An honest look at being a Social Media consultant

by Mack Collier

Typically, I am loathe to write personal posts here, because I think I am boring y’all to tears, but I wanted to do so today.  Over the past few months, I’ve had several discussions with people that are working in this space as the umbrella term of a ‘social media consultant’.  What prompted me to write this post was because several times I have heard from friends that are struggling, and they assume that since they are struggling, that it’s a direct reflection on their abilities as a consultant.  They also assume that most consultants are doing extremely well, so if they aren’t, that further cements the idea that they just aren’t ‘cut out’ for this type of work.

I think there are a LOT of misconceptions about being a social media consultant.  The first is that many people think that ‘big name’ consultants are out there getting $20K every day to swoop into companies and spend a few hours with them.  So the logic becomes ‘if I can make a big name for myself, I will get big bucks too.’

From my experience and talking to others, this is fantasyland.  Not saying 1 or 2 consultants don’t do/get this, but for the consultants I know and talk to, nothing could be further from the truth.  A lot of times they are working on monthly projects, with a monthly fee.  That’s probably a lot closer to $1K than $20K.

The second misconception seems to be that social media consulting is a much more stable and profitable way to go than simply doing similar work for a company.  The downturn in the economy that’s been going on for years now has affected social media consultants as much as anyone.  Probably more, since companies tend to only allocate marketing dollars to the ‘tried and true’ when funds run low.  So if you can’t find a job and are thinking that becoming a ‘social media consultant’ will save you, good luck.

Now that I’ve set the stage with all this doom and gloom, I wanted to circle back to why I wanted to write this post.  It was mainly to talk about the misconception my friends seemed to be having that if they were struggling in consulting, it was more a reflection on them and their skills, versus the reality of the space.  I think it’s more of the latter.  I’m not saying that you can’t make good money and be successful as a social media consultant.  But it is a LOT of work.  Personally, I’ve been doing this for about 5 years now, and 2011 is the 1st year where I’ve really felt like I was getting my feet under me.  There are a TON of ups and downs, so if you are a social media consultant or considering becoming one, please keep these things in mind:

1 – Figure out what you are offering, and who you are offering it to.  And be aware that this likely will change over time, but you need to start out trying to decide who you are wanting to work with, and what you can offer them.  Do you want to work with small businesses, or large companies?  Do you want to work with local clients, or virtually with national clients?  What services do you want to offer?  Campaign/project creation and execution?  Training?  Speaking?  Actual consulting?  Again, this will likely change a bit over time, but a big reason why I think a lot of people struggle with social media consulting is that they don’t clearly have their preferred clients decided upon, and their value proposition for those clients.  Remember, you can’t get work until others know what you do, and a ton of your work will come from referrals.  So the sooner you can clearly define your role and niche, the better.

2 – Realize that there WILL be downtime in work, and how to capitalize on that.  One of the things I have always hated about being a social media consultant is that it seemed like I would have 3 months with little to no work, then 3 months with more work than I could handle.  It was such a relief to talk to other consultants, and find that most of them go through the same feast or famine work cycle.  Their best advice was that when you know a lull is coming, to shift your focus to working on YOUR business, and make yourself your client.  Freshen up your blog/website, re-evaluate your marketing strategy, etc.  For example, I was crazy busy from May-September, but I knew looking ahead that October-December would probably be slower.  So I took some of the personal business projects that I wanted to work on, and moved them to the end of the year.  Now that work is slower, I still have some things to keep me busy.

3 – Be creative in finding sources of income.  The great thing about social media consulting is that this space is so new.  And as such, there’s a ton of new possibilities, and things that have never been tried yet.  For example, my biggest source of income this year has been from doing Live #Blogchats, something that I’d never even considered offering this time last year.  But I decided to try doing one this year at SXSW to see what the reaction would be, and the rest is history.  Other consultants have had much success with thinking ‘outside the box’, for example, look at what Tom Martin has done with getting Emma to sponsor his TalkingWithTom.com, or look at how Jim Kukral is crowd-sourcing the funding of his next book.

 

These are a few ideas, but I know from my own experience that my first few years of being a social media consultant would have been easier if I had known the above.  But if you are struggling as a consultant, don’t assume it means that simply aren’t ‘smart enough’ to do the work, it could simply mean that you need to better organize your marketing and business efforts.  It’s often true that we can offer far better marketing advice for our clients than ourselves.  Look at your business situation as if you were hiring yourself, and see what advice you would give yourself on how to improve your situation.

Those of you that are consulting now, what are some of the potholes you’ve encountered, and how did you move past them?  Or if you are having troubles now, maybe we could give you some advice on moving past them?

 

PS: I meant to add this in the post under #3 but got sidetracked, but Lee Odden last night was telling us about Live-Blogging an event during #Blogchat.  He said that because of his Live-Blogging, he’s gotten passes to over 50 events in the last 5 years.  And of course, being at all those events has opened a ton of doors and opportunities for him.  Check out his post today where he walks you through the process, and talks about some of the benefits he’s enjoyed as a result.

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

tom martin October 31, 2011 at 11:43 am

Mack,

Love the honesty of this post. It’s so easy to see successful consultants and think (usually incorrectly) that they’re killing it when in fact, they’re slogging it out like the rest of us.

As we’ve talked about in the past, I think you’re spot on with your #BlogChat stuff and monetizing it, especially the live stuff, and I appreciate your calling out my TalkingWithTom project… both are good examples I think of the value to trying new things… and adopting a “build it and they will come” attitude.

Good stuff brother… looking forward to seeing you at BWELA… till then…
@TomMartin

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Mack Collier October 31, 2011 at 11:56 am

Thanks Tom. I think TalkingWithTom is a great example of being smart in content creation, and then finding a way to monetize it. So many of us go to these events anyway, but I think a lot of us don’t take full advantage of the content creation possibilities. I am going to try to do a better job of that at Blog World this week, and what you’ve done with TalkingWithTom is a great example. See you Thurs!

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John Quinn October 31, 2011 at 11:46 am

Great advice, thanks Mack.

I was (and still am) thinking about doing something similar, but I need to nail down my niche. It’s frustrating because I know what I want the end result to be, I just can’t seem to find the starting point. One great piece of advice I’ve heard is to just do it — fake it until you make it because you gotta start somewhere. It’s scary, but it makes sense.

One aspect of this lifestyle that appeals to me is that you *can* be creative with how you make your money. You aren’t getting a set salary, you’re pooling your income from a number of different places and hoping it adds up. In time, I’m sure it does, but that’s a daunting thought at first.

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Mack Collier October 31, 2011 at 11:59 am

Hey John, I think we also need to consider that it’s not just about learning how to be a social media consultant, it’s learning how to run your own business. That in an of itself is what trips up a lot of consultants, IMO. You go from having a boss and a clear outline of what your workday will be like, to suddenly YOU are the boss, and you have to structure your own workday. For some people, it works fine, but for unorganized people like me, it can be trouble ;)

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Keith October 31, 2011 at 11:48 am

Personally, I find that struggling consultants are missing the local markets. Far too many of them spend too much time on social networks, writing blog posts, and commenting on blog posts instead of networking right on their own community. It wasn’t until I started doing just that this summer that my workload took off…. maybe it’s just me, but I doubt it ;-)

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Mack Collier October 31, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Hey Keith, I think it depends. If I were in a larger city/area, I would absolutely agree with you on the value of local markets, But one of the reasons why I decided to become a consultant, was because I could work virtually since there are little to no client opportunities where I live.

But if you are a larger area, absolutely, look local first. Might not be as glamorous, but getting a steady monthly paycheck is sexy as hell ;)

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Keith November 5, 2011 at 5:38 am

That was the same problem I had when I lived in the mountains of NC, since moving to the coast all that changed. Anyway, great article as usual Mack….

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James Berkowitz October 31, 2011 at 11:50 am

Wonderful and sincere writing removing the gloss and cloud of delusion from first hand experience. Nice article Mack. Thank you very much for sharing.

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Mack Collier October 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Thank you James. I just really felt compelled to write this because I think a lot of consultants are struggling, and believe they just ‘aren’t good enough’ to do that type of work, when the problem usually lies in other areas. I just don’t like to see smart people doubting themselves because of conditions that are affecting most of us. Just wanted to give a bit of a reality check that will hopefully help others.

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Amy McCloskey Tobin October 31, 2011 at 12:32 pm

“Find your niche and you will get rich” doesn’t really apply if No One Knows What Your Niche Is, right?

Great post and a kind, honest ‘keep at it’ that I am sure is appreciated.

I worry about anyone trying to make it as a ‘Social Media Consultant’ instead of a Marketing Consultant, as I see Social Media as a TACTIC in a smart, comprehensive marketing strategy – unless of course you are doing it for F500 companies and can be THAT focused and still eat.

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Mack Collier October 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Amy that is a GREAT point about the dangers of pigeon-holing yourself as just a social media consultant. That’s a big reason why I am trying to branch out and offer more marketing services, especially aimed at helping companies cultivate their brand advocates.

The smart social media consultants understand that the space is evolving, and the work they do now has a limited shelf-life. You have to be aware of your client’s needs, and adapt.

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Chris Eh Young October 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm

It’s great to see the truth exposed in all its honesty. We spend so much of our lives thinking that everyone else is doing better than we are. Partially because social is a space where we try to stay positive and no one wants to admit struggle.
As a social media consultant for the past two and a half years, I can attest to the feast and famine cycle. The space itself is a moving target right now so we have to stay fluid and adaptive to keep up. It’s the only way to survive.

Thanks for telling it like it really is. Not the sugar coated version that people believe.

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Mack Collier October 31, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Thanks Chris, I honestly don’t care about what people’s perceptions are UNTIL I start hearing friends and associates thinking their problems are the exception. From my experience, most social media consultants struggle at first especially, because as Karen brought up, they are also trying to get a new business off the ground. There are always struggles and growing pains involved, but I don’t want people to think those issues reflect on them and their talent, when that’s not the issue.

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Karen October 31, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Great article! I think this actually applies to a lot of small business owners during the start-up years. I’m just nearing the end of my fourth year and for me, like many, the ups and downs have been crazy. Here’s to more ups than downs in 2012 for everyone!

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Mack Collier October 31, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Karen that is a great point, a lot of the ‘struggling’ that social media consultants may be going through isn’t due to a lack of talent so much as it is a natural byproduct of trying to get your own business off the ground. Great point and clarification!

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Neicole Crepeau October 31, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Mack, thanks SO much for posting this. One of the first posts I ever read of yours was your post on what a social media strategy costs (http://mackcollier.com/so-how-much-will-a-social-media-strategy-cost/). I loved the honesty and transparency of it–and it was just generally useful information. This post is really helpful in a different way and very reassuring.

I’ve had the feeling that many consultants that I read and follow, with much bigger audiences, aren’t as successful as their public personas suggest. (I don’t think they are misrepresenting things, by the way, just putting their best foot forward as we all do.) It’s nice to have that impression verified. And I appreciate your practical tips here.

I only wish you blogged more, Mack! Thanks.

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Mack Collier November 1, 2011 at 10:24 am

Thank you Neicole, I agree that public personas don’t always jive with reality. But at the same time, I do think there are plenty of successful social media consultants out there. I look at someone like Jason Falls, I think he’s absolutely done it the right way. He had plenty of experience and contacts from working on the agency side, then when he decided to go solo, it was a very seamless transition (it appears), and I think having that experience and contacts is a big reason why he’s been so successful.

Becoming a social media consultant is NOT the path to instant riches by any stretch of the imagination. But like so much in life, if you are smart and hustle, you can do well for yourself.

And I’ll try to blog more often, thanks for reading Neicole ;)

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Jon Buscall November 1, 2011 at 3:26 am

Hey Mack, this resonated a lot with me. I followed @Neicolec’s tweet out on Twitter and found this.
Although I run a “digital marketing agency” that operates largely in the cloud with fellow consultants that compliment my skills, I do see my self first and foremost as a consultant.

I’ve found over the last 6-7 years that the best way of keeping going is to stay up to date with what’s happening but also speaking at conferences.
Because of this I started a podcast a year ago and this has quickly become my strongest form of online lead generation. Although I don’t get bazillions of listeners, I get the one’s that are interested in what I do and make a closer connection to me. That seems to generate leads.

Thank you so much for sharing!

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Lisa Petrilli November 1, 2011 at 7:30 am

Jon,

That is such a brilliant point that so many miss… You don’t need “bazillions” of listeners – or even followers. You just need to get yourself in front of the ones that you most want to work with (your dream customers) and for whom your services resonate the most! A year and a half into blogging I’m still trying to figure out how best to do that. Kudos to you for finding what works well for you!

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Mack Collier November 1, 2011 at 10:31 am

Jon and Lisa, both excellent points. This also dovetails with Neicole’s comment, because I think a lot of consultants don’t really understand who they are writing for, and who they need to write for to get business. For example, there are many consultants that are constantly blogging what I call the ‘I call bullshit!’ posts. They are calling out someone or something in the social media space. These posts always get a ton of comments and RTs, and a nice traffic spike. Which is why these bloggers keep writing them, but the problem is, few/if any of these comments and RTs are coming from the people that could actually hire them! Which I think goes back to the misconception that simply making ‘a name for yourself’ is enough. Lisa it’s more to your and Jon’s point about making a name for yourself with POTENTIAL CLIENTS.

Great thoughts from you both, thank you!

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Steve Woodruff November 1, 2011 at 8:01 am

Mack – you’re right on. Define your niche, get out there, and be ready to evolve as new opportunities present themselves. Like you, I’m five years into my solo business, and still trying to shape the business model to even out the feast-and-famine cycle. We consultants need to stick together and help each other!

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Mack Collier November 1, 2011 at 10:32 am

Steve it’s funny, even in the last day since writing this post, I’ve had consultants reach out to me and thank me for mentioning the ‘feast or famine’ cycle, and tell me they thought they were the only ones dealing with that! It’s always good to know you’re not alone, especially for us introverts ;)

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Vilma Bonilla November 1, 2011 at 8:37 am

Your insights are spot on. The move to becoming a consultant in general is hard because of all the things you mentioned. Moving from an employee to a business owner mindset is not an easy transition. It starts by working out the dilemma in our heart and then in our head. It is a process.

As many pointed out, you don’t need a million customers. That’s not even feasible. You just need to show prospective clients what you do and explain how your skills may benefit them. Knowing who you are and what you do is the first step. Then targeting potential clients and preferred clients. Getting in front of those clients is where the process becomes creative.

Most business owner are too general when they think about who their clients. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you do need to know who you are and who your clients are. I have been an enterprise consultant since 2007. I am not a social media consultant. I love participating in the social space and have helped out in many projects. My clients are big businesses within specific industries that invest in workplace learning resources. I can only handle one client at a time. This can be done because of the nature of the business arrangement. The nature of the business enables some consultant to only work part of the year. The part of the year we do work, we work non-stop and travel extensively. This is a sacrifice and a choice that not everyone can make. I make the most of it because I have the support of my family and I love what I do. Making those difficult decision is the hardest part of getting started.

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Mack Collier November 1, 2011 at 10:39 am

Vilma the fact is, if you don’t define yourself, others will for you. Several months ago when #Blogchat really started becoming popular, I realized that I was dangerously close to being known as simply ‘that #Blogchat guy’ to a lot of people. It’s no coincidence that around this time I started pushing Think Like a Rockstar, and how companies can cultivate brand advocates and build communities. Because I didn’t want everyone else only knowing me from #Blogchat and thinking that I was the guy to call if they needed help setting up a Blogger blog. I wanted companies to contact me about building brand advocate programs and creating fans of their brand.

Thanks for sharing your story, I think if more of us did this, a lot of these misconceptions will go away.

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Vilma Bonilla November 1, 2011 at 11:40 am

i remember that blog! If memory serves me right, I also commented on that post. It was very provocative as I recall. You created an ideal situation for yourself where clients seek you out for your expertise. You took a proactive approach at defining your role and your story is inspirational because of it. The realization that “if you don’t define yourself, others will for you,” is empowering and life changing for anyone who grasps it. Rock on Mack!

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Toby Bloomberg - @tobydiva November 1, 2011 at 9:57 am

Mack – Great post and discussion. would love to hear your take on building proposals to spec. I rarely do that any more, however, the ‘big guys’ so often use that model that it’s often expected.

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Mack Collier November 1, 2011 at 10:43 am

Hey Toby! I really don’t do a lot of elaborate proposals because I don’t do a lot on the execution side. Most of my work is training/workshops, with some speaking mixed in. And I actually do some real consulting ;) When I first started consulting, I went after a lot of campaign/execution projects, but I quickly found that these clients wanted to work with a team, and if I were solo, they wanted to me to have a network in place of people I could bring in. Seemed like I wasn’t playing to my strength here, and at the same time, I started doing some on-site training and I quickly realized that WAS something I could do a better job with for clients versus an agency, etc, so I moved more toward that.

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Ari Herzog November 1, 2011 at 10:57 am

There are too many social media consultants in my neck of the Boston woods. So many that if I try to create a niche, either the niche is already taken or there’s a lack of organizations in that niche.

So, I’m in the process of finding a “real job” and keeping the consulting (which is more speaking and writing these days than going out to potential client sites) on the side.

I’m curious, Mack, how you earn income hosting Twitter chats. Do you refer to conferences etc you get invited to attend/speak as a result? Or is the tweeting itself paying you via sponsored tweets etc?

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Mack Collier November 1, 2011 at 11:05 am

Ari I either get sponsors to cover the costs of doing a Live #Blogchat, or I charge conference organizers a set fee for doing a Live #Blogchat, then they can either sell it to sponsors, or keep it for themselves. For example, a lot of my time in Los Angeles for Blog World this week will be talking to potential sponsors about doing a Live #Blogchat at South By Southwest next March.

I’ve never done a sponsored tweet, and have only had 2 sponsored #Blogchats on Twitter in 3 years. I am very hesitant to do sponsored #Blogchats on Twitter, because I always get pushback from some of the regular participants. With the Live #Blogchats it’s completely different, because I am creating a new event for them to attend that otherwise didn’t exist.

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Barbara Segal November 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Mack,
Great post. This comment caught my attention! Giving back by having a chat and building a community is wonderful! What caught me by surprise was to read your “regular participants” give you “pushback” about having sponsors. Have they put thought into the work it has taken and time for you to grow the #Blogchat community? Do the “regular participants” have sponsors on their blogs? Do they come into the chat to collaborate with others and help promote their services?

As chats grow, so does the time we put into running the community. The beta reports we are receiving for free with analytics and transcripts will be added to the chat expenses in 2012. As we grow our communities, it’s important and takes planning to keep the participants stimulated.
Traveling to shows, working with Guest Hosts, chat related events, phone calls, emails, and the work energy put into weekly chats deserves “no digging into the community leader own pockets.”

Community are not new. Running a weekly twitter chat community is no different then any other community in real life, they takes funds to run them. Even the Girl Scouts sells cookies! If a sponsor can offer a “rock star” talent to the chat…then we are giving education back to the community. Sponsors can offer “perks, give-aways, discounts” back to the community.

“Being honest and fair, using resources wisely, respecting yourself and others, and making the world a better place…these are values that we must continually teach, model, and reinforce as
community leaders.” I learn everyday of opportunities that have come to members of the communities. Do your “regulars participants” appreciate what a huge responsibility it is, to have a weekly chat and work involved to keep the community inspired?
In Nov. 2010 I had my communities (#IntDesignerChat) first live sponsored twitter chat and through this I met many new twitter friends and future sponsors along the way. Exciting and fee involved a live chats is another area of work, time away (from a lucrative job income), travel, and energy working with the company’s involved. I’ve also done two educational events purely from the strength of giving back to the community. In 2012 there will be many changes in Social Media where community leaders will need to change with them. It will take sponsors to keep communities running. Participants surely understand this. My hats off to you Sir.

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Mack Collier November 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Barbara thanks for your comments. After spending last week at Blog World talking to some of the #Blogchat regulars, I have changed my stance on this issue, and will start offering sponsorships to #Blogchats on Twitter starting tomorrow. Thanks for the thoughts!

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Anne November 1, 2011 at 11:00 am

Mack,

Loved this post and I was getting ready to tweet you..but decided to stay in the blogosphere. This is great for me to hear early, because I’m still a neophyte in social media. My mentor and I found it was a great match for my abilities, so we decided I would continue pursuing it (I love it!) but obviously I’ve got more to learn. Loving the comment “we can offer better advice to clients than ourselves”. I didn’t even get my own Twitter until after I was doing a good job tweeting for my client! Smile. Still working on my niche, probably include some initiatives where I work with the Deaf, but I look forward to what’s to come. Do you have specific advice what young SM folks could be studying up on? Tools that focus on Social Media ROI, Google Analytics or Adwords? I’ve got mixed signals on this but would love anyone’s feedback. Thanks Mack!

I’m including my blog post I wrote for my client, Melissa Giovagnoli of Networlding, today.

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Mack Collier November 1, 2011 at 11:09 am

Hey Anne! Check out the Social Media Library section I have on this blog, it has a lot of How-Tos for Social Media that I’ve written over the years – http://mackcollier.com/social-media-library/

As for what you should be studying up on, think about which tools would benefit your clients, that’s the ones you should be knowledgeable about. For example, for most clients unless they are a large brand, simply Google Alerts will probably cover most of their monitoring needs. Likewise, Google Analytics will probably tell them most of what they need to know about the stats of their blog, or you could use Facebook’s stats if you have a Facebook page. I also use Sitemeter here to track real-time stats. Both Sitemeter and GA are free.

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Gwen Morrison November 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

Love the post, Mark! Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us.

I’m about to celebrate the first anniversary of my launch into social media consulting (full-time) and I couldn’t agree with you more–especially the feast or famine part!

And I agree that what you THINK you’ll be doing — the direction of your business — will change. I found that many of my clients were looking for someone to help with copywriting and SEO projects — and as content and search are entwined with social media– I found that developing programs that were more what the client needed (and less what I thought they needed) helped build my client list. And keep food on the table!

Like we tell our clients — listen first.

Thanks for sharing!

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Marc meyer November 1, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Mack, you and I have lived parallel lives for quite some time though I made the jump from working as a consultant for a small agency that I ran to working for a really really large one. But what’s interesting to note is that feast and famine exists even in large companies. It’s compounded by the same issues that exist in 1 person 2 person and 10 person orgs. If you’re not prospecting you’re educating because a lot of people don’t know what they don’t know.

Most don’t know what social is or some have an inkling but one conversation doesn’t mean you get the work. It might be even harder in corp. settings to get the work than it is on an SMB level. More layers and you’re selling middle up, top down, bottom up, you name it-I’ve seen it all.

The bottom line is and I hate to say it but it’s true-You have to sell what you’re good at everyday and to everyone because you just never know sometimes who, what or when.

Being a social consultant is no different than trying to get web work, seo work, pr work etc. You have to work just as hard at finding the work as you do at doing the work. It’s never ending. Glamorous? Nah maybe a little, but the fun is meeting the people you talk with and learn from every day…Like you. :) Great post.

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Mack Collier November 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Too true, Marc. One thing I have gotten terrible about in the last year or so is not spending enough time on Twitter especially networking and interacting with others. I’d like to commit to spending at least an hour there every day, but something usually seems to come up. But you are right, you never know when a connection you make can end up being a referral, or when you can send some work someone else’s way. Looking forward to seeing you again soon, it’s been too long!

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Dan Chicorel November 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Hey Mack -

I read your blog today and as with the others, it really hit home. Both the honesty and even the hope it offers and guidance necessary. I think we’re living in a world of people who want to express their creativity and ideally find a way to make a buck doing it so we don’t have to be robots in a factory. I’m still a newbie to the world of social media, with much to learn and digest and yet I still feel with something to offer others. The question as you so pointedly raise is who are the others :) Thanks for sharing and inspiring…

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Mack Collier November 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Thanks Dan, I appreciate it. There seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to social media consultants:

1 – Most are making easy money
2 – Most are con-artists and snake-oil salesmen that are charging companies a ton and have no idea what they are doing.

From my experience and interacting with others, I know the truth is somewhere in the middle. Most social media consultants are smart folks that are having their ups and downs, just like most small-business owners. Personally, I hear all the rumors and BS, and I honestly don’t care about any of that UNTIL I see friends and associates that are buying into the misconceptions, and who think they aren’t meeting some standard that doesn’t even exist.

I learned a long time ago that I could either worry about how other social media consultants are making their money, or I could worry about how *I* am going to make my money. Seemed like an easy choice for me ;)

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Jay Baer November 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Great stuff Mack. Thanks for keeping it real. Very few would have the honesty to do it.

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Ari Herzog November 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm

You must not have seen my earlier piece this year on finding the faith to work for yourself: http://ariherzog.com/finding-faith/

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Mack Collier November 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Thanks Jay. I didn’t want to get into ‘naming names’ in my post, but I think you are on the short list of ‘social media consultants’ that are doing well for themselves by having a solid strategy and plan for getting where you wanted to be. That makes a ton of difference,

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Peter Munnerlyn November 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Mack,

Thanks for this informative and transparent post. More people need to realize that SM consulting is not an easy business and it definitely isn’t lucrative…

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C.B. Whittemore November 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Mack,

Thank you. I needed to read this. I It’s certainly a wild ride and the more focused you are, the better the connections you make. It really is about quality and not quantity. That, plus having a strong support network to remind you that you are ok – despite the marketplace fluctuations and being open to the unexpected.

Best,
CB

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Alexis Grant November 3, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Great post! I like #3… Helps diversify revenue and can be fun, too! I created this guide (http://bit.ly/smbizguide) to answer questions like the ones you’re getting, and because I enjoy writing — and now that it’s selling, it’s helping me realize I can earn income through digital guides and courses. Lots of ways to put these types of skills to use! Heading back now to read all the comments :)

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Jeff Emmerson December 4, 2011 at 10:02 am

This was a pleasure to read! Many thanks for being not only transparent, but insightful as well. Articles (and honesty) such as this will gradually separate the wannabe’s from those of us with true passion for this industry.

No one is an “expert” – we’re all continuously learning, evolving and collaborating with others via message boards such as this one, for instance.

I will always appreciate old-school integrity and honesty, as will those who employ us.

Kudos to you!

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John Wayne Zimmerman April 18, 2013 at 8:04 am

Great post Mack. You describe reality in this post.

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Diane Carson December 9, 2013 at 10:33 am

Great post! Having experienced the roller coaster ride of being a “tried and true” marketing consultant for the past 20 years, I can tell you that every one of the points you mention have applied to our situation. It has truly been a wild ride but one I would experience all over again, if I had to, despite the tummy tingling ups and downs! After helping our manufacturing clients with their traditional marketing, we are now helping them to set up social media marketing programs. However, it has been more like dragging them into the social media arena since they don’t see the benefits to small manufacturing companies. In their opinion, only if you are Heinz, Johnson & Johnson, or a large retailer, does social media apply to their business, according to them! We are now entering the “new” world of social media, focusing on small professional services businesses who need to keep the revolving door moving for new customers and it is every bit as wild. Potential customers are coming to us when their business is at rock bottom, with unrealistic expectations that social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., will rocket their businesses to the top overnight and that we can bring hundreds of “likes” and “followers” within a short time period. Marketing is a process, whether the “old” method of direct mail, telephone selling, or the “new” method of interaction through social media. Nothing happens overnight.

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Lana April 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Hi Mack,
Just found your article and really appreciate it. I’m a Business Writer and Travel Writer. I want to add to the services I can offer by learning new skills and our world now revolves around social media, so…. I don’t expect it to be my get-rich-quick plan but I think it would be a fun learning experience! =)
Thanks again!

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