Create a Steady Pipeline

April 28, 2010

As an independent consultant, it becomes clear fast that your marketing creates surges of interest, which in turn generate your engagements.  If you’ve been in business for more than a few months you know, too, that business seems to come in clumps – lots of work followed by a dearth.

The typical consultant puts in a massive push of marketing when times are lean, then gets busy handling the response to the marketing and delivering on new contracts. During this time there is relatively little effort put into marketing, or significantly less than when there is not much business at hand. The result is a delayed drop in engagements. This accounts for most of the wide swings we experience in both contracts and revenue.

I have spent the last two years studying how to create a steady stream of income. I need this to support my family and lifestyle. There are three things that most influence your ability to generate regular, steadily climbing revenues:

  1. Your mindset. That’s right. It’s a variation of positive mental attitude, and it’s as true as it can be. Those who believe in themselves, their value, and their ability to attract good, solid business are best at it. Further, those who know how important it is to systematically, consistently reach out to their market find ways to generate ongoing marketing activity that provides their potential clients with a solid go-to source for the expertise they offer.
  2. A strong commitment to both understanding and developing your capacity to serve. You are an independent because you have an above average capacity to deliver. Those who get better and better at generating value are the same people who never stop developing themselves.  Consistently pick up new skills, and refine those you already have. Improve your ability to communicate and deliver, every week, every month, every quarter.  Set out to move the needle, to create discernible progress in your core competencies. It fuels a steadily evolving pipeline of engagements.
  3. Every new skill and competency you acquire deserves a fresh foray into the marketplace, communicating to the people who know and love you what you now have to share. Build methods of engagement that work for you. Make a commitment to deliver regular blog posts, newsletters, workshops, symposia.  Find the method that your best clients prefer and become adept at generating outreach regularly.

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