Maintain the momentum. Keep contacts updated on your projects and progress. Let them know when you're doing interesting new things and send them ideas and resources that might benefit them too. For example, when Carol comes across a nugget of information that might be relevant to one of her clients or prospective leads, she'll send it along. All of her communication when them isn't about asking for more business; it's about building a long term relationship so they'll use her and they'll refer her.
Speaking of virtual work, one of Carol Gould's new clients does nothing but virtual work from their home base in Newark, NJ. I chatted via email with the founders of Consultants2Go, Sandi Webster and Peggy McHale, about their successful business model.
What is Consultants 2 Go? Consultants 2 Go (C2G) is a professional services firm that specializes in providing marketing consultants to the financial services and telecom industry, as well as to mid-size companies. We provide resources on an interim basis or for outsourced projects (full end-to-end deliverables). Our consultants are all seasoned professionals, typically with ten or more years of experience, which allows them to immediately add value to our clients' businesses. We are a minority and women-owned business and in 2006 we were selected as a winner in the Make Mine a Million Dollar Business Contest.
Why did you start Consultants 2 Go? We worked across the street from the World Trade Center at the same company, American Express. After 9/11, we lost our jobs and decided to start our own company with the idea that we could help companies by leveraging our extensive network of marketing professionals.
We quickly realized that we had tapped into the need by these companies for highly skilled marketing consultants and their desire for people that "could hit the ground running." We also realized that we were fulfilling a need by our consultants for more flexible and balanced work arrangements. Many of our consultants are moms or bridge workers (retirees/ex-pats from Corporate America) who wanted a more flexible lifestyle, something that we could provide them with our tailored assignments.
What is the difference—and the benefits—of hiring virtually versus in person? By hiring virtually, you can tap into a much larger pool of resources. You are no longer constrained by the physical geography of your location as a business. It also gives you access to people that are not able to work outside of their home. Often times, there are highly skilled women that can be a tremendous asset but require a completely virtual assignment. In addition, depending on the type of project, different time zones can be beneficial for the completion of the assignment. The team on the East Coast can start the initiative, and the West Coast resources can continue later in the day. This is particularly helpful when you need to complete a project for a client that has a compressed timeframe.
If you'd like to get hired as a virtual consultant, here's the advice from Peggy McHale: