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Expert advice: Tips on how to be a successful consultant

I recently wrote a feature for New Business magazine – grab a copy and check it out.

Being a consultant offers you the chance to work for yourself while passing on the benefits of your experience to others. Ebony Gayle author of ‘How to Become a Consultant’, offers some tips on how to make a success of it.

 

In life we have good and bad days but no matter what, you must not give up on yourself, keep on moving and pushing forward. ~Ebony Gayle

10 Tips for networking success

Networking can feel daunting for many. The idea of walking up to strangers at an event to spark up a conversation may fill the average person with panic, anxiety and could give them clammy hands.

Here are some tips to help you along your way:

Breathe
Take a deep breath and relax. Remember if you’re at a networking event everyone present is there for the same reason as you: to network and make connections. Try doing some deep breathing exercises to help you calm down: breathe in on the count of four, hold for the count of four and slowly release your breath for the count of four.

Attend events
There are events for every industry, be it tradeshows, meet-up events, conferences, breakfast seminars or lunch events. They all provide great networking opportunities. Make sure you are researching and attending relevant events to make new contacts.

Interact online
Don’t forget there are plenty of opportunities to network online via social platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook where you can find various groups with which to engage. There is also Instagram and Twitter, where you can participate in chats such as ‘#Bizhour’ which provide an opportunity to network with others from around the world.

Be visible
There’s no point going to a networking event and then hiding in the corner. Let your presence be known –go and introduce yourself and don’t forget to take your business cards. Remember to note down your new contacts.
I wrote this article for MBA World and you can read more here:

https://community.mbaworld.com/blog/b/weblog/posts/10-tips-for-networking-success#p8UBKa8d5tM2CEv3.99

Consulting: How To Set Your Fees And Working Contracts

Working for yourself and being your own boss maybe your ultimate end goal. Working on a variety of projects with a spectrum of clients can be empowering and gratifying.

As a consultant you are in charge, you have to register as self-employed, set up the consultancy, find your clients, put contracts in places and manage your workload. Not to mention, ensure you are delivering a top-notch service, whilst cultivating new leads and managing your finances.

But when it comes to finances, many don’t know where to start, not only do you need to file your taxes but also set your fees. Yes, there’s lots to do but taking a bite size approach to it all, is key.

Setting your Fees

For some reason when it comes to discussing money with clients, whilst we all want and expect to be paid well, nobody seems to want to talk about it. There is a reluctance to tackle this head on, we end up feeling awkward about asking to be paid for our services. Rather than being a taboo subject, it should be something we talk about more openly.

Setting your fees can be tricky, many questions spring to mind, such as, how much do you charge and how do you work it out? Do you take your current salary and multiply it? Do you charge an hourly or daily fee? Should you set a retainer fee? If you set your fee too low, you are doing yourself a disservice, and if you set it to high you may find yourself struggling to get any work at all.

There’s lots of advice out there about setting your fees, for example The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), has suggested taking the equivalent earnings you would have received as an employee and adding a third. This approach may work for you but if you’re like me, you’ll want to look at all the advice before making a decision.

So here are some tips on setting your fees:

Do your research, check out the competition and ask fellow consultants what they charge.

To help benchmark your fees check Major Players a recruitment agency that regularly run salary surveys,  as well as Londonfreelance.org, which suggests freelance rates and advice for various roles.

If you plan to consult via a recruitment agency, they will have set day rates, depending on your experience and the industry which you can adopt for private work.

Take into consideration your skills set and charge accordingly. However, be prepared to be flexible and negotiate but don’t sell yourself short.

You can read the rest of my article over on minutehacks.com  

9 to 5 work rebels on Youtube channel

So I’ve decided to finally join and upload videos on to youtube. I always advise clients to provide content in a variety of ways, as we all like to consume content differently. Some prefer to read, others like to see, or hear. So I’m taking my own advice so I can share my thoughts and tips for freeing yourself from the 9-5 as well as touching on other topics.

Subscribe and share – the title of my new channel is  9to5workrebels – if you have any questions or subjects you’d like me to cover let me know.

 

Why consultancy might be perfect for you

Working for yourself and being your own boss can be extremely empowering and fulfilling.  However, for some, it can be the total opposite – a completely daunting experience.

Not everyone wants to be a boss or run their own company and that is perfectly fine. The thought of having to manage people, be responsible for a company, operations, service delivery, human resources, finances etc. is no easy task and not for the faint-hearted.

On the flip side, working in a 9-5 (more like 9-6 these days) can also be a living night day-mare for many, it can be rigid, time-consuming and if you’re not happy doing it, a disappointing and miserable day-to-day encounter.

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Middle-ground

That’s why, consulting, in my opinion, offers the perfect middle ground.  You are essentially working for yourself and registered as self-employed. You can choose to set up as a sole trader or a Limited Company you’ll still have the responsibility of managing some business tasks but on a much smaller scale. You can always elect to outsource business processes such as accounting and hire a virtual assistant.

Working as a consultant in the field you specialise in, means you can choose when and where you work. You can opt to work independently, in collaboration with others or decide to scale up and delegate to your own team of consultants. The decision is entirely up to you. It really comes down to how much responsibility you want to take on.

You can read the res of my article published via Precious online magazine.

 

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Mental wellbeing in PR

Working in PR and communications is stressful, according to the recent CIPR state of the profession report, around one in six PR professionals (16%) report living with a mental health condition – an increase of 10% from the year before. Any percentage increase is a concern, and highlights that more needs to be done in our industry to address this. It’s fine to have policies in place but we need managers to recognise that their staff are their most important assets and happy healthy staff make for a productive work force. KPIs are important but so is mental wellness.

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Like many I have suffered with depression myself, I recall working for a very well-known organisation, responsible for one of the largest and busiest directorate’s, my daughter was in nursery but was due to start primary school so I knew that I would have to look into flexible working to accommodate this.

I was juggling motherhood, the pressures of working in a high-profile press office and some personal family issues in addition to preparing for the transition from nursery to school and waiting for acceptance into both breakfast and afterschool clubs.

This is a piece I wrote for Mental Health Awareness Week, published in CIPR’s Influence Online magazine you can read the rest here

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Colourful radio interview

I was interviewed by award winning business woman, author and radio host, Sonia Poleon, on the show I used to produce. We go into detail on what my new book ‘How to become a consultant’ covers and much more.

 

Listen here: http://www.colourfulradio.com/content/guest/31188

 

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8 ways to quit your job and be your own boss

A recent research revealed over half of the UK employees are unhappy at work. PR and communications specialist Ebony Gayle shows you how you can ditch the 9-5 and be your own boss.

Are you looking for a way to breakout of the confines of the workplace? Is work draining and depriving you of your happiness? Does remaining in the workplace until retirement make you take a sharp, deep breath and reconsider your life?  Well if you answer yes, trust and believe you are not alone in this. Research published last month revealed that more than half of all UK employees are unhappy at work.  Reasons for unhappiness at work can vary, the workplace can be restrictive which can be a struggle for parents and those with other aspirations. The awareness that we spend more time at work with colleagues, than we do with our families and friends.
 The UK retirement age is currently 66 years old, but, set to increase in the coming years, and the average life expectancy is roughly 79 years old for females.  With this type of future forecast, it’s no surprise that self-employment is on the rise, guess why? Because they are more contented.  In fact a study last month of 5,000 workers concluded that self-employed people are more successful in their careers and felt happier in their job.

So, if you are looking for a way to escape the workplace here are 8 ideas to explore.

This article was published in Black Beauty & Hair Magazine click here to read the rest.

 

 

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Your CAREER, how to do what you want when you want

Are you looking for a change in your work life? Do you feel like work is depriving you of your happiness? Are you fed up of the 9-5 grind? Do you feel like you are ready to make the next move in your career but not sure what to do? Or maybe you feel like your career is stagnating and you’re at an intersection of indecision.

Working in a 9-5 (usually longer) can start off nicely, but soon morph into a living nightmare. It can be restrictive, time consuming and if you don’t like your job, an extremely unsatisfactory and depressing daily experience. At one point in my career, I felt trapped and depressed, plodding along in my 9-5 job until I decided to step-up and make a change. I wanted to have control over my life and how I spent
my time, so I decided to set up my own consultancy. If you like the sound of being your own boss, deciding when and where you work, you should seriously consider becoming a consultant. It’s a great way to free yourself from the 9-5 drudgery, by using the skills you already have.

Working as a consultant in the field you already specialise in, means, you can choose to work independently or with others. You can remain an independent, or decide to scale up, hire staff and delegate. You can choose to work from anywhere in world. The decision is entirely yours to make and boils down to how much responsibility you want to take on and how it will impact your work-life balance. I know lots of consultants that split their time between living in the UK and abroad
because being a consultant allows them the freedom to do so.

You can read the rest of my article over on Irish Tech News – Link below.

Your Career, How to do what you want and when you want.

 

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8 signs that you need to change careers and kiss your 9-5 goodbye

Remaining in a job you hate is more common than you realise, even if you’re high up the corporate ladder. This is something I identified with, that was, until I left my comfortable management position to become my own boss and freed myself from the 9-5.

Before I took the leap, I had to re-evaluate myself. I wanted to make a career change but to be honest, I was a bit scared to step-up. I soon realised that I was getting in my own way of progression – why? Because of the types of conversation I was having with myself. We can often be dismissive and quick to diminish our own self-worth.

How many times have you talked yourself out of opportunities? How many times have you told yourself you are not good enough or just lacked self-belief to go for what you really want in life? Don’t deprive yourself of your goals and aspirations any longer, it’s ok to be different and do things your way.

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If you are at a careers cross road, no matter where you are in the corporate chain, here are eight signs you need to say goodbye to your 9-5.

1. You’re unhappy on a daily basis – Everyday feels like blue Monday and Friday is the best day of the week because it’s the last. You hate being at your job and you are only there because you have to pay your bills. You live for the weekends and holidays and dread when Monday rolls around.

To read the rest of the key signs I flag in this article I wrote for Real Business click here.