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  • Writer's pictureRichard

Learnings and value from independent consultancy

Two years of being a happy independent this week means it’s time to reflect,

muse and share some stuff that maybe matters…

Because I love the space I didn’t have ‘before’ to think, build, knock down, and create work I’m proud of. Sharing what I believe is the ‘right answer’ to problems, not the ‘first answer’ that juggling/firefighting for time can sometimes dictate. Thinking time is THE differential…and a pleasure to find rather than a pressure. I love the fact billable time is my choice, and that there is room to be useful, helpful and generous on what feels right to do and for whom, without being a percentage slave. Relationships aren’t based on timesheets, but on value. I really like rabbit holes. I’ve been down some I knew nothing about subject wise, and loved those journeys of digging around with a fresh approach and answering the ‘wtf is that all about….’ questions. I’m now geeky and opinionated on a whole load of new themes. I love being able to trawl back through big mistakes as well as big successes, to offer opinion that shows that ‘grey hair’ is still a massive plus for agency partners and brands. No ‘Logans Run’ mentality here (which tbf is probably a grey haired only movie ref…). I love spending more time actively working and debating with clients, boards, leaders and those with problems to tackle than I probably had done for years, when things other than the end game focus took up my time. Thanks go to my clients, the long termers, the projects, and the lovely repeat business givers. Some I’ve known and worked with on and off for more than 15 years. And who haven’t lost the humour or reality checks than means we get on. To the agencies who see the ‘extended consultant’ value as a proactive strategy, not as a gap filler. And to those who have recommended me and started off some stonking new relationships. Some advice from all this? Don’t say no to things outside a comfort zone if you believe you can do a good job. Comfort zones can be dull when there can be massive pluses in the unknown. Don’t be shy of opinions. That’s where your value lies. Fight for time if you don’t think you have it. Insist on it. Don’t mistake ‘independent’ as ‘solo’. Collaboration is a core part of all I’ve enjoyed. Don’t pigeonhole yourself too tightly, despite bags of advice on LinkedIn to be super specialist. My ‘helping people see the wood for the trees’ pitch has involved branding, messaging, strategy creative, coaching ,mentoring, copywriting, internal comms, crisis work, agency guidance, start-up partnering, training and workshopping. It’s still about a career experience package when so many things in comms bleed together… Much of this kicked off in artificial times. So my mission for the next phase is more reconnecting. More coffees. More Gins. Commitment free meetings that are worth making time for because who knows what they will spark for who. My coffee diary is open : ) #experience #marketing #consultancy

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