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Every profession has its own set of mistakes that people can make. Consultants are no exception to this rule. One may encounter some common pitfalls as a consultant, and we want to help one avoid them by listing the most common mistakes below.


Focusing on the Wrong Things

The most important thing to avoid as a consultant is focusing on the wrong things. When one joins a client, they will have their concerns and goals for hiring someone for help. While it’s appropriate to understand these goals in detail to be well spent working towards them, remember to bring your own expertise into the equation and manage expectations. Make sure the goals you work towards are reasonably attainable and communicate if the client’s goals are unreasonable.


Taking a Client for Granted

Once one has joined a client, it’s important to remember that they hired you because of all the reasons why people like yourself would be valuable additions to their team. While this does not mean you should spend every waking hour working towards fulfilling whatever goals and needs they may have, take the time each week or month to review the terms of your agreement and make sure you are still fulfilling each part of it.


Forgetting to Plan

As a consultant, you often work on projects that need immediate attention. It is very easy for someone in this profession to work day by day and fail to plan each piece of the project before beginning it. However, this can be disastrous, especially if your client expects something from you that requires months of planning and preparation before it can be completed.


Being Passive About Your Role

You are hired to do a job, and you must know what that is. If certain parts of the project or contract you feel need more attention than others, make sure this is appropriately communicated with both your client and yourself. You may also want to consider taking on additional responsibilities, such as writing a proposal for your client’s project or putting together a presentation to show off what you have accomplished.


Overcharging Your Client

It is important to remember that you are a consultant, and while some people may expect you to work long hours for their project or task, this does not mean they want to pay an arm and a leg for it. Make sure the price tag of each part of the assignment is appropriate before beginning anything on behalf of your client.


Being Too Formal

When you are a consultant, it is vital to maintain a certain level of professionalism throughout your work. However, this does not mean that things cannot be relaxed or casual during the assignment. If team lunches and dinners happen with some frequency, for example, don’t feel like you need to avoid these events entirely because they are not “professional.”


Not Seeking Help When You Need It

As a consultant, one of the most important things to remember is that not everything will go as planned. If you run into an issue with something your client expects from you and do not understand how to solve it on your own, make sure this problem is appropriately communicated and seek out the necessary help from your client or someone else who might be able to assist you.



Scott Gelbard