There’s nothing quite like the rush of excitement that comes from finally launching your own consulting business, especially if you’re lucky enough to have a client project ready to go at the time of launch. However, the thrill can soon start to pale when you’re wearing a dozen different hats and trying to delight your new clients.
That’s when reality bites, and you learn how tough it can be to start a business when the only resource is you… But being an independent consultant doesn’t have to mean you’re a lonely consultant.
You just have to understand the resource challenges you’re likely to face, and have a plan in place to overcome them. That’s just what this article is intended to help you with, so the fear of being under-resourced doesn’t keep you from realising your dream of professional independence.
Typical Resourcing Challenges for a Consulting startup
Hopefully, your decision to start an independent consulting business is because you have certain abilities that lend themselves to such a career, and you really like the idea of using them to help other people improve their businesses.
Unfortunately, your business will not run smoothly with the application of your consulting skills alone. You will also have a raft other tasks to take care of, many of which may be things you don’t enjoy doing or are simply not very good at (none of us is good at everything, after all).
It may be while working on these very tasks that you identify, for the first time, the need for some additional human resource in your business.
Too Many Tasks, Not Enough Hands
But wait… the whole idea was to go it alone wasn’t it? So how do you give your clients the quality time that they are paying for and still deal with all the other aspects of running a small consulting business? Tasks like…
- Managing your diary and calendar;
- Keeping your files and documents organised;
- Building and maintaining your business website;
- Marketing your business;
- Accounting and bookkeeping.
Of course it is possible to do all this yourself, but that might leave you with little time for a family or social life, and when your business is new, you could be in this position for quite some time. What you really need is somebody to help you with the day-to-day business management while you focus on your clients.
Everybody’s Time Costs Money
Where is that help going to come from though? The cost of a full-time or even part-time employee is likely to be prohibitive, and this early in the life of your business, you may even experience slow periods when there’s simply not the need to have somebody else onboard.
Indeed, even if you have the necessary financial means to bring an employee into your new business and cover the costs of salary, benefits, taxes, and other employment expenses, one person may actually not be enough… Remember that list of tasks above?
You will be very lucky indeed to find an employee skilled in all the tasks on that list, so either you need to think about employing a number of people (totally impractical), or you need to outsource some of those tasks. However, accounting, web development, and marketing services don’t come cheap either.
It’s possible then, to end up in something of a vicious circle. You can’t find time to take on enough billable work to pay for some hired help. Without help, you can’t free any time, either to find new clients or to shoulder an increase in billable hours.
Some Possible Solutions for Resourcing Challenges
Before the picture begins to appear too bleak, you’ll be pleased to know that there are ways and means to overcome your startup resource challenges.
The first place to look for help might be among members of your family. This is something I covered in an earlier article about involving family in your business.
Another alternative, which can provide you with flexible human resources at a relatively low cost, is to hire offshore virtual assistants, either to take on your business administration, or to work on special projects—like building your website, for example.
There are a couple of ways to go about hiring a virtual assistant. One is to look around on freelancing websites like Upwork.
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of virtual assistants looking for clients, many of them based in countries like the Philippines, where English is widely spoken and rates are affordable.
The other way is to contact a virtual assistant company. This can be a little faster and simpler than searching for a freelancer. A VA company will find you an assistant with skills and qualities that match your requirements, and can help you to get your working arrangements under way as quickly as possible.
How to Get Virtual Help… Done Well
The sooner you can find yourself a virtual assistant, the sooner you can place more focus on marketing your new business, gaining some new clients, and increasing the number of billable hours you work (or just spending a bit more time with your family).
That doesn’t mean you should rush the process of finding the right virtual assistant, but there’s a difference between rushing, and finding what you need quickly and without fuss.
Virtual Done Well is a virtual assistant company in the Philippines, with a great reputation for reliability and service. They will be able to find you a general VA (or specialists for your projects) within four weeks of your first contact with them.
So if you decide to hire a virtual assistant to help you solve the startup-resource dilemma, get in touch with the VDW team first. They can provide you with the help you need, at a price you can afford—and best of all, the first step is only a mouse click away.