If you’re thinking about becoming a self-employed HR consultant or coach , it’s worth knowing that you need one big talent which is not necessarily specific to the profession of HR. That is the talent of multi-tasking. You need the ability to work for and please three, four or more clients at the same time. And you need the ability to be managing director, sales director, marketing director, product developer, office manager and finance manager and then the rest at a moment’s notice.

It is rare to meet an individual who does all these things very well. Most of us are very good at some elements and then hopefully get by with the others. Knowing how to “budget” and manage your time to get the best results takes practice. When you are preparing for a coaching session with Client A, while you are finishing off a presentation for Client B, all the time knowing that you haven’t begun the proposal for Client C and that you need to send your financial information to your accountant for the tax return (and you had promised to get that promotional e-mail out, write your blog and meet with your web designer), you have to just get on with it. But let’s face it, you’d much rather have it that way than sitting waiting for the phone to ring or e-mail to pop up.

You can look at it another way. If you are really bad at something in the long list of things that need to be done to be successful or if it’s something you REALLY don’t want to do, get help from someone who’s good at it. My belief is that it’s better to get the basics right, and then buy the rest at the best price you can afford than to risk key elements of running the business not getting done. However, in the early days of starting up, try, try, try to do it all yourself. You don’t want extraneous costs outside of good accounting and legal advice.

One of the greatest traps of working alone, especially if you are working as an independent consultant, is that when you are doing the work you are likely to be neglecting your future planning and marketing. In other words, when you are busy working you stop selling. The consequence of this is that when the job comes to an end, you have to get back into selling mode so there may be a long gap before the money from your next piece of work starts to come in. Erratic cash flow is almost certainly the single most frequent cause for self-employed people to come to grief.

So, one activity which you must address is keeping your profile in the limelight. You need to have an organised campaign which includes attending meetings, talks, seminars, conferences etc., where you will meet individuals of like minds and other interested parties.

As these often take place outside business hours, it does not eat into income generating time, but it does seriously sap your energy levels, especially at the end of a hectic day. You must make an effort to remain in people’s memories; to be around so that when they have a need, your name is top of the list.

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