You probably spend more time working as a consultant than you spend in any other role in your life right now. Holey shmoley. Can that be true?
Yup. Before and after your work day, you may focus on excelling as a partner, spouse, parent, friend, hockey coach, volunteer, or civic leader; however, roughly half your waking hours are spent working.That could be a dispiriting thought, except… hold on a sec… you’re in charge of your workplace! You lead your consulting firm. You make the rules. You decide whether each week of consulting is filled with daily grinds or daily grins.
Building a successful consulting firm is a serious venture, but it doesn’t have to be a somber undertaking.
What’s the secret to injecting fun into your consulting routine? Must you hold a weekly hootenanny at the office? Should you only accept consulting assignments that require swimming in deep pools of dark chocolate?
Having fun as a consultant is easier than that. And less sticky.
10 Pointers for Having Fun in Consulting
Wrap up a consulting project, knock out an overdue task, finish an idea you abandoned mid-execution. Completion generates satisfaction and positive feelings.
Mastery is enjoyable for a while, then it becomes boring. Set yourself a work goal for the day or the week that is difficult, but achievable.
Speak up when your consulting client’s making a poor choice, step on stage even though stage fright robs you of confidence, or find some other way to amp up your joy by leaping into your personal, derring-do.
Take Yourself Less Seriously
Give up the stoic, know-it-all consulting persona. It’s okay to be vulnerable, to have emotions, and to make light of yourself a bit. (By the way, when you take yourself less seriously, clients will like you more.)
Laughter is a funny thing. Even a bout that starts out forced or fake often morphs into the real thing. Whether your chuckling is intentional or spontaneous, you release endorphins. Woot!
Recognize and Celebrate Success
Every day you’re springing from achievement to achievement without acknowledging your accomplishments. Mark all those little wins at your consulting firm with a whoop! (The big ones get a “Wahoo!!”).
Give Yourself Permission (and Time) to Have Fun
It’s okay to take a break. If you’re going to spend a few minutes of your work day watching cat videos or shopping for ugly sweaters, then don’t ruin that time by feeling guilty. Enjoy it.
Don’t worry so much about what others think of you. Let yourself be goofy or offbeat. No one’s paying that much attention to you anyway.
Do something rash and unexpected. (I’d tell you what to do, but then it wouldn’t be spontaneous!)
I bet you have some other ideas for making consulting fun. I’d love to hear them. Write your thoughts in the comments section below.
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.
Thanks for the article. I like having fun while I am working too.
A number of years ago I had three big lucrative gigs and I ended up hating all of them for various reasons. I told Kathy, my wife, that maybe I wasn’t any good anymore. She replied, “I doubt that you’ve lost your skills in the past six months. Maybe you weren’t ever any good.” I loved that!. . . She continued, “Look you just took up music again (after many years away), why don’t you back off a little from work and play more jazz.” That got me thinking. I decided that I would only take on consulting and speaking assignments that I thought would be as much fun as playing music. . . That standard has served me well. – Rick
The jazz standard. An excellent work guideline and a pun wrapped together. I like it!
Congratulations on the surge in business and the steps to make the work more enjoyable, Rick.
Clients are people too. They could use a break from being too serious.
This week, when my otherwise serious client was explaining me how he would benefit from the project he wanted me to deliver, I played an amused and pleased listener with a big smile on my face. He was doing my work so well that I even asked if I could make a video of his speech for may other sales presentations. We both had a good laugh.
I swear by Christmas break it happened: he was selling a project to himself, I only had to nod and ‘you are right’ once in a while, just as David taught us to set up sales meetings 🙂
Shhhh… don’t let any clients hear that we know they’re people too.
Great job bringing levity to your negotiations and GIANT huzzahs to you for knocking it out of the park in your business development conversations. Your success is inspirational, Anatoli.
One of my rules is to be comfortable while working; otherwise, I just want to go home. Even though I work with corporations, I don’t wear “corporate clothes” to the office. And I am upfront with my clients about meeting (via video) after my gym workouts – yes, they get the still-sweaty and red-faced me, but I am fully prepared to talk.
The second rule is that my husband (and business partner) and I take a break and have lunch together at least twice a week. We don’t talk business, but laugh and talk about nonsense. 🙂
Very impressive that you’ve trained your clients so well, Carol. (And it’s a good thing that the computer is video/audio only, else that whole, gym-sweat thing might not work out so well.)
Even more impressive that you’ve trained your husband so well. Sounds like you have a good routine going for keeping joy in your work. I’m glad you shared it!
When consulting )especially internationally) and travelling to new locations, I try to build in a couple days wastes at front end not only to sort out jet-lag, but also do some touristy things, hit a beach or museum, and take-in the local culture. I also like to linger for an extra day or so after the assignment/session!
Great idea, Doug. Your approach flips one of the most grueling aspects of consulting (the travel) on its head, so it becomes something to look forward to. (Plus, you get to sample chocolate from many different cities.) I’m glad you added that suggestion to the list.