Consultation: Your Expertise Is Valuable

I get emails all the time asking questions about how I started my own school, emails that I gladly answer, but usually end up going no further than an initial contact, for whatever reason. This weekend however, I had the pleasure of doing my first full on-site consultation, face to face, across state lines, which started out as an email. I was so excited. Hearing how this client's philosophy aligned with my own and getting to pass on some tried and true methods was such an honor.

So when I was driving back, I began thinking, how could I do more of this? And I began brainstorming for the next three hours.

These are the three top things to do if you want to do more consultation work, and of course get paid for your time:

Establish your brand. Our publisher at The Educator's Room has written some great pieces on just this topic. (READ ABOUT THEM HERE) Having a brand is so very important, and it's even more important to tell others about your brand. Never discount what you stand for and what you bring to the table. This client found me through my writing, namely the piece I wrote on starting my own school (READ IT HERE). Starting a school is what I'm known for. Everything else I do is the icing on the cake. Don't be ashamed to brag on what you do. You've worked hard to get where you are and you have information that will benefit others. Let them know what you have to offer.

Answer your emails. Once your brand is out there for others to see, be sure to respond to the emails asking about your brand. Other people will want to know more about you and what you have to offer. Never just wave off correspondence from people who are asking questions about YOU. One or more of those emails may lead to someone wanting you to come teach them what you know. Not everyone possesses your expertise, and don't tell yourself that they do.

Believe in your intellectual property. I used to roll my eyes when someone would mention intellectual property. You bet I'm a believer now. I have fourteen years of experience with school start-up, in all aspects. Very few people have attempted to do what I've done and been successful at it. I now realize the value I have in that experience, knowing what works and what doesn't work, knowing what laws exist and what policies need to be followed. Do not discount your knowledge! Remember that you are the expert in your expertise. Don't be embarrassed to acknowledge that.

Once people are interested in what you have to offer, you'll need to figure out what services you are willing to provide and what prices you will charge. You should always get paid for the services you offer, even just advising. You are giving important knowledge to others, just like when you teach. You deserve to get paid for passing on that knowledge.