Good news! I finally hit on something I already have skill in, that I can set up a consulting shingle for immediately. I had my first client yesterday. I was able to solve all of her problems. She was thrilled, and already wants to schedule another appointment for additional consulting.
I never considered consulting on this topic as a profession before because it’s a deep, deep topic, and my knowledge level is intermediate at best. However, as many, many of the create-your-own-worklife blogs I’ve been reading point out, you don’t need to know everything, you only need to know more than your client. I had forgotten how I struggled with the same knowledge when it was all new to me, how arcane and incomprehensible it all seemed. And being both a midwesterner by birth, and a woman, I am the last to see my own expertise in anything.
I am pretty excited, as money is coming in immediately (and not a moment too soon).
The topic is related to other things I do in my life, so continuing to build my expertise will be a benefit, not a step in the opposite direction from where I want to go. This has been a big concern as I looked at career options. Once I had figured out that I wanted to make my blogs the center of my life, whether they were the source of my income or not, it was very frustrating to feel I had to pour energy into something else to make that possible!
I have also been trying to find something that would not sap all of my creative energy. This fits that bill too. Last but not least, since I am working from home by phone, I don’t have to buy new clothes. Thoreau would approve :)
Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.
Henry David Thoreau
My only reservation is whether working with people will tire me out too much. I was pretty wired yesterday, but it was my first time, plus I had an important appointment later in the day that I was anxious I would miss, even though I had scheduled plenty of time. Hopefully, the one-on-one nature of the interactions, and the pleasure I take in problem-solving for and empowering my clients will offset the energy impact of the interaction to some extent.
Also, I already think I’m undercharging. I didn’t want to scare her off so I started low, but she actually seemed willing to pay the rate I asked and then some, she was so happy to find someone to help her.
Since she was my first client, though she doesn’t know it, I will probably keep her at the starting rate forever. If that experience had been bad, I might’ve rejected this path without giving it a fair trial, so I’m eternally grateful to her for being such a perfect client. But I’ll charge new clients more, which means I won’t have to schedule as many hours of interaction to make ends meet. Also, I’ve thought of a related service I can offer which does not entail interaction.
So, I’m off to build a website, and a Facebook page, and find the right software to store client details, and figure out the best way to market myself. Wish me luck!