Episode 228: Build relationships now with future clients – a tip for executives who plan to become a consultant

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February 11, 2020

For executives who are thinking about becoming a consultant in a year or two, a time investment of two hours per week now can dramatically improve your chances of success when you launch your practice.


Today, one tip for executives who think they might want to go into consulting in a few years, but are happy in their jobs for now.

Hey, Welcome to Unleashed, the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. Unleashed is a production of Umbrex, the worlds first global community connecting top-tier independent professionals with one another. I’m your host, Will Bachman

I was recently chatting with a friend who is a Vice President of Data Analytics, who told me that he enjoys his job but thinks he might want to go back to independent consulting in a few years.

My suggestion to him was – use the opportunity now to build relationships with people in similar roles at other companies.

Certainly there may be a few companies that are competitors where you wouldn’t want to open up very much, but companies in just about every industry have some executive in charge of analytics. 

And for a Vice President at a well-known firm, it is a pretty easy request to reach out to another Vice President with a connection request on LinkedIn to say, “Hey, we’re both in similar roles, would love to connect for a short call and get your advice on XYZ.”  Send out 20 of those requests per week and you’ll get maybe 2 conversations scheduled per week.

That could take in total two hours of effort per week.

Over the course of two years, that is 200 Vice Presidents of Data Analytics that you’ve spoken with.

Whose email you have.

Whose phone number you have.

Who think of you as a peer.

Or even better – get involved in the industry association – the membership committee is probably happy to have a volunteer help invite people to the next conference.

And it isn’t as if you are stealing time from your employer: you’ll probably get some great ideas from connecting with peers. 

When you are ready to transition and set up your independent consulting practice, you now have a client list you can reach out to.

Executives who have spoken to you, who respect you as someone who has been in their shoes and understands their role.

And of course, this same strategy works for any function.

It is easy to focus only internally when you are working within a corporation. Benefits accrue when you reach out to build relationships outside the firm.

Have you been successful at building relationships outside your firm? I’d love to hear about  it and the impact it has had – you can email me at unleashed@umbrex.com

Or – You can ask me a question or sign up for the weekly Unleashed email or download the transcript of any past episode at askunleashed.com

Thanks for listening!