A FEW OF TITILAYO'S PAST CLIENTS AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS INCLUDE:
Why you need the skills to build a freelance consulting business (even if you love your job).
BY TITILAYO TINUBU ALI
Founder, Own Your Expertise LLC
You're your employer's secret weapon.
Hard worker. A-player. The go-to person when it's time to execute with excellence. You could teach a masterclass on showing up for others.
Everyone loves this about you.
But being a high-performing professional woman has a shadow side to it that you know too well.
You feel overworked but underutilized. You find yourself doing the job of three people with the salary of one.
And while it feels tough to admit it, you see your worth primarily in relation to supporting the work of others and can't grasp how valuable you are on your own.
And my bet is that you endure all of this while working against the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) undercurrent of "you don't belong here."
Here's the thing...
When you only see your value within the context of supporting others' visions and you don't have a clear grasp of your inherent value, you'll default to actions that are diametrically opposed to self-preservation, self-love and self-care.
Too many high-achieving women are stuck in a web of playing small under the guise of hustling hard.
It's time to interrupt these patterns of shrinking back, unlearn the practices that have put a cap on your potential, and adopt new skills to rise to your role as CEO of your career and life.
Hi, I'm Titilayo, founder of Own Your Expertise LLC, a business training, development and advisory firm that helps women turn their skills into consulting opportunities.
My Own Your Expertise™ training method is grounded in leadership psychology and my fifteen years of experience as an independent consultant, attorney, coach, writer and policy analyst.
I'm on a mission to give women the tools to generate freelance consulting work so that they can increase their earning potential, expand their career options, and know that they have the skills to fly solo whenever they want to or need to.
According to a 2016 Forbes article, freelancers and consultants now make up 35% of the U.S. workforce and collectively earned $1 trillion in the past year. Upwork and Freelancers Union recently released its annual study, “Freelancing in America: 2017” (FIA), which estimates that at the current rate of growth freelancers will become the U.S. workforce majority within a decade.
Women are choosing to take on consulting for a variety of reasons—to have greater location flexibility, to have more control of their schedules and to increase their earning potential. On average, freelancers make more than their in-house counterparts, and this earning potential is especially crucial for women as they are more likely to be the primary caregivers in a family, and they are increasingly becoming primary breadwinners.
But when you're first exploring consulting, it can be hard to know where to start.
Do I need a website?
How will I find clients?
What should I charge?
What services should I offer?
Will I be able to make enough money?
Am I expert enough to charge for my services?
It's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the moving parts and quit before you even get started.
In this Complete Guide to Starting a Consulting Business, I lay out a step-by-step checklist for the major components of launching and my suggested sequence for tackling each task.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN FREELANCE CONSULTING, BUT OVERWHELMED by trying to sort through WHICH STEPS TO TAKE FIRST?
Enter your name and email address below to download my step-by-step guide and checklist for getting your first consulting client.
I believe that self-employment is a survival skill that should be in every woman's toolbox.
Whether you love your job, want the option to leave your job, or are forced to leave your job, having the business and marketing skills to fly solo gives you options.
And this isn't just about work.
Owning your expertise is personal. Conquering self-doubt and getting comfortable with communicating your skills to clients has a spillover effect on your relationships, health and finances. Knowing your worth and unapologetically showing up starts with your career, and then it becomes your method of operation in more and more areas of your life.
Owning your expertise is political. It gives you the option of leaning out of a system that was not designed for you to thrive, opting out of career paradigms that are riddled with inequalities, and leaning into a career of your own making.
Owning your expertise is financial. The majority of full-time freelancers are women, and in most countries freelancers earn more the full-time workers. Women are more likely to be the primary caregivers in a family, and they are increasingly becoming primary breadwinners.
This caregiving doesn’t just extend to children--according to the National Center on Caregiving, “women provide the majority of informal care to spouses, parents, parents-in-law, friends and neighbors, and they play many roles while caregiving—hands-on health provider, care manager, friend, companion, surrogate decision-maker and advocate.”
When we work and earn on our own terms, we have the potential to make more which makes us able to do more for ourselves, our families and our communities.
Owning your expertise is powerful. Women who work for themselves are often better positioned to champion diversity, whereas doing so within existing organizational structures often carries a hidden penalty. For women of color, especially, the emotional labor of championing diversity in the workplace can actually take a professional toll and has even been shown to carry a professional stigma:
A recent Harvard Business Review study found that women and nonwhite executives who promoted diversity in the workplace received lower competence and performance ratings by their bosses than their female and nonwhite counterparts who did not actively promote diversity.
When you work for yourself, you have the option of subcontracting or hiring consultants and employees in a way that matches your commitments to equity and doesn’t undercut your potential for career progression.
Owning your expertise is inspirational. Visibly leveling up your career can be an act of service that calls out the greatness in others. As Marianne Williamson says, "When we shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Owning your expertise is radical. Many of us face systems that have historically owned our expertise, both figuratively and literally. To take a stand and own your expertise against this historical backdrop and the ongoing constructs that perpetuate inequality is a radical act and an act of self-care. As the inimitable Audre Lorde famously said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Getting to a place where you're comfortable, confident and competent enough to step out on your own is a journey.
I've been there, and I'm here to help you every step of the way.
I'm glad you're here and look forward to connecting with you. Now let's get on with expanding your options, increasing your earning potential, and leaning your ladder up against a wall worth climbing.
Titilayo is a walking breathing wealth of professional knowledge.
Due to her vast and rich experience, she has so much insight to offer on techniques, tactics and behaviors that can create the reality I know or don't know I am looking for. She helps me dig deep and discover my true what and why.