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Career Story: Independent Business Consultant

Independent Business Consultant

Job Title: Consultant

Type of Company: I consult on leadership development and general management.

Education: BA, Marketing, Hobart College •• MBA, New York University

Previous Experience: After business school, I worked in marketing at Bristol Myers, then worked for Cendant in online travel, followed by Eos Airlines, all before starting my own consulting practice.

Job Tasks: I help senior executives work better together to help the company perform at a higher level. When we are working with senior teams, we concentrate on raising their awareness of their own personality tendencies and how those traits work with others on the team. Following this, we teach general principles of leadership and team effectiveness. To conclude, we have the team give feedback to others on how they can improve their own effectiveness on the team.

I also help companies that are underdeveloped find ways to grow by constructing good websites, good marketing programs, and deciding where best to spend money. In return for my consulting, I receive an ownership share of the companies I help. This works well for the bulk of them, since they're often cash-strapped but have lots of equity to give away. The downside, of course, is that I am forced to forego near-term payment for my services.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: At times, the consulting practice can become monotonous; so much of the process is the same from company to company. It can also be frustrating to provide advice and not have the recipient follow it. Another very big dra back is that I work alone most of the time, talking mostly on the phone. This is not only boring, but can sometimes hurt your own motivation.

You really should be careful about going into consulting before working in a conventional company. It is very difficult for somebody to want to buy your services if you have no experience.

Job Tips: The key thing is to build experience in the area that interests you. This may sound obvious, but if you move around industries or functional fields too much, you fail to develop a background that looks appealing to prospective buyers. Concentrate on having an identifiable thread that others would want to buy.

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