Becoming a Consultant in analytical chemistry has always been my aspiration, as I envisioned it as a rewarding way to finish my career as a scientist, by helping, advising providing insights and perspectives, guiding, training, influencing, and empowering.
Another attractive side of the consulting work has always been being independent, making my own decisions, managing my time and my priorities, being in charge of my time, being myself.
And here I am today, 18 months after starting PIC Analytics, loaded with work, juggling with diverse requests, navigating among complex projects, evolving most of the time outside of my zone of comfort, but HAPPY, rewarded with each project and ending every week with a great sense of accomplishment!
Being on my own and relying on myself to develop my business means going out, networking, and showing my potential, which is not a comfortable position or an easy task with an introvert personality. But there are creative ways of reaching out to companies and people using current communication tools.
Being my own boss makes me accountable for any opportunities I can seize and forces me to build safety fences in case I cannot find clients or in case I loose contracts in the middle of a negotiation. But being my own boss means that I have to build my own vision for my company and develop my strategy to create success according to my values and beliefs. It is also about understanding my strengths and envisioning the impact I can have by providing pragmatic guidance and mentorship to my clients.
The foundations of independent consulting are based on clear communication of clients’ expectations and of what the consultant can deliver. It can take significant time to understand these expectations, but on a long term, it helps in building trust from the clients in the consultant’s ability to deliver and confidence from the consultant that they can positively impact the clients’ strategies through recommendations, problem-solving or process improvement.
Consulting is also based on commitment: commitment to be organized and as efficient as possible as every charged hour counts; commitment to run thorough studies and to check each information that is provided to the clients; commitment to invest time to ensure business development, commitment to deliver guidance of quality, and commitment to stay focused and avoid procrastination, as there can be an opportunity to do better at every corner.
As demanding as independent consulting can be, it is for me extremely rewarding as I have been able to reconnect with science, as I have been able to take the time to deeply study scientific papers, to stay updated on scientific innovation in my area, and to process these learnings in order to convey them in an easy way to my clients. This is what consulting means to me: strengthen my scientific knowledge for my clients to look up to me as the expert that will help them confirm their hypotheses, that will empower them in considering their data with new perspectives, that will mentor them to do good science and that will positively impact their deliverables.