Project Management

The Freelance PM Consultant: Knowing Your 'Why' and Your 'What'

Laura Dallas Burford is the founder of LAD Enterprizes, a management consulting firm that partners with consultants as well as internal and external consulting organizations to successfully build the operational and delivery aspects of their practices. Laura appreciates feedback on her articles and can be reached at [email protected] She is the author of Project Management for Flat Organizations.

“Do you have a few minutes? I’ve decided the time has come for me to freelance as a project management consultant. What do you think?”

I’ve been asked this question numerous times. My conversations start by illuminating that regardless of what type of consulting a person is considering, it’s not for everyone—and people do not hire “consultants.” People hire someone to assist with solving a problem or to help with an opportunity.

This means it’s important to be clear as to how you can help them. The conversation normally continues by discussing the pros and cons of freelance consulting. The discussion ends with what I believe are the first five steps a person should consider before beginning a career as a freelance project management expert.

Here are the five steps:

1. Evaluate yourself. Perform an assessment of you and your knowledge and skills. Evaluate your strengths, as you want to leverage your strengths as you work with others. Are you a great negotiator? How are your facilitation, team-building and collaboration skills? Can you deal with conflict resolution?

Then, determine if you display the characteristics and behaviors found in good (if not great) consultants. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Am I a problem solver?
  • Do I listen first and then ask the appropriate questions?
  • Do I enjoy continually…

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- Dorothy Parker