Every profession has its own set of mistakes that people in the field 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 like oneself. While it’s appropriate for one to understand these goals in detail to be well spent working towards them, remember not to focus too much of your time on them. Make sure you are still working towards your own goals, and do not neglect to take the opportunity to make things better for yourself in any way possible.
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 are often working on projects that need immediate attention. It is very easy for someone in this profession to work day by day and fail to spend time planning 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 there are 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.