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Being an Online Consultant: What Every Beginner Needs to Know

Being an Online Consultant: What Every Beginner Needs to Know

When you move into the working world, life throws many paths at you―some very unprecedented paths which make you doubt yourself. You walk through the doors of rejection with pride and determination while there are moments you’re withering from the inside. But, there are also the significant moments where you find your inspiration to start a career from a different angle.

Recently, the market is booming with online consultancies to help make the world a flatter and reachable platform. It’s negating the concept of distance and making it possible for the world to be run with just a click of a button from any corners of the world.

However, when starting out, we all need that holy book of guidance ‒ not only it boosts our confidence, but also it gives us a great start. What do you need? To answer that question, we have put together a few tips on what you need to have a great start in being an online consultant.

1. Make Sure That You’re Not Charging Too Little

When starting a business, you often times assume that the less you charge, the more you attract. You assume that people are fearful of high prices and you wouldn’t attract more clients if you’re charging a high price. It could be guilt; it could be inexperience or it just could be the fact that you don’t know what to charge.

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Charge more than you think. ― always remember this as your quote. In an online consultancy business always remember to not sell yourself short. Your clients will want their return on investment in everything they invest in – they’re not only investing their money, but they’re also investing their time so take that into consideration. If you can prove ROI, then you’ve got the permission to charge a steady percentage of your client’s profit.

Remember, there’s no potion that will hand you the key to set your price point. You will have to determine it yourself and consider all your pro’s and con’s. A perfect example is, when you’re looking for a pair of shoes, you would find Charles & Keith much more valuable compared to the same pair you’d find in a flea market or a random super-mart. Even if it’s the same pair, you would find the over-priced pair much more exquisite than the cheaper one.

Never sell yourself short.

2. Always Know Your Tools

Starting up in a new field can be taxing, you would need to comprehend everything you’ve practiced in your life in an online world; converting your client base from an offline to an online path, understanding your finances, and finding the perfect platform to communicate with your clients. Skype maybe be the known reliable tool, but does it fit your purpose? How will you manage to track down your finances and how will you ensure that you aren’t wasting your time with clients who won’t bother paying?

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Always research the market and seek the best tools you would like to use for your business. For example, MINT in itself is a perfect tool to keep track of your finances, tally your taxes, and make sure your payments are done in time. This will ease the burden of your strenuous day and leave the bookkeeping to be done by your app.

The internet is a place filled with wonders, you can find freelancers, free sites to build your website, and various communication platforms that would guarantee your client satisfaction and build your business that eventually will sustain itself without any major marketing plans.

3. Always Remember: You’re Not Your Own Boss

The sentence which is constantly uttered when anyone embarks in the world of online consulting is “I finally get to be my own boss”. This myth has created a lot of disappointment and has made many entrepreneurs who started out in this business to quit before they’ve even embarked on this journey.

So, the most important concept to understand is that YOU’RE NOT YOUR OWN BOSS.

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In the world of business, you’re never your own boss, as your clients are paying for your services and your clients are ensuring the lifeline of your business. It means that they are your bosses; they determine your billable hours and look for the necessary results before endorsing any form of payments. Therefore you have to constantly ensure to please not just one boss, but multiple bosses. This attitude will keep you humble and allow your venture to progress at a steady pace.

But what are you entitled to?

You have your own identity, you are responsible for deciding upon your schedule and what you offer. Despite them paying for your services, you have the privileges to say “NO”. This gives you the freedom to choose and the discipline you need to work hard and maximize your potential.

Isn’t it the best of both worlds?

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4. Know The One Reason Why You’re Hired

You are hired for one reason and one reason only; “knowledge”.

As a consultant, your niche is knowledge, your clients hire you to help them with something they don’t know. They hire your services pertaining the fact that you know more than they do, so you got to hold your end of the bargain. You have to always make sure that honesty is your key principle.

When they say “Honesty is the Best Policy “, they don’t mean it lightly.

You have to be able to call things as you see them and offer advice from a professional standpoint, which can either be derived from your own personal interest or from your education background. Either way, the knowledge you pass on should be on a professional basis and at the end of the day, if they disagree or don’t enjoy your opinion, it isn’t your problem ‒ it’s just their opinion.

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Your deliverable knowledge is your business model, hence, make sure it isn’t a half-baked mumbo jumbo. If you lose the reliability of your information, you lose your business.

Now you have the major keys to launch a successful online consulting business. All you need now is to roll up your sleeves and be willing to get down and dirty in this industry. Work hard and be the best consultant you can be; your business will take on a life on its own.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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