I guess I’m still in the honeymoon phase after spending a decade this year as a grant proposal writing consultant. When I embarked on this journey ten years ago, I was nervous about what becoming self-employed would mean. Would I gain any clients? Would I be able to keep them? And would I even make a decent income?
You may have the same fears I did if you’re toying with the idea of starting your own business as a consultant. The good thing is that you had it a little easier than I did in the beginning. Many grant writers have now made their way into consulting and have tips that will make your success easier and faster.
In celebration of my tenth anniversary, I’m excited to share my best tips with you and hope they will inspire you to take the leap yourself. I know what lies ahead – freedom from a “job,” more time with friends and family, and the joy of working with nonprofit clients who want to see you grow personally in the community. Here’s my “launch plan” just for you:
Tip #1: Learn and absorb information that is helpful to you and your current stage of business.
Can we agree that we can be completely overwhelmed by information overload? It seems that everywhere we turn we are bombarded with tips, tricks, how-to’s and strategies to make our lives easier. The real trick to sifting through the information we need is to pay attention to what we need at just the right time – and ignore the rest.
By this I mean that if you’re interested in a career as a grant writer, but don’t have any grant writing experience yet, you should first learn everything you can about writing successful grants and soak up what you can. Don’t worry about getting clients yet. Don’t worry about the name of your business. Put first things first. In the words of a police officer, take an orderly approach. Focus only on what you need at the moment.
Tip #2: Take what you learn and do something with it!
This is where I see some potentially wonderful grant consultants fail. The books have been read. The training courses have been taken. Extensive notes have been taken. And then the books and notes sit lonely on the shelf gathering dust. Education must be followed by action for a dream to come true, don’t you think? Please don’t be a statistic – take what you learn and do something with it. The nonprofit world desperately needs you and your expertise!
Tip #3 – Find someone who is willing to walk you through exactly what the next steps are in starting your business.
Hey, you’ve got this covered! As I mentioned earlier, there are so many wonderful grant consultants on the internet that you can learn from, and I would love to guide you to success as well. I admit that I too have coaches that I trust and admire, and I like to invest in them so they can show me an easier and faster way to get things done the way I want. Pick a grant consulting coach you believe in and resonate with to set you up for great consulting.