Knowledge is power, so you can help many businesses by sharing your skills and insights. Because of this, self-employed consultants have a lot to offer. With many desiring your help, success may seem like a short sprint. But often, there are few hurdles along the way. To make sure none of these challenges take you off track, learn how to be aware of them.

This guide will discuss challenges of being a consultant, including:

  1. Managing time
  2. Periods without work
  3. Finding clients
  4. Technology
  5. Managing finances

Managing time

The first challenge for a self-employed consultant is managing your time. When you are your own boss and juggle multiple clients, keeping to a schedule can be difficult. Today’s common problems often relate to working from home

You may have too much work to juggle, which makes it difficult to prioritise your tasks. There could also be distractions you wouldn’t have had in the office and a tendency to procrastinate, being at home. There can be many issues that you face through poor management, but there are ways to help.

Poor time management can affect the quality of your services. Luckily, most phones, laptops or tablets offer built-in calendars to keep track of your day. Schedule everything in your plan, leaving extra time in between for flexibility. Also, remember to set aside breaks for yourself to avoid getting burned out or overwhelmed. 

It’s important to use tools that can streamline your processes and save you time. Here are some recommendations for different software to keep organised:

Productivity software 

Appointment scheduling software

Finance management software

Periods without work

The only thing worse than too much work is no work at all. For any service, you may have busy days and quiet ones. But it’s how you plan for them that helps you to overcome the challenge. 

Firstly, you should accept the likelihood of dry spells. It can be easy to forget it’s a possibility when you have built up a regular flow of work. But it would help if you took comfort that even the most experienced freelance professionals go through it. So by expecting periods of no work, you can be more prepared for them.

To help with slow times, set aside money while the work comes in. Many businesses keep a rainy day fund, and self-employed consultants should do the same. It’s essential to keep track of how much you’re getting for work to set aside monthly amounts.

The Countingup app linked to your business account features cash flow insights. You get notified of how much is going in and if you have costs taken out. Setting aside funds can be quicker and easier to remember by having everything laid out.

Finding clients

To lessen the likelihood of quiet times, you’ll need to get work from clients. Once you build a reputation as a consultant, you may find they come to you. For most, though, you need to network and market your services.

Networking involves making connections with other professionals. These people could become clients or offer suggestions for work. But you may also benefit from speaking to other consultants in your industry. LinkedIn is a great networking and recruitment tool to help you grow your connections. 

You can use LinkedIn by messaging individuals to offer your services directly. With the information presented on the platform, you can tailor your approach to each potential client’s business. This approach may help in finding clients to work with remotely.

If you are looking to work with local businesses, there may be other valuable ways to find work. Facebook often uses community pages to engage with local areas. You can post what you offer on that platform and ask others to share. Beyond social media, you could use local radio and newspapers for marketing your services.

Marketing can significantly range in costs. Some channels may be cheaper than others to use. Making sure you budget your spending is crucial. Countingup includes an expense categorisation feature, so you can record each marketing activity separately. Having the information available will help you decide where to focus funds for finding clients. 

Technology

Digital software changes quickly, which can prove a struggle to keep up. Different industries use varieties of tools to have meetings and produce work. Without the latest and up-to-date versions, you could be at a disadvantage to competing consultants.

Staying aware and dedicating time to learn new skills may improve your ability to keep up. You could also pre-plan that you may need upgrades, so set aside money to deal with those costs. Specific software may not be compatible with older computers. So planning for change should also be considered across everything you use.

Buying new equipment and paying for new tools to use can quickly add up. With Countingup’s receipt capture tool, you can use your smartphone camera to add paper billings to your digital ones. 

Manage finances with Countingup

All the challenges you face as a consultant can affect your finances. Managing your finances ensures you cover costs and access the money you earn. 

It can be challenging to keep a work-life balance as a self-employed person. Still, it’s easier to keep your money separate with a business account. Countingup can keep your finances secure and make managing them accessible.

Being self-employed also includes the challenge of filing your Self Assessment for taxes. With the Countingup app, you have tax estimates readily available because all of your information is in one place. 

Being a self-employed consultant has its challenges. But with planning and support from Countingup, you can certainly overcome them.

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