Your Personal Goals
What will you need to start and operate a successful consulting service? Certainly you will need your own special knowledge, skills, talent, some money, and some clients. But just as necessary is a personal desire to help others. This is important if you are an employee; it is vital if you are the owner.
As a consumer, you can easily read the attitudes of people who serve you. You know when someone is helping you because it's their job or because they enjoy doing their job. And clients usually respond by supporting and recommending those who help solve problems and make them feel important. Businesses appreciate clients' attention — and they get it.
Before you decide whether operating a consulting service is for you, you must know who you are. What do you feel most comfortable doing? Under what conditions do you enjoy working with people? Under what conditions do you prefer to avoid people? What are your personal goals? What are your financial goals? How much risk do you feel comfortable taking?
Most important, is a consulting service a good fit in your life or will it cause more problems than it cures? Self-analysis can be difficult, but it is the only way of ensuring that this or any other goal will bring you the results you want in your life.
Maybe by this stage in your life you've developed a list of long-term personal goals. Most people have not. It isn't mandatory that you develop a long list of your life's goals before you start a consulting service or other business, but it will increase your chances of personal and financial success if you know what you want from the future.
How can you get started on this list of personal goals? Take some time away from your current work, find a quiet and restful location, and ask yourself questions that will help you determine what you enjoy doing. If you'd like, write them down so you can add to them or refer to them later. This is a good exercise in self-awareness that anyone can benefit from. Here are the questions:
What is it you want from your life?
Do you have specific goals?
What plans do you have for the next year of your life?
Is there anything that people often compliment you about? A talent, hobby, or skill?
Is there some work or task you would do even if you weren't paid?
Is there some cause or mission that drives you?
Is there some opportunity that strikes you as worthwhile?
A goal is an objective. It is somewhere you want to be or something you want to have or do. It can be the goal of owning your own consulting service, the option of working at home, or the objective of amassing $1 million in assets within 10 years to fund your retirement. Whatever they are, they are your personal goals and they reflect who you are and what you want from your life.
Take some time to write down your personal goals, what you want to accomplish with your life. Financial goals are covered later in this chapter. For now, define what you want to do with your life if you had an adequate and guaranteed income.