There is no template or blueprint for being an independent consultant. There is no governing consulting body or spirit that is going to come down from above and say, “Hey! You’re doing it wrong!”
That said, below are some of the themes for you to consider if you’re thinking about becoming an independent.
1. What is meaningful to you about becoming an independent?
What are you after? Going independent is a means to an end. How do you make sure that your journey as an independent fulfills those deeper goals?
2. How are you with structure?
You’ll be responsible for everything from how you set up your accounting, how you do business development, how you contract, how you spend your time, when and where you work, how you manage your professional development, and a myriad of other decisions.
Curious to hear from you … What resonates? What’s missing? What questions does this bring up?
The basic question is, “How do I set my rate?”
1. Start with research.
Some resources to look into:
- Google. Try keywords of your profession + consulting + rates or “fees” or something like “how much do _____ consultants charge?”
- Talk to consultants in your line of work about what they think you could charge. (I’m happy to share about rates for Coaching and Organizational Effectiveness / Development via email.)
- Talk with the people who hire your type of consultants about rates.
- Read the rest of this blog post (yay – you’re 13% done already!)
2. Know the types of pricing approaches you can use in a contract.
Sometimes the type of pricing structure is predetermined by the client or industry. Nonetheless, here are the common types of ways to structure cost and pricing in your contract.
- Hourly or Daily rate – Set a rate then charge for each hour / day you work
- This is a good method when you’re not sure exactly how much time the work is going to take and you want to make sure you’re compensated for the time you work.
- Pro: Get paid all the hours you work.
- Con: Clients pay the price when consultants abuse this model.
- Mitigation: Put in a “Not to Exceed” clause in the contract. This can also be called a “ceiling” on a contract.