Since launching ME Consulting in January, I have struggled with describing myself as a “consultant”. In many ways, “consultant” is seen as a dirty word because it evokes images of hiring people who over bill and over charge, under deliver, and leave you feeling unhappy about the whole experience.
Of course, there are many consultants who provide great service and terrific value but the profession’s reputation becomes quickly tarnished when high-profile issues such as Ontario’s $1-billion e-health fiasco emerges – a situation in which consultants were paid huge amounts of money but apparently generated little to show for it.
My approach to consulting is a combination of strategic and tactical services – I provide insight to clients about what to do, and I’m help them do it. It’s a hands-on approach that has everything to do with making sure a client gets what they want. My work isn’t about chalking up more billable hours because I believe financial success happens as a result of making your clients happy by doing great work.
For more thoughts on consults, check out this blog post by David Crow. His argument is it’s difficult to make a lot of money because consulting doesn’t scale well. I would argue there are other benefits to being a consultant that have little to do with money.
Sure, this may comes across as either idealistic or slick salesmanship but it’s approach that works for me and, hopefully, works for clients as well. At the end of the day, doing good work makes it easy for clients to pay you, it makes it easy to use you again, and it encourages them to recommend you.
Update: Here’s a definition of a “prosultant” from David Isenberg, which sounds good to me.