Benefits of Becoming a Social Media Consultant
There are many advantages to becoming self-employed. Generally, you’re able to decide on your schedule, workload and wages. You can also work from anywhere in the world with clients who are globally based. This appeals to those who like or need flexibility in their schedules.
The challenges of owning your own business means you’re constantly evolving and learning. This is ongoing professional development that you might not find elsewhere. You’re able to essentially design your own career trajectory.
Often touted as a benefit, becoming your own boss can be a myth. It’s true that you might not be working up a corporate ladder. However, you still have to answer to clients and deadlines
Disadvantages of Being Your Own Boss
Many people start out romanticizing the life of the entrepreneur. You get to wear pajamas all day, start and stop work whenever you want and travel the world. They get caught up in the ideal and forget that you also become a business owner. This means that unless you have the money to outsource, you have to do all the accounting, billing, tax payments, marketing, sales pitches, content development and networking that keeps a business running.
An undervalued skill set is self-motivation. When you’re your own boss, the only person who is motivating you to complete work is yourself.
If the disadvantages don’t deter you, then maybe becoming a social media manager is the job for you.
Do Your Research
Like at the beginning of any new business, putting work in to research your industry, worth and potential client base can help you in the long run. Creating a business plan helps you work through how you’ll make your money. Saying that you’ll offer consulting services is not enough.
Research your potential competitors through sites like LinkedIn, Indeed and standard Google searches. This is much like keyword researching. Who comes up when you look up “social media consultant Houston” or “social media consultant hotels?”
Dip Your Toes With a Few Clients
For some people, it’s a slow transition from working at their day job while building their side hustle to being a full-time consultant.
If you’re unsure if this is the job for you, then taking on one or two clients at the beginning is your safest bet. You’ll have a safety net of your current job while figuring out your ideal one.
You can also network among your local freelancer group, attending social media conferences and participate in industry Twitter chats.
A good part of your time as a consultant involves self-promotion and establishing expertise. No one will hire someone if they can’t demonstrate that they know what they’re talking about.
Set up Your Workstation
Beyond your computer, there are still processes and workflows that you need to establish to run a smooth operation. This includes finding the right people or software to handle invoices, client appointments, and even your quarterly tax payments.
The best way to set up a client intake process is to picture yourself as the client. Go through every step and write them down.
- Prospecting: How do clients find you? How do they book a consultation with you?
- Proposal: Will you send out a proposal? What are the steps for review and approval?
- Contract: Are you offering a contract? Is it easy to understand and how do they sign?
- Onboarding: How do you officially start working with the client? Do you need to give them access to your invoicing software? Do you need to collect password information?
- Invoicing: How do you deliver invoices and how do you want to be paid? Is your client clear on the payment terms and late fees?
Beyond a client intake process, you still have to look for other helpful software programs, like a social media management platform, analytics program and invoicing app.
If you plan on offering analytics as part of your services, then you’ll need to decide if you’re going to put together your own report or generate one from a service.
Niche or General?
Do you aim to handle social media marketing for any company who asks or do you specialize in certain industries and limit your client base?
There are pros and cons to both and it’s up to you to decide which is best.
During the research process, you can take a look at both what you want to offer and the matching client base.
If you want to specialize in pizza restaurants, are there enough that need your services? How will you stand out from everyone else who is offering the same service?
Practice What You Preach
While you’re searching for new clients or working with your current ones, make sure to keep practicing your advice. Your potential client will research your pages and you don’t want them to see that you haven’t Tweeted in two months.
Consider yourself as your own client. Connect with other industry professionals, keep learning about social media news and write blog posts to establish your expertise. As you probably well know, the more you engage with the community, the more they recognize you as an expert.
Don’t Fall Into the Common Mistakes
You aren’t going to be free from failure as a consultant but you can certainly try and avoid the more common mistakes. Some of these mistakes include:
- Undervaluing yourself: If you find that clients are readily saying yes to your rates and that your clients aren’t as good as you like, these are signs that you could be undervaluing your services.
- Not getting work in writing: We want to all believe that people will pay on time and stick to what you agreed to. Unfortunately, as a small business owner, you need to protect yourself and contracts are the best way of doing so.
- Broad scope: Be as specific as possible on what you will be doing for your client and how it will be delivered. Setting boundaries is key in any healthy relationship.
- Poor communication: You don’t have to answer emails within five minutes to be a great communicator. Professionalism is underrated. The better your communication and the smoother your workflows, the easier the rapport will be.