We all need to earn money. You may have to take work that is not ideal, but never lose sight of your goal. When things settle down—and they will—you will already have your foot in the door and be able to move your career along.
Those people who allow themselves to get completely sidetracked just to earn a living will have a difficult time getting back on track later. At the very least, keep involved with trade associations and/or do volunteer work that has to do with your career track. Think ahead and don’t become discouraged by your short-term situation.
Consulting work is an important option. Even in good times, 15% of the attendees at The Five O’Clock Club are looking for consulting work as opposed to full-time, on-payroll positions. Remain open to consulting assignments, while you continue to look for full-time employment — if that’s what you want.
Whether you are looking for consulting or full-time work, the techniques are exactly the same:
- develop a target list of organizations to contact—your Personal Marketing Plan.
- Contact them, using the Five O’Clock Club’s four-paragraph cover letter (see our book, “Shortcut Your Search”).
- Tell them you are interested in consulting assignments. (Or you can say, “I’m available for full or part-time assignments.”)
- Follow up with a phone call.
The trick with consulting work if you want to do it for a living as opposed to doing it in-between jobs—is keeping the work coming in while you are spending time delivering your services. Many consultants forget to market until the work dries up.
So to keep the prospects coming, we recommend a quarterly mailing or emailing to approximately 200 to 400 good leads. In this mailing, your cover letter would describe the projects you have been working on, suggesting that people call you if they would like similar help from you. You would also include your brochure, a simple one will do. And you could include a value-added piece, such as a link to or a copy of an article on a topic that would be of interest to your target audience and support the service you are offering. That’s it—do it quarterly.
Of course, Five O’Clock Clubbers have come up with other options. One person worked as the head of marketing for a small company two days a week, and another two days a week did the same thing for another small firm. He charged each of them about half of what he would have charged them full time on payroll including benefits. He ended up with a four-day-a-week lifestyle and more money than he would have earned otherwise. When he lost one of those assignments, he still had one left, and marketed himself to replace the other one.