Especially as you consider your post-Covid life, the idea of working as a consultant –getting paid for your expert advice– may sound appealing. On this blog I’ll periodically share tips to help you achieve greater fulfillment and make more money doing it, no matter what your chosen field. Indeed, many of the skills and insights I’ve acquired as a consultant in the dietary supplement industry have universal application.
First, let me say that the aforementioned definition of consulting makes it sound easier than it is. While all of my clients pay me for my advice, what makes me even more valuable to them is that I have first-hand experience actually doing the majority of the things that I provide them with advice on. This means I can get in the trenches and execute as needed. Generally speaking, you need to be able to do the same.
It requires a lot of persistence, patience and strategy to consistently command top-dollar consulting fees. When I began in 2008, my hourly rate was around $100. By 2018, it was upwards of $240. I’ve had numerous projects where it exceeded $400. Was the upward trajectory of my consulting fees smooth all those years? Nope. That’s partly why I can help you enjoy a smoother one.
If charging triple-digit hourly rates weren’t hard enough, profit-sharing arrangements, e.g. where the consultant collects a commission, royalty or even equity in the client company, can be even harder to procure, not to mention risky. Company owners typically aren’t fans of them. I’ve procured a number of such arrangements over the years. Some ended up being profitable; others, painful. These lessons I’ll be sharing with you, too.
Of course, a consultant needs to be able to navigate people with different beliefs, viewpoints and business practices while uncovering problems and opportunities and coming up with actionable solutions. The supplement industry has more than its fair share of challenging personalities and head-scratching business practices, among other peculiarities. The upside was that it served as an excellent platform from which to learn how to navigate the rest of the world!
Last but not least, I’ll mention honesty a.k.a. ethics a.k.a. doing the right thing. I do my best to practice it at every step. I encourage my clients to do the same. First and foremost, this is because I have to live with myself. Besides that, it will make you a better consultant, meaning you can make a more positive impact on your client’s companies, and the world. 🙂