Freelancer needing to expand consultancy business

Dear Deafauntie,
I have just set up my own consulting business offering a range of corporate-level services – which has been very successful where I come from, but I have just returned to London and was wondering where do I make a start? The organisations I am familiar with are not in a position to hire freelance consultants so is there a market for my services in the general disability and voluntary sectors?
Any advice or pointers welcome.

David, Croydon

Dear David,

Work at this level is nearly always done by word of mouth. (I am assuming we are not talking basic level training courses but management troubleshooting and other services).
Chief Executives and senior staff of charities and organisations often don’t retire but move into consultancy (some do really well and others fall flat on their face so be warned). Have a look around and see what they are doing. Approach one or two you know and ask them for their advice (everyone loves to be asked) on how they became successful. I can guarantee they will say “Oh I was doing this work already” or “I had something lined up just as I was leaving”.
Everyone uses their contacts – write a list of yours in the  general disability and voluntary sectors – and make sure what you are offering will work for them too.  People who don’t succeed are usually those who are difficult to get on with or who have changed their line of work entirely. If you are starting with a blank address book then it is going to be much more difficult.
Give yourself six months and then double that. Good luck!

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