What Does It Take To Be A Successful Consultant?

AIChE Webinar
Originally delivered Jun 17, 2009

This webinar begins with a look at what independent consulting is. Not everyone has the same understanding or expectations for consulting, so success may be measured in different ways. As a consultant who has worked independently for more than ten years and served more than 120 different clients, Dr. David Dickey offers his unique, and insightful, perspective.

Consulting work may include advising clients on process or mechanical problems, writing specifications, teaching short courses, being an expert witness, or writing technical articles. Technical ability is only part of the story of consulting. Marketing can make the key difference between success and failure. Good written and verbal communication skills are essential. Being able to recognize your strengths and weaknesses is necessary to the start-up, and continuation, of your business. Finding enjoyment in doing a variety of tasks makes the job interesting, but at times the daily problems with computers, accounting, and office operations can be serious frustrations.

To understand what it takes to be a consultant, you must ask a variety of questions. How much should I charge? What insurance do I need? How do I handle confidentiality? How much travel is necessary? Knowing what you want and how to achieve it requires focus and perseverance, especially when you are on your own. Consulting is not for everyone, but understanding what it is may help you make more informed decisions about your own path. Dr. Dickey helps you evaluate if a consulting practice is right for you.

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