Weekly L&D Roundup: How to Succeed as an L&D Consultant

TrainingPros Weekly L&D Roundup: Successful Consultant

Consultants accounted for 36% of the workforce in the United States in 2020. This was an 8% increase from 2019 levels. They also accounted for more than 1.2 trillion dollars of the US economy according to the latest annual study by Upwork. As well the study found 58% of non-consultants are willing to consider such a career change in the future. The short of it? Full-time consulting is here to stay.

Each week our editorial team scours the internet in search of the latest and most relevant content from learning and development (L&D) thought leaders. In this edition of the Weekly L&D Roundup, we have selected three different aspects of becoming a successful learning and development consultant.

Here is what you need to know…

Avoiding Victimhood During Career Uncertainty

Lisa Downs, who founded New Aspect Coaching, outlines four ways to control your attitude during a job transition in a recent post. A certified professional coach, Downs’ advice emphasizes the need to “avoid languishing in victimhood.” Doing this makes it harder to embrace new opportunities.

Why you should read? Any change can be scary. Job change can be absolutely horrifying. This is never more true than the day you suddenly find yourself in the unemployment line for reasons beyond your control. It is natural to face a wide range of emotions.

If you’re considering becoming an L&D consultant, her point is doubly important. For freelancers, no matter the industry, you are selling yourself to potential clients. As such, personal branding is a key factor to long-term success. Harboring negative emotions can directly affect your brand.

Downs ends the article by asking readers, “What’s better: living in victimhood or living a life you decide to intentionally create?”

As a long-time consultant, I learned the answer to this question firsthand.

I was laid off shortly after the events of 9/11. The start-up I was working for lost its funding when the twin towers fell. Suddenly what I considered to be a dream job, was gone. It was devastating.

I eventually chose to go into consulting. However, I struggled to find consistent work. Once I stopped dwelling on what could have been and fully embraced the decision, I began to thrive.

Today, I am living the life I set out to create. Just as Downs recommends.

Read Full Article: Staying Out of Victimhood in Career Transition

Blueprint for a Learning and Development Consultant

Tim Slade, author, and founder of The eLearning Designer’s Academy has spent more than a decade as a freelancer in the L&D industry. In a recent blog article, Slade pulls back the curtain, sharing candid detail about his own “transition” to freelance eLearning developer.

Why you should read? Choosing whether or not to become a freelancer can be stressful. The fact is, becoming a professional consultant is a decision only you can make. After you decide, you’ll likely have a million and one questions.

His road from full-time employee to hired gun was a planned and deliberate effort over time. It was his choice, not a result of job loss. We all have our own stories and our own reasons for joining the field. Don’t discount his advice just because you didn’t have the opportunity to ease into freelancing.

Starting out part-time, Slade walks through how he chose to focus on three key areas to ensure a successful transition:

  1. Creating a personal brand
  2. Figuring out what skills make you unique and marketable
  3. Identifying additional sources of income
"As a freelancer, you only get paid when you have work, you only get work when you have clients, and you only get clients when they know who you are." - Tim Slade Click to Tweet

It doesn’t matter if your path to becoming a freelancer is similar to Slade’s or not. If your goal is to be successful, his key points should resonate. I, for one, wholeheartedly agree consultants need to know their strengths and market them effectively.

Read Full Article: How I Became a Full-Time Freelance eLearning Designer

An L&D Consultant’s Guide to Creating a Portfolio

The last stop on this week’s roundup is a comprehensive guide to creating an online portfolio from freelance instructional designer, Devlin Peck. The guide details each step of the process in easily digestible chunks.

Why you should read or watch? Being noticed is the first step in getting hired as a learning and development consultant. Most consulting gigs are filled through recruiters, specialty websites and staffing agencies. Putting together an online portfolio can be the difference in whether or not you land your next project.

According to Peck, you should start by spending some time looking at other professionals’ portfolios. In addition to his own portfolio, he also mentions others like Tim Slade’s online collection. After finding some inspiration, you’ll need to select the right projects to share. Next, the tutorial moves on to the storyboarding and writing phases.

The final step is to build your portfolio. This section is one of the better parts of the guide. Peck walks through different options for developing your finished site, depending on your technical skills.

If you are new to consulting, this is a good resource and worth the read (or watch).

More and more, digital business cards and online portfolios are becoming the standard, especially for L&D consultants.

A critical step not mentioned is the need to ask for a client’s permission. Never assume a happy client equals a client willing to grant blanket approval to share the projects you worked on. Using a client’s name on your website, displaying their logo, or discussing details about work you did for them could be problematic, especially if you’re forced to remove it from your portfolio.

"One of the golden rules of freelancing: your work is not yours, it belongs to the client." - Patrick Owens Click to Tweet

Read Full Article: Creating an Instructional Design Portfolio

Final Thoughts

The pandemic has reminded us how events beyond our control can quickly destroy our best-laid plans. Even though we cannot predict or control the future, there are things we can do to better the odds of achieving success.

From facing career challenges with the right frame of mind to building a strong personal brand rooted in our most marketable skills to building an online presence to help us stand out. These are just some of the ways learning and development consultants can find longevity and success.

Now you know what you need to know…until next week.

Have a suggestion you’d like us to explore in a future roundup? Know other thought leaders we should be paying attention to? Are you a veteran consultant or a new freelancer? What you know matters, share your thoughts with me!

Patrick Owens

Patrick Owens

Patrick Owens has over 30 years of experience in the adult learning and technical communication space. His favorite day of the week is Tuesday and has deemed it a special time for tacos. Always looking for adventure Patrick uses his downtime to explore and create. In addition to being the father of 5 year old twin boys, he is currently the Digital Solutions Architect for TrainingPros.
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Patrick Owens has over 30 years of experience in the adult learning and technical communication space. His favorite day of the week is Tuesday and has deemed it a special time for tacos. Always looking for adventure Patrick uses his downtime to explore and create. In addition to being the father of 5 year old twin boys, he is currently the Digital Solutions Architect for TrainingPros.

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