James Chan was from Hong Kong and has been an American Citizen since the early 1980’s. His consulting firm advises American companies on selling products and services to China and Asia. He gives a talk about the basics of independent consulting, and how he got started more than 29 years ago. It is an inspirational talk that you would do well to listen. James came up with an acronym – S.P.A.R.E. as a guide to the basic of independent consulting.
- S = Self Knowledge. Know what you can offer that people are willing to pay. If people are not willing to pay for what you have to offer, you cannot be a consultant.
- P = Passion. Clients are not only mesmerize by what we can do and how well we do it, but by our passion as humans are emotional.
- A = Take actions. Consultants are not lazy. We would work 24×7 if we could. This include looking up database and companies to prospect for clients.
- R = Realization. What we think is logical may not be what the client wants. Taking actions will help us discover and realize what is it the client is willing to pay.
- E = Evolution. To continue to be a consultant, one must evolve and adapt to the changing world.
Couple other things I thought were insightful including using 700 hours/year vs. 2000 hours/year as the basis to calculate your consulting rate. Consultants should be a better listener than a talker. There are many more insights and nuggets in his talk.