Perhaps you will find it useful to hear about my experience of setting myself up as a consultant, and how you can work with me.
Setting up has been pretty easy, so far, although I think I've had my share of luck. In my first couple of months I established marketing activities, and working out administrative stuff like tax and insurance. I found that the experience I have of running an organisation and of running projects gave me most of the knowledge and skills I needed, and where I needed help it was available through my network or, occasionally, from Internet resources (HMRC have some pretty good stuff). I have shared some tips in this article...
For the last five months I've had lots of work on, although still with the flexibility to help Mum with a bit of shopping or do some DIY at home. This week was a milestone - deciding that I am just too busy to take on another major project, and having to miss the opportunity to pitch, despite the fact it looks really interesting.
There are two main strands to my marketing: online publicity, and networking. Of these, I'd say online was most effective for spreading the word, but networking was useful for developing word-of-mouth leads, and also for my own learning - allowing me to listen for clues about what's needed, what's happening out there.
I found it really useful to think about my personal 'brand'. I know this sounds cheesy, but it was and is important. What do I want people to know about me, and feel about me? How should I reinforce those key things, and how do I avoid giving different impressions of 'me'?
Now when I'm communicating I'm always doing a little mental check that what I'm saying fits with my brand in some way. For example, this article fits with a very basic aspect - usefulness - I want to make sure that what I'm saying is helpful, in this case, for other consultants or for organisations who'd like to understand what makes me tick.
The Internet is a fabulous opportunity to share information about yourself and what you can do, you really mustn't ignore it. Happily it's getting easier and easier to understand and use, and it's cheap.
The main Internet services I use are:
I've also used facebook, but only sparingly, because for me that's more about my personal life, and people I'm connected with there mostly don't have a deep interest in what I do. However I did once create a jokey flier image about my work which I shared on facebook and got lots of 'likes'. That felt good and I guess could have led to a bit of word-of-mouth.
Working with me
You might represent an organisation with potential work for me, or perhaps you're another freelancer/consultant/self-employed-management-type. Whoever you are I'd be delighted to hear from you.
I have managed to establish a flexible working pattern, balancing the demands of a current major project with up to three days per week on other smaller projects - research, fundraising strategy, evaluation, writing applications for grants and tenders.
I have also managed to remain involved in both local, national and international work, from a merger of three charities, through services to protect young people from exploitation, to global advocacy and fundraising.
I am keen to develop my experience even further, and to help you meet the needs of people affected by poverty or injustices, whether working from home, in collaboration with others like me, or as part of your team. I'm happy to do small jobs of just a day or two (less if we've already got a working relationship) or to commit myself to bigger projects. It's all interesting and I like variety. Please get in touch.