5 ways consultants can create diversified income streams (yes, even during a pandemic)

I’m the first to admit that back in my early days of consulting, I tended to keep a lot of eggs in one basket. I had a few clients that came and went. But I always depended on my bread-and-butter client to help “keep the wolf from the door” as they say.

That was a big mistake. And it’s one I see many coaches and consultants making. We all dream of having that one main client who can hold our bottom line, should other gigs be unpredictable.

These days, however, we can no longer rely on any single source of revenue, whether it provides one-off or regular engagements. Things are simply too uncertain.

So we must adapt.

The reality is we’re doing business differently now, thanks to the economy being up-ended due to COVID-19.

Know this: Engaging in best practices still applies. Being a Trusted Advisor has to continue to be your number one priority as we move through the next few months and years.

With a Trusted Advisor approach to everything you do, you can still win business, even during these challenging times.

Here are 5 tips to create diversified income streams:

1. Working directly with corporate clients as a solo consultant. Corporate clients are still “out there”. And they still need the services of external providers, especially now that many are in the throes of managing so much change. Therefore, you must be REALLY specific and targeted in your solutions. And above all, be sensitive to their needs. The reality is the needs they had five months ago are NOT the same as they are now. Determining a strong message that is articulated well (across your entire business, social channels, etc.) is paramount. And another hot tip – always look for ways you can add value. 

For example, my colleague Adrian Victor, Founder & CEO of Amplitude, was a recent guest on one of our Corporate Conversations interviews. Chris McGirr and I chatted with him about what he’s seeing in the corporate workplace right now, and we also discussed his great complimentary value-add Employee Pulse Survey. The survey helps organizations gauge how their remote and on-site workforce is experiencing the pandemic, and where they are in terms of engagement and productivity.

Adrian is demonstrating to organizations that he understands what they’re facing. He’s developed this free survey to enable corporate leaders to get their “fingers on the pulse” of their workforce without adding more effort to their workload. The opportunity for revenue generation comes afterwards once gaps in engagement and productivity are determined. Then Adrian can have a conversation with leaders about potentially engaging him to deliver customized services based on the initial data collected from the survey. 

2. Develop collaborative partnerships and new offerings. Creating joint venture partnerships where you work with one or multiple colleagues to service clients is a great way to bring in additional income. For example, most of you who are following me, know that I’ve partnered with Chris McGirr of Strategic Counsel, Inc. over the past few months. We’ve combined our extensive experience working both sides of the consulting table to bring even more value to the services I offer. We’ve developed webinars, the Corporate Conversations interviews as well as co-coached many private Platinum 1:1 clients and delivered a 12-week Land Corporate Contracts in the New World of Work Group Coaching program.

Right now, we’re working with Spenergy Certified, a company that offers a unique ultra-violet (UVC lighting) disinfection solution for workplaces, restaurants, medical spaces, and more. We’re working to support this company to fast-track bringing their solution to market with amazing results. We’ve also partnered on the project with media expert Teresa Kruze and digital marketing expert Nyima Gyalmo of The Social Sherpa. The value we bring as partners is really making a difference in how the client is moving forward into a wide-open field of possibilities. To learn more, see CTV news coverage: https://youtu.be/utUcDVT0WuE

3. Repurpose your offerings to include virtual teaching. With everyone working from home or in some remote fashion now, it’s easy to pivot to offering virtual educational webinars and e-courses. Regarding webinars, you need to get comfortable with technology such as Zoom or Skype. This is another way for you to give value-added services and allow potential clients to get a taste of your business. Each offering should include a clear call to action, whether that’s to subscribe to your newsletter, sign up for a fee-based course or other special offer, make sure you get prospects to take the next step in their journey with you.

4. Work as an associate for consulting firms. Similar to how I work as a senior consultant with LHH Knightsbridge, you can search for opportunities to work part-time or ad-hoc, hiring yourself out as a consultant, subject-matter expert and/or coach. This can include engagements with large, medium and small organizations. You need to first figure out if there is STRONG alignment to have a subject matter expert on board, especially if you’re an executive with deep experience. You can be brought on to deliver services in a specific area, and once your foot is in the door, you could be called back for other projects.

5. Last, but definitely not least, create virtual workshops. Corporate workshops can be very lucrative (earlier this year I gave a webinar on this subject, which was a runaway hot topic - we had over 250 people register!). As with any service offering, first you need to ensure there is a need for the topic. And right now, with SO much going on, there is a very good chance you can get in the door with this service. Again, a corporate workshop done well can lead to other corporate engagements. 

As you can see, for consultants and coaches, there is still business out there to be had. Your first priority should be to offer value (and services) as a Trusted Advisor. Once you have that foundation in place, and you keep the CURRENT needs of your prospects and clients front and centre, you’ll have every opportunity to land new and repeat business – yes, even in the face of a pandemic!

About the author

Kim Chernecki helps high-performing freelance executives, consultants, coaches and other experts, land lucrative corporate contracts. She is the creator of the Land Corporate Contracts Fast-Track System, and is a top-rated sales performance executive, facilitator, coach, advisor, speaker and strategist. A 25-year entrepreneur, Kim has consulted with executives from 100+ leading North American and Fortune 1000 companies and has, herself, started up and helped grow 10 businesses and business divisions. She’s closed millions of dollars in corporate contracts, and provides powerful strategies and proven formulas to help her clients do the same.

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