Your goal should be to hone your consulting skills and become a better consultant. That's the "product" you're selling to clients, and if you're not good at it, you'll soon be out of business. Outdated consulting skills will be beat by fresh ones offered by your competitors. There are simple ways to improve, but it requires you to invest some time and money.
1. Hire a Consultant
There are consultants who work with other consultants. They act more like a business coach, but they exist to give you advice on how to become a better consultant. You of all people should appreciate the value of a good consultant. Find one in your industry who is successful, and hire them for a few hours to help you hone your consulting skills. It's better to find someone who still has their own client base, so they can share real and recent experiences that will help you in your practice. You can learn a lot from a retired consultant on how to grow and market your skills, but if you're in an industry that's constantly changing, you won't have the advice you need to better serve your clients.
2 . Take an Online Course
Find a correspondence course to get additional training in your industry, or on how to improve your consulting skills. You can take classes online, and send in assignments for grading. Some courses designed for consultants include topics, such as:
- Improve communication skills (persuasive, motivating, questioning and influential skills)
- Project management
- Story telling (to help clients see their problems in another way, and the vital issues that impact them)
- Conflict resolution
Online courses offer you the flexibility to complete assignments as you have time, but don't register for one and take a long time to complete it. Your goal is to hone your consulting skills, so complete courses as soon as possible.
3. Read Books on Consulting
Raising a family, managing your home and running a consulting business leaves little time for reading. However, think of it as a business investment. A few books will help you hone your consulting skills, such as:
- Everyday Practices of Extraordinary Consultants by Christine Lambden and Casey Conner (Paperback - Oct. 31, 2008)
- The Consultant's Toolkit: High-Impact Questionnaires, Activities and How-to Guides for Diagnosing and Solving Client Problems by Melvin L. Silberman (Paperback - Sept. 19, 2000)
- The Flawless Consulting Fieldbook and Companion : A Guide Understanding Your Expertise by Peter Block and Andrea Markowitz (Paperback - Oct. 22, 2000)
Find the time to read one of these books on consulting, or others that you prefer.
4. Build New Relationships
Top consultants know how to build excellent relationships with people. As a busy work-at-home mom, you may not have time to build new relationships. There's not enough hours in a day. If you want to become a better consultant though, you're going to need to make time. Start by building online relationships with members of forums, bloggers and in social networks, and then work your way towards building one new relationship with a business owner in your local community. You'll sharpen your relationship skills, and you may even find a new client.
There is a correlation between honing your consulting skills and making more money. If that's a desirable result, then make it a priority.