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MargaretHanson  
#1 Posted : 03 October 2019 13:35:51(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
MargaretHanson

Just wanting to test the water and see if other people are finding consultancy work a bit thin on the ground at the moment.

I set up my own ergonomics consultancy 12 years ago, and have always had enough work, almost all repeat and word of mouth, though some through my website and through associate work. My personal situation changed a few years back, and I’ve been successfully juggling work and parenthood since then, although it has meant that I’ve not been able to travel as far to clients, and my business has been smaller. This has worked fine for a number of years, but the last couple of months I’ve had fewer enquiries, and those that have come in haven’t confirmed as work. I’m not sure if it is the current Brexit uncertainty, the early signs of a recession, to do with my marketing or something else. I’m using this quieter time to increase my marketing activity and networking, but just wondered how others were finding it currently, or if anyone had any useful pointers?

Many thanks

Edited by user 03 October 2019 13:36:39(UTC)  | Reason: typo

Hsquared14  
#2 Posted : 03 October 2019 14:45:46(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Hsquared14

I have to say that the Brexit vote effectively killed my business within a week of the result.   I had been doing quite well with carrying out insurance audits for several major US based insurers but then on the same day I had emails from both to say that they were suspending their survey programme immediately and reviewing their position in the UK market.  All work issued out had to be returned so I was instantly left with no work at all.  To add to that my next biggest customer took all work off associate consultants and gave it to their in house team as much of their Mainland Europe work had dried up.  So I was left with virtually no work at all and after two years of struggling and trying to build up other sources of work I had to admit defeat and get a job!

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MargaretHanson on 03/10/2019(UTC)
MargaretHanson  
#3 Posted : 03 October 2019 14:59:27(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
MargaretHanson

Thanks for sharing this HSquared14, but sorry to hear it. It is my sense of it too that it is mainly related to Brexit uncertainty - it is precarious being a self employed consultant in these times....

Hope you've found a job you like!

Zyggy  
#4 Posted : 03 October 2019 16:40:14(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Zyggy

Margaret, I think a lot depends on which areas of work your consultancy services lie. From a personal point of view my work tends to be within the public or quasi-public sectors where money has been tight for years & still getting tighter. However, "touch wood" this has not (as yet) affected any of my contracts & if anything, I have seen a steady growth not yet affected by Brexit, but time will tell. I note that you specialise in ergonomics, is there scope to diversify this into other areas of your competence? Good luck & I hope that things pick up for you and Hsquared14.
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MargaretHanson on 03/10/2019(UTC)
peter gotch  
#5 Posted : 05 October 2019 12:09:03(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Margaret, I think that it's probable that those most likely to seek ergonomics help are also those watching the Brexit process most closely. All those manufacturers where almost everything is done automatically, but with a few tasks still requiring human intervention, usually on a very repetitive basis.

May be time to target sectors where there is less automation, such as major contractors in construction?

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MargaretHanson on 07/10/2019(UTC)
MargaretHanson  
#6 Posted : 07 October 2019 08:36:43(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
MargaretHanson

Thanks Peter, that's helpful to hear, and thanks for your advice. 

CEGraham  
#7 Posted : 08 October 2019 09:36:28(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CEGraham

Hi Margaret, I have found a lull in my consultancy work since the end of the summer - the first quiet period for over a year.  Brexit has also crossed my mind. I am using this time to have some well needed down time but also by coincidence have engaged with a business coach to help me with growth.  Whereas previously I had no time to work on my business - this current period enables me to have a day a week enabling me to do just that.  Happy to chat if you want to share ideas. Caroline

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MargaretHanson on 08/10/2019(UTC)
MargaretHanson  
#8 Posted : 08 October 2019 14:58:05(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
MargaretHanson

Thanks Caroline, that's helpful to hear the reality for others too. Would love to chat more, thanks for the offer. I'll connect with you outside this forum. Thanks again. 

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CEGraham on 08/10/2019(UTC)
CEGraham  
#9 Posted : 08 October 2019 15:03:59(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CEGraham

Look forward to connecting.

JohnW  
#10 Posted : 10 October 2019 12:50:54(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
JohnW

Margaret, I could have posted the same message as you have! My work level has really dropped this tax year, projected income looks to be about £10k. The only other year it did that was 2009. Usually my income is over £20k. I’m ok working a 3 day week max as I am an OAP with a company pension, but £10k is a bit worrying. This week I have worked just a half day. The reasons for downturn are likely all those you listed, but I do have a very locally visible website which has got me 90% of my work in the past. My clients are mainly engineering and chemicals.
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MargaretHanson on 11/10/2019(UTC)
MargaretHanson  
#11 Posted : 11 October 2019 13:10:41(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
MargaretHanson

Thank John, that's helpful (though concerning) to hear. I guess a lot of business is holding it's breath to see what unfolds in the next few weeks / months. And I think we can expect a hit to our businesses due to the number of larger businesses who have already relocated or are in the process of it. It's a worrying time for many.... 

andybz  
#12 Posted : 11 October 2019 17:17:34(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
andybz

Consultancy always ebbs and flows. It is not always easy to identify the reason and I think us freelancers work on a different cycle to the large companies. If you are having to limit your geographical area due to family you are more exposed to random variations.

I personally am as busy as ever. But it does seem to be jumping between the extremes (all or nothing) a bit more than in the past.

You have two options. Step up your marketting or be confident it will pick up and enjoy the quiet time.

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MargaretHanson on 12/10/2019(UTC)
stevedm  
#13 Posted : 15 October 2019 10:57:25(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
stevedm

I agree with Andy if you are in consultancy you have to have the feast or famine philosophy about how you work...Brexit has seriously affected my work in Europe (although still enough to be good) and it has affected the price of UK specific work...the secret I guess is not to put your eggs in one basket...I currently have 4 separate contracts on the go notwithstanding my NHS work...only 2 of which are my core work (Process Safety) the two others are in Security which seems to be paying more than any EHS role at present...even at the basic auditor level...

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MargaretHanson on 15/10/2019(UTC)
Mark-W  
#14 Posted : 17 October 2019 09:44:22(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Mark-W

My workload dropped off 4 yrs ago so had to get a PAYE job with a chairity. That lasted 3 yrs and then made redundant. It hurt at the time but it has given me a new lease of life. Where the charity paid peanuts, I now have clients that pay between them, 4X the money of the charity and I work less hours than I had to at the charity so it has worked for me. But I don't have the comfort blanket of the regular money coming in every month.

I've now had another couple of contracts fall my way and I'm having to work a 4 day week now. I'll never go back to a full week. After my stroke I just get to tired and I won't put myself in a position that will harm my health.

But where as my clients were all within 1hr before, I now find I have a couple of clients who are between 2& 3 hrs away. So I have to hotel it when I see them. So it's not all a bed of roses but we roll with with it and it gives me a decent lifestyle.

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