I’m a new consultant out on my first contract. What are your top three tips for new consultants?
Congratulations on making the big leap into consulting. I hope you are enjoying it so far, though without doubt, there are challenges that accompany the freedom. Welcome to life, right?
Per your request, here are my top three tips for new consultants.
- Maximize travel benefits – A hidden and probably the best benefit outside of the regular stuff like high pay, are the massive amount of loyalty points and airline miles that you’ll accumulate traveling to your client on a weekly basis. All these travel perks result in free vacations for you and your family. One of the consultants at my firm takes a yearly Disney cruise using solely his Marriott points and another took his family to the Four Seasons in Hawaii for free. In order to maximize these benefits I highly suggest you procure and use the promotional credit card of either your airline or hotel of choice. Most of these airline credit cards will give you double points or double miles when you’re booking flights with them directly. I would also recommend looking into partner programs to maximize your points accumulation. For example, most airlines have partner programs with rental car dealerships so that you can continue to gather airline points via other channels and get to that tropical vacation faster.
- Outsource household chores – I would bet my life savings that you are really tired come Fridays after flying to the client site, cramming a 40 hour work week into four days, and possibly taking a red eye flight home. Therefore, do you really want to clean the house and mow the lawn during those two and a half precious days at home? I highly suggest outsourcing and automating as much around the house as possible. For example, hire a cleaning service, lawn care service, use a dry cleaner that picks up and delivers, and, my favorite, have your groceries delivered. Make sure that your personal time is used for what you want to do, not chores you have to do.
- Start looking for your next contract early – The healthcare IT consulting market is shifting and is softer than in 2011, therefore I would suggest beginning to look for your next contract 60 days before your current contract is set to end. I’ve spoken with many consultants that have noticed a lessened amount of contract opportunities as well as reduced hourly rates in the softer market. I do believe there are still plenty of consulting prospects out there; however I would counsel you to be prepared and start looking for them early. Maintain relationships with industry recruiters and be sure to send them updated resumes and availability dates!
All my best to you, Janice!