When I let people know that I was venturing into freelance work, one of the best bit of practical advice came from my ex-colleague at HP, Peggy Parskey. She started on a similar journey almost a year ago and with her permission I am sharing her advice:
I’ve been working harder than ever, but have accomplished much more than I
ever envisioned. There is a lot of work out there for high quality people who have:
a) Consultative skills
b) Can balance pragmatism with innovation
c) Can adapt to the needs and culture of the client
d) Have significant value to add.
e) Have some basic but critical skills. This may sound silly, but here’s what I see:
- Writing abilities: being able to draft emails, communiqués, proposals, etc.
- Know their way around the MS Suite (or equivalent): Can create a good looking Word document or a professional looking slide deck.
- Know how to use excel at a high level
- Know how to use other tools to present ideas, e.g., Mind mapping, creating graphical models, flow charts
Sorry to say, but I’ve run into a lot of consultants who are more mouth than action and sell more than they can deliver.
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