For years, we have viewed the consulting world as an opportunity extended to those who have navigated the business world for decades and were part of a select few, typically older White men, deemed to be highly-educated thought leaders in their space. Unfortunately, you can just look at the abundance of books available today for starting a consulting business, and you will find a complete lack of diversity in publishing.
Why is this problematic?
This does not accurately represent the face of consulting today, especially solo or independent consulting. The onset of the global pandemic in early 2020 shifted the world of work. It brought technology to the forefront of how we do business, hold meetings, network, and publish content that reflects our unique perspective. The previously guarded inner circle that seasoned experts reluctantly shared was now available for access. And with it, the ability to change the face of the consulting world for years to come.
However, people are still reluctant to enter this field. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, women, especially women of color, have attained higher educational degrees at a rate consistently greater than their male counterparts. Despite this significant accomplishment, we have yet to build a noticeable presence at the highest levels of the consulting industry.
Knowledge and ability do not account for the discrepancy we see in the expertise business. I believe there is a general lack of awareness of available options. This limits our ability to navigate the hidden journey to success as solo consultants. Additionally, challenges surrounding mindset and social conditioning have resulted in many of us playing small and limiting our growth by questioning our ability.
“Don’t sell yourself short. You will meet people along the way who will be lining up to place limits on you. You don’t need to beat them to the punch.”
— Leslie Odom Jr., Failing Up
A Call to Action…
For us to shift away from the older preconceived notions into our new reality, there are some core beliefs that we must take to heart. Here’s what I know for sure:
- Pursuing service to others will generate wealth that outlasts the pursuit of money. In consulting, the dedication to increasing your services’ perceived value and quality will attract abundant leads and aligned clients.
- Building expertise is not always about obtaining additional degrees and certifications but instead falling in love with lifelong learning.
- There is no one path to success in the consulting industry. The digital era has introduced new opportunities for business growth that did not exist in the past but will live in the future. Be open to continual evolution and adaptation.
- Your unique perspective and life journey offer a valuable element that has been missing for decades. Your viewpoint is needed.
- Thought leadership is essential to your growth in a highly sophisticated market. It is what speaks to the desired identity and overcomes any level of saturation in the market.
- Developing a well-positioned core offer is the key to achieving your desired business growth at an accelerated pace because it focuses your energy and messaging to deliver the most optimized, high-quality solution to those willing to invest. Then, it sells itself.
- You can no longer afford to wait for access to inner circles and “high-quality” networks. As a woman in consulting, especially a woman of color, you must create opportunities for connection and build a more inclusive table that welcomes the diversity that truly represents the immense talent in our society.
With this conviction, we can take full advantage of a world of opportunity that has opened up in this era. And with it, we can realize our greatest dreams.
To learn more about how you can build a thriving and profitable consulting business tune into the Black Girls Consult TOO! podcast.