Spend at least a third of your time marketing, probably for the first three to five years, or until you get a steady enough stream of assignments to generate acceptable income. It’s easy to avoid spending this much time on marketing, so keep track daily of the time you spend on it. If you’re not generating the income, you should be
spending one-third of your time marketing. You may be faced with having to skimp on marketing in order to do a first-class job on the assignments you have. Your best potential for more work is to expand your current assignment. First of all, you have to do a really good job at it. Be alert to needs that you see and to ways your assignment could be expanded. Your next best potential for work is from previous clients. It’s easy to forget about them when you get busy on another job, but they’re important—and relatively easy to keep in touch with.
One issue to consider is whether you give clients what they think they want or what you think they want. You’re best off to tell clients clearly what you think would be best, explaining your reasons, but be willing to compromise to keep a client happy by giving them what they want.
A good source of leads and introductions is networking. Targeted letters can also be useful in getting an opportunity to discuss possibilities with a company. Review the chapters on networking and selling
yourself because marketing for consulting is similar to marketing in a job search.
In marketing your services or in working on an assignment, identify the real decision maker. It probably isn’t the person you’re working for on the assignment but his or her boss. The decision maker is the most important person you have to please. Expect some jobs will be cut back, canceled, or deferred.