Are you thinking of becoming a Comms Consultant?
How do you know if the time is right?
What would your core offering be?
Perhaps it would be change communication and you’d help leaders communicate brilliantly with their teams.
Or maybe communicating with hard to reach employee groups inspires and motivates you, and you’ve developed techniques of doing so successfully.
Being a Comms Consultant is a personal journey and deserves careful thought.
In my Exploration Online Masterclass, I share the process I developed, which is my COMMS model. It is a logical sequence of events and considerations to help aspiring consultants make good choices for their career.
As a result of taking the course you may decide consultancy isn’t right for you, and that’s ok!
Congratulations to everyone who has completed How to be a Comms Consultant – Exploration course, which is one of our most popular on demand Masterclasses.
It’s the course I wish existed in 2012 when I was researching being a Comms Consultant. It would have saved me about six months’ worth of time!
In it, I encourage creating a business that has your personal values at the core, particularly if you are a team of one.
As with all our All Things IC Online Masterclasses, this course can be studied at your own pace and is available on demand. There are no live lessons, this is your course, done your way.
Your investment for this course is usually £799. However, our October offer is running until the end of this month, to save you 25% off All Things IC Online Masterclasses. Use the code OCTOBEROFFER to benefit from this saving until 31 October 2023. This means you can access the course today for £599.25.
When is the right time to consider consultancy?
This year marks a decade of being a business owner, as I launched All Things IC in 2013. We’ve been celebrating that milestone through our new in-person Masterclass and Mastermind, All Things IC Live, and our new 90-minute Masterclasses, which suit global Comms friends’ schedules.
I started to pack up the All Things IC Hub yesterday, ahead of moving out in a few weeks’ time. If you follow me on Instagram @rachelallthingsic you’ll have seen part of the process and the changes I’ve been making. I’m excited for what’s ahead for Team Teal and I, we held our quarterly Town Hall this week and discussed our plans.
Officially opening the Hub’s doors in January 2020 was another chapter in the story of All Things IC and one I’m incredibly proud of. The conversations in that space have impacted hundreds of internal communicators and thousands of their colleagues.
One day I’ll share the reality of being a business owner during a pandemic with London rental costs to pay! But now’s not that time.
During a Power Hour call while working in the Hub this week, I was asked how to know the ‘right time’ to consider consultancy.
The short answer is there isn’t a right time. Being a Comms Consultant is not right for everyone and there is no expectation for people working in-house to suddenly launch as independent practitioners. At least that’s not an expectation from me!
Your career is personal. Your journey is personal, what’s right for me may not be right for you.
I only knew one Comms Consultant in 2012 when I was thinking of going solo, Kim Borrowdale, and she kindly came and visited my baby daughter and I at home during my maternity leave, to share her wisdom.
As I wasn’t aware of any other independent Comms Consultants, I developed my offering from the inside out, iterating and evolving along the way.
Your personal brand
Back in 2017, I started researching personal brand as I was refining and refocusing All Things IC. I worked out loud and published various articles throughout that time to share what I had learnt.
Further reading via All Things IC:
- How to build a strong personal brand inside your company
- A beginner’s guide to personal branding
- How to be an Internal Comms Consultant
- Four ways to build your personal brand
- How to be a Comms Consultant.
I describe your personal brand as your reputation and promise. It is who you are and what you’re known for.
If you are developing a business, it is what you will be hired for.
As in-house internal communicators, it’s the perception stakeholders have about you. This is helpful to know if you’re trying to influence inside your organisation.
I’ve spoken about personal brand a lot since discovering it for myself as I found it so helpful to explore. This includes being the opening keynote speaker at CommsHero a couple of years and on stage in Phoenix in 2019 at the Public Relations Society of America’s #PRSAConnect conference.
It’s also a constant conversation with clients when I’m helping an IC team reset inside an organisation and create clarity around their positioning, offering and ways of working.
The power of you
I hired a business coach six years ago, and also discovered the Youpreneur community with Chris Ducker. Chris’ ethos focuses on the business of you.
He talks about how people do business with people, and how you need to show up authentically. This means developing your own style and way of running a business and communicating what you do.
Personal brand was not a topic I’d encountered in the world of IC. However, fellow entrepreneur peers were generous with their knowledge from their niches.
As a business owner, I found it fascinating to learn about as part of my professional development.
It may seem tempting to copy somebody else’s website wording or create a variation of their brand’s products, messaging or palette. Don’t.
When I was sat around a Mastermind table at the Youpreneur conference in 2017, I heard numerous stories from peers in all types of consulting industries who were experiencing this. From photographers to coaches, therapists to publishers, it was rife.
However, in that scenario, your potential clients get in touch with whoever you have copied, to make them aware, and it can prompt them to offer work.
Unfortunately this rang true for me too. My DMs are full of clients and Comms friends sharing social media posts and websites they have seen from others, whose wording closely mirrors mine.
Over the years I’ve had to bring in a legal team and trademark my work, to stop others copying me, and I will continue to do this.
Being clear about you and your business is an ongoing process. The All Things IC website existed solely as a blog for four years before I launched the business in 2013 and featured products and services.
My team and I are constantly reviewing and evolving content to ensure it reflects what we offer and what we stand for.
Even the way I choose to describe All Things IC’s products and services is intentional. I use the word investment because of the emotional connection it created for me when photographer Becky Rui used that word on her website in 2017 and I chose to work with her for the first time. Before I used it on my website, I sought her permission.
There is enough room for everybody and all the nuances that make you – and your offering – stand out.
If you are aiming to be hired as an independent consultant, you need to demonstrate your reputation and promise. What is uniquely yours?
I have invested a lot of time, money and effort over the past decade in hiring experts to help me. From brand consultants to copywriters, business coaches to designers, web designers and photographers, there are some incredible people willing to offer their services to help you discover yours. I talk about this in the Exploration Online Masterclass.
The values I hold as a business owner and consultant remain as true today as on the first day of trading in 2013.
I have never charged for blog content for example, instead choosing to offer the 1800 blog posts (and counting) for free, plus five seasons of my Candid Comms podcast, to support aspiring and existing internal communicators and create equal access for all.
Feedback from in-house internal communicators shows you value being able to access this information and I love supporting you, so you can thrive.
As my team and I prepare for the 11th year of All Things IC, we have lots of plans.
If you’re also reviewing your year and planning ahead, our Online Masterclass of the same name will help you. Please note it’s excluded from the October offer as it’s available today for only £199, the usual price is £499.
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Thank you for stopping by,
Post author: Rachel Miller.
First published on the All Things IC blog 18 October 2023.