Seven Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Freelance Consulting Gig

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We had the pleasure of sitting down with Nick Maugeri to learn more about his background and key takeaways when becoming a freelance consultant. Here’s what we learned. 

Nick Maugeri

Over the past 10 years, Nick has built, scaled, and led customer success teams at multiple hyper-growth startups - most recently leading the success and support teams at Rhino as it grew 15X in less than 18 months. He made the jump to freelance consulting to take better control of his time, expand the number of companies he was helping, and earn the true value he was bringing to an organization. Nick now works with early-stage startups to build lean customer success organizations, design customer journeys, and expand offerings within their clients.

We asked Nick to share some of the knowledge he acquired while launching his business. 

1. Have 100% alignment on expectations and deliverables to be produced

Before an engagement kicks off, spend the extra time defining what the “final form” looks like with your client. There’s no such thing as an actual “final form” as processes are constantly evolving so having alignment around what will be delivered and the next steps involved are critical.

2. Establish clear timelines around what you can control and proactively discuss items you can’t

If you’re building new dashboards for a client you can create timelines for when you’ll have wireframes and leading indicators ready. If you’re relying on their internal engineering team for the final build within their systems, you’re now working on someone else’s timeline. Discuss these challenges and roadblocks up front to ensure you stay on track.

3. Ensure the client understands how much time they are getting and how that impacts how much can be done 

When you scope out the project, you need to clarify that “I’ll be working for you 5 business days a month, not 20, so that’s why it will take X weeks/months.”

4. Align on resources - internal or external - to get the job done

Be upfront about what you’ll need to help your client and the gaps in your skillset. This will allow them to budget time and resources to ensure a successful engagement while keeping you on track to deliver value.

5. Gain clarity on their internal resources and tooling

If your client asks you to "develop KPIs" but they don’t capture data or information, then you have a very different challenge than helping one that has robust data and a CRM. When meeting with a potential client, ask about their internal resources and understand how data is being captured and tracked. 

6. Show value early and often

It is not enough for you to just complete your work. Over communicate what you’ve completed so far and the progress you’re making. I find sending weekly recaps and celebrations when we cross a significant milestone very useful in this regard. 

7. Assume they will not renew your contract unless you are proactive

Gather client feedback throughout the engagement to ensure you’re adding value and begin discussing a renewal proposal at least 3 weeks prior to the end of your engagement.

There are hundreds of Mylance members, like Nick, who have learned ways to be successful as a freelance consultant.

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Every Mylance team member has done consulting. We're experts, and we've seen what consulting enables: more time with our families, traveling the world, more time on passion projects, or to start that business we've been dreaming about.

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