The professional world has seen numerous changes in the past decade and among those changes are the rise in people working from remote locations, freelancers, and consultants. People like to be their own boss and like to work from a place where they are most comfortable and this also has positive effects depending on the person and the job they do.
A study published by a leading American journal claims, there are over 55 million freelancers in the United States. This is a staggering number because, during a period where job are becoming scarce, 35% of the American Workforce is working freelance. IT consulting is one among the most promising career choices when it comes to a freelancer.
Working as an IT consultant can be incredibly profitable and rewarding but, reputation is the most important aspect when it comes to IT consulting. A few small mistakes can break that reputation and your career. Here are some of the most common mistakes we have experienced from the consultants we have worked with in Staff Augmentation and Referrals.
1. Doing More than Necessary:
When you are a freelance consultant on your very first project or set of projects, it could be easy to take up extra work that is not part of your set of work. In the beginning it may sound good as your think you are pleasing your client. Very soon though, this would become a major reason for contention between you and your client. Because going outside your marked area makes your client think you are flexible and expect the same from you always. This also reflects on you as being unprofessional.
Always remind the client what your responsibilities are whenever you feel that they are pushing you too much just because you are new. You should remember yourself that you are a consultant and not an employee.
2. Ignoring Contracts:
Many consultants are actually wary of contracts. When asked about why many consultants do not demand for a contract for the first they do when a deal is made, many answered contracts could actually be a deal breaker. This is a wrong idea because many clients who actually work with consultants tend to think a consultant offering a contract is more professional.
Having a proper contract will also be beneficial for you in other ways. You can use it as back up to clearly define what your role and responsibilities are as a consultant and how much time you would make yourself available for the client. Finally the most important reason to have a contract is to remind your client it is time to make a payment.
3. Not Building Relationships:
One of the most overlooked aspects of IT consulting is building strong and lasting relationships. While it is important to stay professional and not get friendly, it is also equally important to build a professional working relationship where the client understands your importance within the organization. This understanding will result in trust and trust becomes referrals. “Relationship Marketing” is one of the most potent marketing tactics for IT consultants that many are not aware of.
4. Scope Creep:
This is in fact the most common mistake that leads to project failure and ending the contract for a consultant. This actually comes from listing to your client a little too much. In some cases the client will be breathing down on your neck and keep pushing you with their demands, while in other cases clients make small suggestions which quickly add to turning your project into something else. This will defeat the purpose of your as a consultant and your skills have not been used.
Here again your contract can be put to good use. You can ask the client to back off and remind them about your expertise and experience and assure them that you would deliver what they are expecting from you.
5. Wrong price tag:
As a new consultant, it might be tempting to price yourself lower than your competitor but this is not going to help you are even your client in the longer run. For example, hourly on-site consulting costs anywhere in the range of $100 to $150 and sometimes, even higher. But, this doesn’t mean a new consultant should charge $100 or lesser a lot depends on your expertise and your contribution to the project. Sometimes the costing also depends on the location and its standards of living, taxes, etc. For example, your services in Boston, would cost much more compared to the same services in Matawan, New Jersey.
These information and inputs were provided by consultants who have worked for and on behalf of XCEL Corp in numerous organizations around the world. XCEL Corp offers reliable Staff Augmentation Services at prices that fit your budget. Apart from these mistakes mentioned here, there are also other smaller mistakes which are commonly committed by IT consultants.
If you would like to know how to choose the right IT consultant, you can also read our previous blog on the same subject.