Specializing Vs. Diversifying as a Freelance Consultant
But what type of freelance consultant do you aspire to be?
Do you want to be a generalist and do a little bit of everything? Or do you want to choose one area to specialize in and go all in?
Ultimately, it’s your decision. So, in this article, we won’t tell you which path you should go, but we will only mention the pros and cons of each and leave the final decision up to you.
Pros and Cons of Diversifying
By choosing to diversify into different consulting areas, you will have to work with different types of projects throughout your career. This can be challenging as well as exciting. Let’s understand how.
Endless opportunities: Diversifying brings you more opportunities than you can ever imagine. You can explore to see which consulting areas you want to specialize in the future. If a particular consulting area has a high demand, you can try your hands on it. And on the flip side, if the demand for consultants in an area goes down, you will still have the opportunity to diversify into other areas.
Ability to pivot: If something’s not working out, you can always try a different niche. For example, if operations consulting doesn’t really suit you, you could diversify into strategy consulting or human resource consulting instead of waiting for things to change and wasting your precious time.
Safety: If you have experience working in different consulting areas, you will have a sense of safety in your career. For instance, if competition increases in digital transformation consulting, you could switch to another area of freelance consulting and still be profitable.
A lack of experience: There’s a difference between knowing a little bit of everything and knowing everything about one subject. When you diversify into different consulting areas in your freelance consulting career, it’s likely that your experience in each area will be limited.
Issues with personal branding: You cannot position yourself as the go-to person in any area when you cast a wide net and have a presence in multiple consulting areas. This could create problems for your personal brand and you could have a hard time communicating the value you can bring to potential clients. This is a major con because, in freelance consulting, you are the business, and if you can’t really create a strong personal brand, you may have a difficult time closing more clients and charging what you’re worth.
Frequent learning: You will have to spend a lot of time and energy upskilling yourself in different areas to be able to solve clients’ problems. Even though staying up to date with the latest trends and certifications in different areas will help you provide value to clients and earn money, you won’t necessarily get paid for this directly.
Specializing in one particular consulting area means that you will have to spend your entire freelance consulting career honing your skills in that one area. Again, this comes with its own pros and cons. Let’s discuss what they are.
Pros and Cons of Specializing
You can establish yourself as a figure of authority: Consulting specialization in one area for a few years will certainly help you establish yourself as an industry leader. Clients will look forward to working with you and feel safe investing in your services simply because you have a track record of consulting in one particular area.