Successful Independent Consulting
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Successful Independent Consulting

Relationships That Focus on Mutual Benefit

About the Book

Do you want to become an independent consultant? You'd like to extend your employee-based success to potential clients. How can you get to the point where your potential clients ask for you by name?

Look no further. This practical guide to building your "consulting engine" and creating systems for your business has everything you need to become a successful independent consultant. 

You'll learn how to:

* Assess your value so you can choose which problems to solve for your ideal clients.

* Attract clients on ongoing content marketing.

* Create relationships with the people across the client organization and with other consultants

* Set reasonable fees.

* Create and manage your intellectual property.

* Learn from the engagement to reassess your value.

And much more.

As you consult, you can assess and change your business model for the flexibility you need for _your_ business. 

This practical guide will show you how to succeed—and on your terms. 

Buy this book to start now, improve your existing practice, or prepare for the future. You can become a successful independent consultant.

About the Author

Johanna Rothman
Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” offers frank advice for your tough problems. She helps leaders and teams do reasonable things that work. Equipped with that knowledge, they can then decide how to adapt their product development.

With her trademark practicality and humor, Johanna is the author of 20 books and hundreds of articles. Find the Pragmatic Manager, a monthly email newsletter, and her blogs at and

She is the author of these books:

In addition, she is a contributor to:

For fiction:

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Table of Contents

    • Acknowledgments
    • Introduction
  • Part 1: Build Your Consulting Engine
    • 1. Define Your Unique Value
      • 1.1 How Consultants Add Value to Clients
      • 1.2 Understand Your Skills
      • 1.3 Inventory Your Skills
      • 1.4 Articulate Your Value
      • 1.5 Assess Previous Work
      • 1.6 Choose Which Skills To Reinforce
      • 1.7 Maintain Your Self-Esteem
      • 1.8 Clarify the Value You Bring to Clients
      • 1.9 Now Try This to Recognize Your Unique Value
    • 2. Identify Your Ideal Clients
      • 2.1 Describe the Signals Your Clients See
      • 2.2 Clarify the Signals You Choose to Address
      • 2.3 Define the Problems You Solve
      • 2.4 See the System that Creates These Pains
      • 2.5 Choose Your Ideal Clients
      • 2.6 Update Your Skills and Preferences
      • 2.7 Now Try This to Identify Your Ideal Clients
    • 3. Attract Clients With Content Marketing
      • 3.1 Why Content Marketing?
      • 3.2 Frame Your Successful Content Marketing Strategy
      • 3.3 Drip Your Content Marketing
      • 3.4 Content Marketing Defines Your Brand
      • 3.5 Create a Positive Content Marketing Feedback Loop
      • 3.6 Define Your Content Marketing Tactics
      • 3.7 Network with Your Professional Community
      • 3.8 Create Consistent Content
      • 3.9 Create Your Marketing Plan
      • 3.10 Consider This Marketing Plan Template
      • 3.11 Consider These Content Marketing Tips
      • 3.12 Now Try This to Help Clients Discover You With Content Marketing
    • 4. Build Presence with Active Marketing
      • 4.1 Network with People
      • 4.2 Create a Robust Online Profile
      • 4.3 Finish Preparation for Your Active Marketing Conversation
      • 4.4 Create Your Active Marketing Discussion Script
      • 4.5 Call—Not Email or Social Media
      • 4.6 Call Everyone You Know
      • 4.7 Plan for Three Months of Active Marketing
      • 4.8 Maintain Active Marketing Until Clients Contact You
      • 4.9 Now Try This to Attract Clients with Active Marketing
    • 5. Build the Client Relationship
      • 5.1 Recognize Your Buyer
      • 5.2 Beware of Fake Economic Buyers
      • 5.3 Decide How You Will Respond to RFPs
      • 5.4 Set the Context for Trust with a Discovery Call
      • 5.5 Learn with a Discovery Call
      • 5.6 Gain Agreement Before You Write a Proposal
      • 5.7 Decline the Work
      • 5.8 Respect the Client
      • 5.9 Now Do This to Build Your Client Relationships
    • 6. Create Successful Proposals
      • 6.1 Start with This Proposal Template
      • 6.2 Summarize the Client’s Situation and Outcomes
      • 6.3 Clarify the Value in the Proposal
      • 6.4 Clarify the Client’s Options
      • 6.5 Use Time as Your Advantage
      • 6.6 Fix Common Proposal Problems
      • 6.7 Decline the Work When It Doesn’t Fit
      • 6.8 Check That the Proposal Offers Benefits to Both Parties
      • 6.9 Create a Trusted Advisor Retainer Agreement
      • 6.10 Track the Proposal
      • 6.11 When the Client Rejects Your Proposal
      • 6.12 Now Try This for Proposals
    • 7. Set Reasonable Fees
      • 7.1 Money Creates Freedom
      • 7.2 What’s Your Time Worth to You?
      • 7.3 Set Your Fee
      • 7.4 Make Sure You’re Happy With Your Fee
      • 7.5 Set Fees for Writing and Speaking
      • 7.6 Negotiate With Companies for Speaking Fees
      • 7.7 Set a Fee That Reflects Mutual Value and Benefit
      • 7.8 Use Higher Fees to Get Better Clients
      • 7.9 Now Try This to Set Your Reasonable Fees
    • 8. Manage Your Intellectual Property
      • 8.1 Assess Your Intellectual Property
      • 8.2 Read All Legal Agreements
      • 8.3 Understand Your IP Rights
      • 8.4 License Your IP
      • 8.5 Review to Repurpose Your Content
      • 8.6 Now Try This to Manage Your IP
    • 9. Strengthen the Client Relationship
      • 9.1 Create Congruent Relationships
      • 9.2 Review Your Congruent Behaviors
      • 9.3 Recognize Our Incongruent Behaviors
      • 9.4 Recognize Incongruent Client Behaviors
      • 9.5 Trap: Triangulate Interpersonal Issues
      • 9.6 Recognize When This Client No Longer Fits
      • 9.7 Ask for a Referral
      • 9.8 Follow Up to Check on Progress
      • 9.9 Now Do This to Strengthen Your Client Relationships
  • Part 2: Create and Maintain a Business That Works for You
    • 10. Decide How You Will Make Money
      • 10.1 Organize Your Products and Services
      • 10.2 Create Multiple Income Streams for Resilience
      • 10.3 Create Passive Income Streams
      • 10.4 Offer Consulting Based on Your Desired Consulting Role
      • 10.5 Stop Some Work and Continue to Make Money
      • 10.6 Assess Your Business Model Over Time
      • 10.7 Now Do This to Examine How You Will Make Money
    • 11. Manage Your Money
      • 11.1 Start Your Business with Ease
      • 11.2 Maintain Your Financial Health
      • 11.3 Understand Your Cash Flow
      • 11.4 Track Revenue, Not Units
      • 11.5 Write the Checks Yourself
      • 11.6 Decide How You Will Pay Yourself
      • 11.7 Don’t Let Your Clients Manage Your Money
      • 11.8 Evaluate Requests for Free Work
      • 11.9 When Should You Hire People?
      • 11.10 Now Try This to Manage Your Money
    • 12. Manage Your Health
      • 12.1 Enlist Your Family for Support
      • 12.2 Learn with Colleagues
      • 12.3 Build Your Learning Support System
      • 12.4 Plan Your Physical Health
      • 12.5 Assess Your Emotional Health
      • 12.6 Tips to Manage Your Health
      • 12.7 Now Try This to Manage Your Health
    • 13. Manage Your Calendar
      • 13.1 Manage Your Actions
      • 13.2 Manage Unplanned Work
      • 13.3 Plan with Your Board and Calendar
      • 13.4 Reflect Daily on Your Work
      • 13.5 Reflect Weekly on Your Work
      • 13.6 Schedule Longer Reflections
      • 13.7 Schedule Time to Learn and Market
      • 13.8 Protect Your Work Time
      • 13.9 Now Try This to Manage Your Calendar
    • 14. Collaborate with Other Consultants
      • 14.1 Refer Other Consultants
      • 14.2 Write With Other Consultants
      • 14.3 Present With Other Consultants
      • 14.4 Deliver Client Work with Others
      • 14.5 Create a Legal Partnership for Longer-Term Events
      • 14.6 Agree on a Contract
      • 14.7 Collaboration Traps
      • 14.8 Now Try This for Collaboration
    • 15. Start Your Business
      • 15.1 What Does Success Look Like For You?
      • 15.2 Structure Your Business for Success
      • 15.3 Define Your Web Presence and Email
      • 15.4 Obtain a Business Phone Number
      • 15.5 Open a Business Checking Account
      • 15.6 File Appropriate Business Paperwork
      • 15.7 Organize Where You Will Work
      • 15.8 Assess Your Insurance Needs
      • 15.9 Print Business Cards
      • 15.10 Limit Your Infrastructure Expenses
      • 15.11 Recognize Consulting Business Traps
      • 15.12 Now Do This to Start Your Business
    • 16. Adapt and Evolve Your Successful Practice
      • 16.1 Choose to Adapt Your Practice
      • 16.2 Practice Changing Your Business Model
      • 16.3 The Market Decides When You Change
      • 16.4 Decide What Change Means for Your Business
      • 16.5 Evolve Your Practice Purposefully
      • 16.6 Consulting Is Not for You—Yet
    • Appendix A: Evaluate Your Technical Skills
      • Understand All Your Technical Skills
    • Appendix B: Consider These Consulting Tools
      • See the Client’s Reality
      • Reasoning Tools
      • Use Laws and Principles to Guide Your Thinking
      • Problem-Solving Tools
      • Data Gathering and Visualization Tools
      • Master Your Industry Frameworks
    • Annotated Bibliography and Recommended Reading
    • More from Johanna
  • Notes

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