I guess I’m still in the honeymoon phase of having been a grant writing consultant for a decade this year. When I set out on this journey ten years ago I was nervous about what striking out on my own might mean. Would I secure any clients? Could I keep them? And would I make any kind of decent money?
You might be having the same fears that I had if you’re thinking of making a go of consulting. The bright side though is that you have it a little bit easier than I did starting out. Many grant writers have now blazed a trail in consulting and have tips that will make success come easier and faster for you. In celebration of my tenth year, I’m so happy to share my top ones with you and hope that they’ll inspire you to make the leap yourself. I know what lies ahead for you – freedom from a “job,” more time with friends and family and the joy of working with nonprofit clients you personally want to see expand and grow in the community. Here’s my “starting out” plan just for you:
Tip #1 – Learn and absorb information that is helpful to you and the stage of business that you’re currently in.
Can we agree that we can be totally overwhelmed by information overload? It seems that everywhere we turn we’re bombarded with tips, tricks, how-to’s and strategies designed to make our life easier. The real trick to sifting through the information we need is to pay attention to what’s needed at just the right time – and ignore the rest. What I mean by this is that if you’re interested in a career as a grant writer, but lack the experience of writing grants, then you first want to learn and absorb all you can about writing winning grants. Don’t worry about how you’ll secure clients yet. Don’t worry about the name of your business. First things come first. I’ll borrow a policeman’s phrase here…proceed in an orderly fashion. Concentrate only on what you need at the time.
Tip #2 – Take what you learn and actually do something with it!
This is where I see some really potentially wonderful grant consultants choke. The books have been read. The training classes have been attended. Extensive notes have been taken. And there the books and notes sit…forlornly on the shelf gathering dust. Education has to be followed by action to make a dream come true, wouldn’t you agree? Please don’t be a statistic – take what you learn and do something with it. The nonprofit world desperately needs you and your expertise!
Tip #3 – Find someone willing to share with you exactly the next steps in starting your business.
Hey, you have this one covered! As I mentioned, there are so many wonderful grant consultants online that you can learn from and I’d also love to coach you to success. As I have continued to grow my business online, I admit that I too have coaches that I trust and admire and I’m happy to invest in them to show me an easier and quicker way of getting things done the way I want. Pick a grant consulting coach that you believe in and resonate with to groom you for consulting greatness.
Betsy Baker is a grant writer, consulting coach and national speaker and is founder of Your Grant Authority. She is dedicated to helping people jumpstart their own work-from-home career and helping nonprofits find a solution to finally end their financial struggles.