1099 Consulting Tip: Resolve ambiguity by presenting options, analysis, and recommendations
If you are going to work for yourself, you will become more valuable if you think and act like a consultant, rather than an employee who needs to be actively managed and told what to do.
One thing you can start implementing today, even if you are a W2 employee, is to get in the habit of presenting options, analysis, and recommendations.
There will be many times when a client wants to do something but may not have a clear idea on how to do it. They may even say they want something but then later change their mind entirely!
That’s one of the annoying parts about being a consultant.
However, when the client asks for something and they aren’t sure how to proceed, or they want to proceed in a certain way but you think it’s a bad idea, you need to give them options.
Clients love options because people in general like to be able to choose things. They especially like to choose things when all the hard thinking is done for them and they simply have to make a choice.
Here’s how you do it. The next time the client asks you to figure something out, don’t just begin. Instead, brainstorm three ways you could accomplish the task. Let’s call them options A, B, and C.
Then, figure out for each option
- The amount of effort and time it will take
- The positive results you will get
- The results you won’t get
Then, figure out which you would recommend and how you think they should be implemented.
After you go through this exercise you’re just going to write this up in an e-mail and send it to the client.
It will sound something like this:
I’m working on your request to blah blah blah and have come up with three options: A, B, and C.
A will take 2 weeks and will get certain results but not these results.
B will takes 4 weeks and will get certain results but not the results from A.
C will take 6 weeks and will get all results of A and B but could potentially be delayed due to reasons 1, 2, and 3.
I recommend option B because blah blah blah.
Let me know which option you’d like to choose or if you’d like to discuss them further.
Your 1099 consultant”
Okay you can leave out the “love” bit but write something similar to that e-mail. It shows you are taking the client’s work seriously, that you have thought it through, analyzed the courses of actions, and made a recommendation. Now, all the client has to do is choose.
This will seriously impress the clients. In fact, you should probably start doing this an employee if you haven’t become a 1099 yet.
If you have questions feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also add you to my informal mailing list in case I have updates or news or whatever.
This article is an excerpt from Chapter 14 (How to be a consultant and not an employee) of my book.
You can read more about it here: