics related to your area of expertise.
- Research - Conduct some data collection, surveys, analysis or other approach to generating new information about your area of expertise or interest.
- Volunteering - Give back to your community by offering your management and consulting skills to local nonprofit organizations.
- Productizing - Turn your expertise into tangible products such as book or DVD "how to" guides.
- Starting Another Business - There is no reason why you can't extend your work into non-consulting businesses related to your area of expertise, as long as you manage conflicts of interest.
- Partnering With Other People - Find individuals with whom you have not worked before and who you respect to develop new partnerships with, getting out of your comfort zone and perhaps a new way of practicing your consulting.
Any of these approaches is a way to freshen your consulting business and develop some new perspectives outside of the traditional day to day advice business. Tip:
Perhaps overlooked by many consultants are hobbies. Consider ways to pursue your passion in areas totally outside of consulting. For example, if you are a process consultant, you might enjoy furniture making, where details, procedures and materials combine just as in process reengineering but to produce a tangible object. If you thrive on platform speaking, maybe you could lend your passion to teach acting or storytelling. There are lots of examples but each hobby or other pursuit allows you to use or utilize your skills and interests in something other than consulting.© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA