Advice and Commentary on the World of Professional Consulting


At the latest Professional Consultant’s Association meeting, the topic of discussing during what we call a roundtable event was “Why The Cobbler’s Children Have No Shoes!” If you know the story, it involves a poor cobbler who makes shoes to sell to customers for food to feed his family, yet doesn’t make enough money to make shoes for his own children and never even thinks about doing so.

Our version of this was this question: What advice do you give to others that you don’t follow yourself all the time?

The peace building, consultant solopreneur can’t wait until they are “in the mood.”

The fact is, the person building a project, always goes on, whether they feel like it or not.

This is an interesting twist on a common question we’re known to address. We have a post titled What Is A Consultant, and one titled What Is A Consultant – Revisited. Now it’s time to address the issue of just why there’s a need for consultants.

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Most of us who are consultants figure we know why people need us. We offer expertise, a different perspective on their issues, and often a way to fix things. Our costs are high in a way yet we’re not permanent, and we’re not a threat to anyone’s job. Or are we?

The life of a consultant can be a good one. It can also be scary.

It’s scary when things are slow and you’re wondering where your next client will come from. Sometimes you can get clients fairly quickly; other times it feels like you’re never going to get another client at all.

John Boyne and Joseph O'Connor Writers Centre Norwich via Compfight

Almost all of us have been there. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether you’re good at what you do or not. Sometimes it’s timing; sometimes it’s the market. It is what it is.

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I don’t think anyone who’s a consultant thinks of themselves as dumb. As a matter of fact, though one doesn’t have to be Mensa genius to be a consultant, it takes a certain amount of skill, chutzpah and nerve to be one, especially an independent consultant.