Building a Thriving Professional Community with Will Bachman
As an independent consultant, it’s important to have a strong network and professional community you can lean on and work with when needed. There are so many benefits to building a community in your network beyond the possibility of landing more projects.
My guest today is Will Bachman, co-founder of Umbrex. Umbrex is an online community of independent management consultants. As a former consultant at McKinsey, Will shares his experience working with a team versus working independently and creating his own, and how you can improve as an independent consultant with a strong community.
In this episode, we’ll be talking about:
Why a professional community is necessary
How to maintain communication in your network
What to expect as an independent consultant
What’s the need for a community? For starters, it doesn’t hurt to have a few people to lean on when you need help, or to collaborate on projects with. You have the opportunity to learn about the tools and techniques your community members are using, and how you can benefit from them.
There’s no set number of how many people you should include in your community. In fact, according to Will, starting small is best. Having five or 10 people that share some kind of interest is enough to get started, especially if they’re in the same city. Share what’s going on in your field, learn from your peers, and grow the community with time.
You can maintain communication with your group in a variety of ways, but the method that’s probably most used is email. The best part? You don’t have to put that much effort into it. An hour a month for a monthly email may be just perfect, as long as you’re reaching out to your network, sharing information, scheduling events, and keeping the community in tact.
If you’re considering the independent route, there are three aspects of independent consulting to be mindful of (hint: you’ll be running the ship solo). There’s delivering the work itself, and that entails actually doing the project. Then there’s generating the work, getting project leads, and converting leads into confirmed assignments. Finally, you’ll be building the infrastructure for your firm throughout each process. Are you ready for it?