Independent consulting can be a lonely game ... but it does not have to be.
After a couple of decades working for, and for the most part enjoying my time at large, international consulting and services organisations, I was quite happy to leave behind a lot of the less enjoyable corporate slurry as I set off into the exciting, brave new world of independent consulting. No more timesheets or Byzantine expense policies, good riddance to non-sensical 'stretch' targets, a merciful release from the performance management process, good-bye to the impossible sales pitch-delivery gap, and a big hurrah for just being able to do great work for great clients.
What I did not appreciate until it had gone, was the huge wealth of support I was also leaving behind: access to excellent information sources, fresh insight from other innovative and interesting minds, someone else worrying about the right VAT on the right invoices, and trusted colleagues I could rely on to help when needed.
Some years back now I lighted upon a LinkedIn Group - The Yorkshire Mafia Independent Consultants and Freelancers, a subgroup of the Yorkshire Mafia presence on LinkedIn. A few members of this group had started to meet face-to-face, without any initial intention other than to see how it might develop. I decided to join them.
Since then I have been getting my monthly fix of excellent company, friendly support, and learning a hell of a lot from people with an amazing mix of diverse skills and experience - and they do not mind that I am not originally from Yorkshire! (Truth is some of the others are not too).
We meet one morning each month, usually the third Wednesday. We spend the first 90 minutes or so under the Yorkshire Mafia Independent Consultants and Freelancers banner, with an informal, friendly gathering where we catch-up and share experiences, news, good apps we have found, and where we usually host a great skills/learning session too. It is a great source of pastoral support for an independent consultant!
Most people then stay for a second 90 minutes under the Consult Yorkshire banner, where we seek opportunities to work together by creating something more than the sum of our parts - be that collaborating with client opportunities and work, or putting on events.
Just a few of the excellent things I have learned from attending each month include:
- The world of social media and digital PR.
- The psychology of pricing products and services.
- Getting to grips with the right VAT scheme for my business.
- The implications of GDPR.
- Tools and techniques for personal effectiveness.
- And my own recent offering: Why we all need a password manager (you can get the gist of what I shared here).
In addition to this learning, I have grown to like and trust those who attend, and whom I can now say are my friends.
So, if you are an independent consultant, and would welcome some beneficial, informal, and above all friendly, networking (all without the need to bring referrals, or to subscribe to rituals) why not come along and give us a try? You can find out more about our meetings here , and you can also join the Yorkshire Mafia Independent Consultants and Freelancers LinkedIn group to be notified of our meetings.
Let me know below if you will be coming along, or if you have any questions.
-- Colin Whalen, Director at LintonWharfe, and member of Consult Yorkshire
You may also want to read 3 reasons you shouldn't visit our monthly networking meetings by Helen Kitchen