This is a common problem that many consultants face at some point in their career. And it’s a problem you have to deal with. Otherwise you will have a hard time doing the job you like.
The solution to this problem is surprisingly simple: join a consulting firm. A good consulting firm offers all the benefits of a career in consulting combined with the security of a permanent contract. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
You’re not alone!
In our previous article on consulting we wrote that top consultants are great marketeers. Top consultants are great at communicating their results and they continually grow and nurture their network to keep interesting projects coming their way.
However, not all consultants are like this. Chances are you’re among the majority of consultants who feel plain awkward about networking and marketing themselves.
Trust us… This is perfectly normal!
Marketing yourself can be a daunting task. Either your network is too small (when you start out), too cold (because you haven’t paid attention in a while), or you don’t like to market yourself (because you’re shy).
Luckily there is a solution: Consulting firms!
How do consulting firms work?
Consulting firms come in different shapes and sizes. Their niche, services, geographical focus and client portfolio can vary significantly.
Pauwels Consulting for example is a Belgian consulting firm that delivers project sourcing, corporate recruitment and turnkey projects to large corporate clients in Europe. We specialize in engineering, life sciences and IT. We have a large team of full time consultants, but we also work with freelancers to complement our permanent staff.
We deliver our services directly to our clients, but we also work with managed service providers (MSPs). Such MSPs handle a substantial part of a client’s HR and recruitment activities on behalf of the client.
In either case, every day we get requests from our clients to:
- find experts to complement their project teams for the limited time of the project. This is mostly referred to as project sourcing or project staffing.
- find experts to join their permanent workforce. This is often referred to as corporate recruitment or permanent staffing.
- manage and execute projects from beginning to end. We call this turnkey projects.
Subsequently, we investigate whether we have available experts on board to meet our clients’ needs. If this is the case, we brief our consultants and we join them at their intake interview with the client or the client’s MSP.
If we can’t find the right consultant in our own staff (e.g. because all qualified consultants are occupied), we turn to our large network, job sites and social media to find:
- consultants to join our permanent staff
- freelance consultants to complement our team for the duration of our clients’ project (and preferably longer).
What’s in it for you?
Joining a consulting firm can secure, advance and enrich your career in many ways, but here are at least 3 major benefits of joining a consulting firm:
1. You can focus on what you do best
If you’re looking for a permanent job, consulting firms like Pauwels Consulting offer all the benefits of consulting with the extra security of a permanent contract.
This means that you no longer have to market yourself.
You can focus on what you do best: consulting. And we can focus on what we do best: interpreting our clients’ needs and finding the best experts to cover these needs.
2. The best education you can possibly get
In addition, consulting firms enable you to work in different project teams on various projects with the same or different clients. Working in different work environments is the best way for building your knowledge, expertise and professional network quickly and easily. This is the best education you can possibly get and an excellent way to secure your future as a consultant.
3. Extra benefits for (freelance) consultants
Consulting firms also offer an additional benefit to (freelance) consultants. Most large companies don’t hire individual freelance consultants. They prefer to work with an MSP or a limited number of consulting agencies to ensure good quality, quick turnaround and competitive pricing.
Good consulting firms have a large and diversified client portfolio. If you’re a consultant and if you can cover a client’s needs, you may be able to land a job at a corporate client you would otherwise never qualify for.