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  • Writer's pictureSusan Tatum

Getting Started in Consulting



What are the most important things to keep in mind when you are starting a consulting business? Ariana Cofone shares her entrance into the consulting field, how she did it, and her advice for other new consultants.


Notes from the Show

If you experienced a major shift in work during the pandemic that had you questioning everything about your current job, you’re not unlike Ariana Cofone. This is when she knew she had to go out on her own and was led to become a consultant.


Ariana shares her journey and advice for new consultants. When she got started, she identified three major priorities.

  1. Clients – Find your client, get started on a project, and bring in some money.

  2. LinkedIn and Website — Create a place for future clients to find you and reach you.

  3. Networking – Just start talking to people.

Other notable tips include finding an accountability partner. Not sure who to trust right out of the gate? Lean on the people in your circle to direct you. But sometimes your circle needs to get bigger, so listen to your gut, allow your feelings to tell you what's right, and allow your brain to tell you what to do next.


Ariana has such plentiful and incredibly helpful knowledge to share when it comes to starting as a consultant. She offers listeners of the show her personal advice when you reach her via email or LinkedIn.


What's Inside:

  • What to do when you’re getting started as a consultant?

  • How to examine and reexamine your priorities?

  • Who do you trust for guidance when you’re just getting started?

  • How to use networking in building your business?

  • Breaking through the fear and discomfort in your business.

  • Advice for new consultants.


Mentioned in this Episode:


Transcribed by AI Susan Tatum 0:36

Welcome back, everyone. Today, my guest is Ariana Cofone, who is a fractional Chief Operating Officer and the founder of Arianna Cofone consulting. She's also the host of The Secret ops podcast. And we've got a lot of really good stuff to talk about today. So welcome, Ariana. It's nice to have you here.


Ariana Cofone 0:56

Susan, thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.


Susan Tatum 1:00

So we've you've been you've had your business for a little over a year now. Right? And before we get into like talking about all these deep questions that we're going to talk about, what tell us the story about how you got into having your own consulting business?


Ariana Cofone 1:15

It's a great question. And it was completely by accident. Actually, I had found myself over 2020 and 2021, as the VP of Operations for a technology education business. And as you can imagine, going from completely in person workshops to what life became after COVID was a very stressful age. And the two years were just really intense trying to pivot the business and figure out how to get operation spun off. And it was just a really, really crazy two years. So I went into 2022, just wanting to take some time off to decompress, play video games, do puzzles organized a little bit. And a few months in, I made the realization that I couldn't go back and work for a company, I just didn't have it in me to work for someone else. I really wanted to work for myself. And when I approached my husband, and I said, you know, this is what I want to do. He said, are you What do you want to do it? And that became the journey of how do I figure out what I should be consulting in, which is the beginning of this whole past year?


Susan Tatum 2:16

So did you how did you realize that you didn't want to go back to work for somebody else.


Ariana Cofone 2:23

It was a feeling before it became a thought emotionally just felt a weight on my shoulders, thinking about applying for a job and working for another company, I really don't really know how to describe it. It was like a weight on my chest. I just I couldn't stomach the idea of doing that. Not that it's a bad thing. But I just for myself, I I couldn't do that again. And it didn't really make sense to me until I started to talk to my husband about it. And people around me were I was trying to figure out this emotion and what was actually the thought process behind it. And the thought process was, I really want to build something for myself. And I want to start focusing my energy on building something for someone else. So let me give it a shot.


Susan Tatum 3:05

Yeah. So you know, I, I've heard people say that they would like break out in a sweat at the thought of an interview. And it wasn't like nervous that they weren't going to succeed. It's just like, I don't want to be doing this. Or they felt relief when they didn't get a job that they had been interviewing for. There was just all these little signs that warning warning,


Ariana Cofone 3:27

you have these plans in your head, right, I'll take three months off, I'll plan for this. I'll get back we'll work full time with a job. It'll be great that the da da da plans never work out, for the most part. So that was a thing of the moment and the emotional, physical reaction. I mean, just to be honest, I started crying just at the idea of doing that. In my body. I had shown what I needed before I knew what I needed mentally.


Susan Tatum 3:52

So now having made it through your first year, plus some months, and you look back on it, what would you say? What do you think the biggest mistake you did? Or opportunity that you missed? Or what something that went wrong?


Ariana Cofone 4:07

That is a great question. Many things float to mind. I bui conversations before. The first year, I approached it with the mentality of let's throw everything at the wall. And let's see what sticks. And inevitably in that approach is going to be rough at times. So I said yes to all client opportunities. I said yes to very little pay. And I just said yes to trying this thing. And I don't want to say that was a mistake, because I don't think it was it was right for me. What I will say in retrospect is that would not be the right path for other people where I learned that by doing I learned best by trying tactile, you know, visual learner. That's kind of my style. I could see people that tried to do that that weren't that wasn't right for them feeling a level of failure that would stop them from continuing on. So I just like, you know, pulled pulled the wool out from my eyes try this thing jumped in. And that was, I don't know, it's hard. It's not a mistake, everything happens for a reason. But it was it. I definitely took the hard route. And building what I built


Susan Tatum 5:15

was so what did you do you? How did you these jobs or or projects that you took? How did those come to you?


Ariana Cofone 5:23

Luckily, referrals. So the first thing I did was I reached out to my whole network and just said, Hey, I'm doing this thing. Do you have any advice or thoughts about this, and became a sponge of information of other people who had been freelance or had done it for a year who had done it for maybe a year and came back to it? It was just a information gathering, but it was also putting out the energy, hey, I'm looking for things if you know of anybody, please let me know. And my first client, actually, it was another fellow operations consultant. And she was absolutely lovely. And I redid her website for her. And that was my first official project and a consultant on my own. And obviously, I don't do that now. But that literally is where I started my journey, just saying yes to everything and talking to everyone.


Susan Tatum 6:09

Yeah. So. So you you did it sounds like you didn't have a definite idea of what it was that you're going to be consulting on.


Ariana Cofone 6:18

Not initially, because it you know, the most obvious things you miss, right? It's like the things that are right in front of your face that could smack you upside the head for some reason, you just don't see them. I had thought about being a digital organizer, I thought about being a professional organizer coming to people's homes. And I started to send my website, my draft website out to friends and family and people that knew me getting feedback, again, feedback before I launched it. And my neighbor, Naomi, she said, You're not you have a ton of operations experience. Why aren't you doing that? You know, and if I look back at my career, a decade after having, you know, that many years of experience, you think that that would be what I would go for, but I didn't have the confidence that I could do it. So it wasn't an option until somebody said it was for me.


Susan Tatum 7:03

Oh, interesting. Okay. All right.


Ariana Cofone 7:05

Yeah. Just to flip the script a little bit, you've been doing this much longer than I am learning a ton from you. In, if you can rewind your brain back to that first year, what was a mistake that that you would point out? And maybe do differently? If you were to do the path over again? Or do you have any?


Susan Tatum 7:23

That's a that's a difficult question for me to answer because it was such a different world, then. I mean, I know what I would do now. I can't go back and say exactly what I did wrong, I did take what came along, but it was much more difficult than to, to really just network with people, than what you can do now the know, with the digital world such that it is I do, I talk to a lot of consultants, new consultants, you know, like last year, I talked to 147 of them or over the past year, what I see is the biggest mistake in my, in my opinion, and you mentioned a little bit of it, you mentioned a website, I see people that are they want to get everything perfect first, So they work on their websites, or they they spend all this time getting a contract put together, and they got no business. So you know, and that and that. And now, you know, it seems obvious, we can laugh at it. But it you know, and I think that I was probably guilty of this when I when I started my business because I had a book that a guy called Alan Weiss wrote, and he became my business coach for a while. And it was these are the things that you have to do. And these are the order that you have to do the man and you've got to have all this stuff in place first. I don't think our world is like that anymore. I think the approach that you took where you said, I'm just have conversations with people. And maybe it was completely accidental that you are not accidental. But it may have been a blessing in disguise that you didn't know what you wanted to do didn't even think you knew what you wanted to do. So you were wide open to these, these opportunities in all of the all of the consultants that I talked to and myself as well, I can't give you a single example of someone that opened a business saying this is what I'm gonna do. And this is who I'm going to do it for. This is who I'm going to serve. And that turned out to be exactly what they did. So everybody changes, and which is not to say you shouldn't have a website, but it is to say you shouldn't spend so much time putting marketing together and we're in or just posting on LinkedIn or something and waiting for people to come to you. It's the time to be out talking to people. And I find that people are so open to talking to someone that you know, that approaches them saying, Here's what I think the problem is that I can help or here's what I'm trying to do and people just want to help. So that


Ariana Cofone 9:58

definitely


Susan Tatum 9:58

that is a very long way of saying that. I think the biggest mistake that I I see is kind of thinking that you know exactly what you need and what other people need. And sitting in an at a computer and getting every everything all perfect before you start having conversations and and focusing on clients.


Ariana Cofone 10:14

That is a recipe, I think for disaster, and I totally fell into that pit. And luckily, I have a partner who forced me out of my comfort zone, he would say alright, send that to seven people now get their feedback schedule at least 10 calls this week, right. And that that was such a mental blocker for me too, right? Because you do want to have something perfect because it feels like you're showing the world a new you. But you changes every day, every every bullet, you change. And now with all the tools that you're at your disposal, you can make changes all the time, it's not set in stone. That's the advantage that we have now that maybe was different when you initially started. I feel like I only know when an awesome thing right to get access to it.


Susan Tatum 10:57

So I go back to the days when you had to print a brochure. Not that I was necessarily doing consulting then, but I was doing marketing then. So then well, you know, one question want to ask you about what you said you refered to that you had this partner is that your husband that you were talking about that lead you down the right way?


Ariana Cofone 11:14

Yeah, my husband Joey, I really could not have done my life, let alone this last year without him.


Susan Tatum 11:20

Is he? Does he have experience in consulting?


Ariana Cofone 11:25

Yes. So he in his 20s did consulting as a designer as a graphic designer. And then he's, he owns his own business Baronfig and wrote a book the laws of creativity. And it's just like a crazy, awesome creative entrepreneur, founder. Awesome person. So you


Susan Tatum 11:39

Yeah, you lucked into a really good resource there. So and that kind of that leads me into we were talking about where you enlightened, we were talking about the challenges and the biggest challenges. And in the one of our first conversations that we had you enlightened can be as to what it feels like to have this firehose of information and options when you're first starting out. So to, let's let's share with the listeners what that felt like. They probably know.


Ariana Cofone 12:11

I mean, paralyzing that the thing that is the challenge now is not getting access to information or resources. It's which one is you should spend your time doing, and where you should spend your efforts and whom you should actually listen to. For me, I luckily had a an amazing sounding board to cut through the noise to stop the noise, right? I had a person that was constantly calling BS on certain things and directing me in the right way. But if you just even just got on the YouTube Rogal, you know, when I start a consulting business, oh, my god, greeting begin, like, how do you even start, and then once you realize you want to start consulting, there's all these different parts of being a consultant, the business side, starting an LLC, developing that, then there's the sales side, lead generation, then there's your products and services, then there's the, you know, the more admin side, and the list just goes on and on in every segment of what you're doing, as a rabbit hole of information. If I didn't have somebody to keep bringing my attention back to what mattered, I would have been lost, I think for a lot longer than I was,


Susan Tatum 13:21

where would you if, Where do you think you would have gone? If you didn't have that? I mean, what would you have looked for some help somehow? How? Because I get asked, How do you know who's just full of it? And who could really help me?


Ariana Cofone 13:33

Well, I would say in those conversations, when you're starting in just talking to everybody and anybody, this is a question you should ask them like this is when we first talked, that was a question I asked you, and you helped direct me to a great coach that could direct where I'm at in my development. And I think that you have to lean on the people in your, your circle, you direct you. And sometimes your circle has to get bigger because you don't have the right people to tell you what you need. So like, for example, I had a lot of people in education, and they are amazing. But starting a consulting business, they didn't know much about that, right? So I really lean on them for that part of it. And I had to expand my network and I had to be uncomfortable with emailing people cold and asking if I could hop on a call. My first one I was such an awkward turtle about it, you know, like, Oh, God, this is so uncomfortable. But they were incredibly nice and so informative. And people that I now just constantly communicate with and temperature check these things with was signed, as well. We met through one of these initial conversations. Do you find that that is a good way of approaching it?


Susan Tatum 14:37

I think it's the best way of approaching at them and I I mean, I can't and this is a little bit of a I've sort of changed this way of my thinking in the last year or two where I'm just all about go have the conversations don't do anything. Don't Don't you There's pretty much nothing you need but a phone and a computer to start in a in a LinkedIn profile. If you're business to business, and that, then that will get you started having the conversations. And yeah, you got to trust your gut to trust your gut. And I think, I think you had also mentioned, everybody has their own path, there's not any one answer. So you kind of have to do what feels right for you.


Ariana Cofone 15:19

Yeah. And I, you know, I'm hesitant, because it's a little hippie dippie of me to, like, say that. And I also want to be direct, you know, it's like, if people are listening to this, they're just starting with consulting, it's not necessarily helpful to say, you know, do what feels right to you. But I do think sometimes you just have to follow your gut. You're going to talk to people hop on a on a call that you don't know the person, and you get that that pit in your stomach that you know that something's a little off, listen to that, vice versa, you hop on a call with the person and you get those warm, fuzzy, awesome vibes, you can listen to that too. And you can, I think, direct where your efforts go based on again, like getting out there and talking to people. That's the first step. That's like the non optional step, you just go do that. But then once you start doing that, then you have to listen to where things might guide you. Like, for example, I have a lot of people that reach out to me about platform questions or operational questions, because they're building a product. And whatever happened was caught because I don't know them. They don't know me. And I have to determine how much time I've been willing to invest in that relationship or conversation or comfort or, you know, testing of a product. And that's what it comes down to with my gut, right? My brain tells me have that conversation. The second part is, what do I do next? After I get the feeling from that conversation? Does that make sense?


Susan Tatum 16:38

Yeah, it does. I think, yeah, it's in trust your instincts? Because even if it's a if it feels too good to be true, it probably is. And you do have the option for comparing a number of different people or a number of different stories, and not necessarily having having to trust the first thing that you hear about. But you do have to prioritize, because and then this is another question that that I hear a lot. And that's how do you balance everything? You've got all these? You mentioned, a business structure, the the operational aspects of it, how are you going to serve your clients? And then, you know, how are you going to get your clients


Ariana Cofone 17:19

and you focus on each of those things will shift during different moments in time, right? Like, you might start off with like a 50 50 split between two things. And then all of a sudden, within a couple of months, you're like split between eight things, and it's just not working? I don't know about you. For me, the priority initially was Let me lock in with clients. Let me get, let me get some work. Yeah, first thing, let me just prove that I'm not a complete fraud. And let me just make sure that people need the things that I think I can help with. For me, that was step one, once I got that in, and you're working on a project and you're working with a client, then that's when the plates really start to spin, you've got to, you've got to be working with your current client, you've got to be doing that work. But you also have to be doing the administrative side of things, you've got to have that LinkedIn nice and yummy. And you've got to have your website in a decent place that people can view you. There's those two things that I sort of focused on initially. The other main thing was continuing those conversations with people, I would say that the three things that I focused on initially, as far as the more formal business side of consulting, the LLC, the, you know, trademark, if you want to do that, whatever, that came later, once I proved that my assumptions were right, that people needed my kind of help that I could give.


Susan Tatum 18:40

I mean, I think you you've got that in the right order. I mean, you know, some people, some consultants come out of the corporate world, they kind of had a side gig, or they've been testing it on the side while they stopped while they still keep their jobs. So they've got a fairly, they've got a client, they've got a better idea, maybe of what they want to do, they still need to be having conversations, and they still need to be looking, filling that pipeline. I think there's, it's too easy for folks to say, to not pay attention to that to be like, oh, you know, and you mentioned, it's uncomfortable to reach out to people, you know, unless you're, unless you're a natural born salesperson. It's an uncomfortable thing to do. And so we do a lot of other things to stay busy, but it's not really was


Ariana Cofone 19:27

yes.


Susan Tatum 19:28

So we feel like we're content you were doing something. But I would say too, when people ask me about balancing, I think it's also you need to like do the minimum viable amount of things. You can you can't do everything you know, don't try to be have this big marketing program and this big elaborate website and be doing emailing and posting and, you know, you could you just you've got to pick like one thing, get it going, move on to the next one, and and put some systems in place so that when you get Busy with clients, you're still your your pipeline stuff is still going, and invoices are getting paid. And that sort of stuff is I mean,


Ariana Cofone 20:08

I think what's interesting, the word priority did not used to have a plural version of priority was just priority. And when you're doing a consulting business, you should have a priority that no matter what your week looks like, that's what you're trying to move the dial forward on that. But we fill our days with busy work wherever you fill our days with things that make us feel like we're doing actions, but it's just making us it's making us feel like we're doing something but doesn't mean we're moving forward. And that's I can, pointing at the priorities, the hardest thing, because in your first year of consulting, the priority each week could change. Sometimes it changes like halfway through the week, you know, you tackle the priority. And now you're on to another thing,


Susan Tatum 20:50

as I was going to ask you that, is it do you look at your priorities, like on a weekly basis, like this is the, if everything else falls apart, this is the one thing I'm gonna get done this week.


Ariana Cofone 20:59

It's always my goal. But my brain wants to do all the things, right. So my goal is always to have and read the book The one thing years ago. And the concept is, essentially, you get to where you want to go by compounding the one actions toward a single thing. So you know, if you want to build a business, what's the one thing you do today in this minute that contributes to that, like, what's the priority for this week that will contribute to that, and this is where it really helps me get the goal in mind of like, right, just get the one thing, inaction now I'm a hot mess, right? Like, I want to do this thing, I've got the creative mind, and I gotta go podcast, and I gotta do this. And so I have found I needed somebody to hold me accountable to the one thing, not only to do the one thing, but to articulated it and prioritize it. So I'm working with a coach now that I think the main thing I'm getting, there's so many things I'm getting with but the main thing is somebody is holding me accountable. And if I show up on a call on a Monday, and I'll have a look forward, I'm doing something wrong with my business and with my time. And that's, that's been the main, I would say, if I were to give anybody a tip of what you should do, is find somebody that can hold you accountable, whether that's a partner, a friend, what I call an accountability buddy, somebody that's going, you're gonna say, I'm gonna get books delivered in a week, and they're gonna hold you to it, they're gonna email you in a week, they're gonna text you in a week, and you're gonna have to navigate that and have that boundary there.


Susan Tatum 22:29

That's really critically important. I see that with, especially with consultants that come out of the corporate world, because they're used to having this structure, you know, and I did my time in the corporate world, too. And you've got all kinds of times that you're supposed to be places and people, depending upon you, and people watching over you. And if you don't get it to the boss on time, you're not going to get the promotion and there's just it just, it just snowballs. So you've, you've, it's much easier to goof off when you're on your own than it is.


Ariana Cofone 23:03

Yeah, and also, you know, if you like to be creative, or for me, I love solving problems that will take me down rabbit holes that lead to nowhere, right? Like, I will just try and solve a problem that will live in a document for a decade. Right?


Susan Tatum 23:18

And no one looks at


Ariana Cofone 23:19

I just Yeah, yeah, that nobody looks that it's gonna be an operation version. Let me let me make a flowchart that no one will look like. That's how I like to spend my time. Right. So it's happening, somebody that will lovingly challenge you, and will help you see where you may be off course. Yeah, that's a big thing that has helped me.


Susan Tatum 23:36

So I guess one. One last thing before we, we could talk about this all day. But we'll have to, we'll have to do around two. We've mentioned we both mentioned the fear that the different kinds of fears that surfaced themselves, what to you and one that I run across the most and have felt in myself is just isn't there's kind of a fear of selling, there's kind of a fear of asking somebody to give you money. This is a bizarre thing, or for fear of conversation, talking to strangers or reaching out to them. What else did you feel with all of this, this onslaught, all of these options that you've had paths that you could take? You mentioned being paralyzed? talk a little bit more about that and how you got beyond that?


Ariana Cofone 24:23

Well, I found that when I went on my own consulting, I was presented with all of my bad habits, meaning I had trouble asking for help from people. I was always nervous approaching strangers again to ask for help. The common theme was I had trouble asking for help. That was just the main common theme that I so I did have so much fear in you know what people would think of me it on those initial calls, you know, would they think I was stupid for starting this consulting thing? Like, what would my friends think. I did have all those monkeys going in my brain that were helping No buddy. And again, I had a my partner Joey, he just said, every week, you got to hop on three calls, you got to talk to three people. And having that person pushing me to do the things that made me uncomfortable. You know, my favorite part of the week now is talking to people, I don't know, that is my favorite thing and then in a year, what a change because I was the first person to be like, not picking up a phone call, or this person is not returning a text. So that that was a big, I would say, for me, that was a big mental hurdle I had to overcome. And I think it was also the negative feelings I was talking about networking a sort of talked about. I think it's a weird and icky and gross and I didn't want people to feel like I was selling them or pitching them. Like that's not my style. It's not what I want to come across as really, though networking is just having conversations with people and learning from them, and nothing learning from you. And if it goes somewhere cool. And if it does it cool. That's taking that that the expectations and I think the emphasis on what networking should be, and just doing the thing over and over again until you are comfortable with it. You just meet wonderful people. I mean, that's how we met, right? I don't wouldn't have a path otherwise, unless you had just reached out to me. So that's, that's the future. That's Ariana version 2.0, is enjoying that.


Susan Tatum 26:18

I think there's there's also an aha, another aha moment that's tucked in there. Because you mentioned that you're a lot of a lot of your fear. And a lot of I think everyone's fear comes from what are people gonna think of me


Ariana Cofone 26:33

totally


Susan Tatum 26:34

and once we realize that people don't think of you people think of themselves. So


Ariana Cofone 26:37

No, nobody's thinking about you. straight up. And what is it that thing like what someone thinks about you is none of your business? Right? If that's, I always think about that in my head. Like, it's none of my business, what they think of me that it's so true. And it was something that I had to, I had to get through the fear and discomfort of it. Yeah, see how actually awesome it was and how great it was and how much value it brought to my life. And it's so funny, and just doing these calls and meeting people within, you know, different careers. My personal life is thriving, so much more too I'm having way more fun. And that's been an added bonus for yourself. What were some fears that you navigated, especially in those first couple years that you had to figure out how to get over through?


Susan Tatum 27:22

You know, I think it goes back to because I I'm basically introverted and a little bit shy, like I don't do well. I mean, I love having conversations like this. Starting a podcast is one of the best things ever did, because I get to talk to just the, the greatest people with with all of these great ideas. I think it was it was the fear and it's fear of calling attention to myself, right fear of asking a question in a group, any of that kind of thing. I still to this day struggle with the salesy saying, and because there's a little, there's a little bit of ego in there, where, where you're thinking, Well, I'm an expert, and I shouldn't have to ask for business, people should realize that I'm the best assist, and they should, like beg to work with me. The reality being that, no, you and I don't like I don't know, any consultants, I'm sure they're out there. But I don't know, any of the consultants that really fall into that icky thing, where you're gonna, you're gonna ram something down somebody's throat that they don't need, if the people that I run across, if you can't help somebody, if you're not the right fit for them, we're generally genuinely going to tell them that and maybe recommend somebody else that they can work with. So we are we are talking about how can I help you, but it's still an, I find it to be a really difficult thing to do.


Ariana Cofone 28:45

Just on that point, I find that I mean, maybe like 5% of my conversations with other consultants, that feeling achy feeling, that icky feeling actually comes from people trying to like sell a product or push a digital thing, or, you know, like, that's where I get more of that icky feeling. It's actually quite rare that I get it from consultants, because I think you're right, we know what we know, we know what we don't know, and how we can help you. And if we can't help you, most people genuinely want the best for the other person in that kind of scenario. So it's not it doesn't get that it doesn't get to that stage where you have somebody that same they can do something and they can't. But I do understand that some people have had those experiences, too. that's the majority of it.


Susan Tatum 29:26

Uh, well, I think that fear, you know, things have changed a lot. There was a there's a lot of people, there's a lot of bad consultants out there. And they're, you know, they're the they claim to do things that they can't do and then the client gets burned and then the client has less trust the next time around, and that just makes our jobs a little harder and having to build that that trust back.


Ariana Cofone 29:46

Definitely.


Susan Tatum 29:47

But you know, that's that, like you said, that's like the used car salesman that ruined it for everybody else kind of thing that you can't let that stop us. what recommendations


Ariana Cofone 29:58

to try and make a good name for us consultants.


Susan Tatum 30:00

And we want everybody that's listening to come along with us. What recommendations do you have for new clients


Ariana Cofone 30:07

or consultants, new consultant,


Susan Tatum 30:08

oh, I said clients didn't I


Ariana Cofone 30:11

I'll talk about clients all day long. For new consultants, number one, I would say just start talking to people about what you want to do, and talk to more people than you think you'd want to talk to. And every time make sure that you're writing down the things that that struck you, because you're going to want to remember those, I still have notes from the things that I talked to people about a year ago, and I'll reference them and I think about them and they did they motivate me through the times that I just thought I sucked. Really, you know, like, their, their words from experience just really helped to drive. Okay, this is normal, this is normal. This is not me, this is normal. So I would say just getting those conversation to this is more logistical. Get your LinkedIn spruced up, if you're doing a website, if even if you're technical, don't make your own website, just go to Squarespace or go to Wix, get something that looks professional, nice, just so you have a landing page for your own business. I mean, those are the the one two of how I would start. And then the third one, going back to the fear conversation, if you're afraid of something, you need to confront whatever that fear is. And most likely, once you confront the fear, that might be your favorite part, or the favorite thing that you do in the future. So, you know, sometimes your gut is going to tell you to avoid things, but sometimes it's just lying to you. And you've got so I would say, if you're fearful have somebody, Hey, is this something I should become freaked out about? And maybe ask the other person, hey, is this something I should be, should be freaked out about? And if it seems normal, and other people's views, give it a try, it's probably just in your head, and you need to get over it, so talk to people get your website LinkedIn unlock. And I would say lean towards your fears and Hawk others help you along the way.


Susan Tatum 31:56

I can't add a thing to that. That's that is I very much agree with that. I think you know, and it's, you know, kind of give other people a chance they do want to help you. So don't don't to, don't be afraid to reach out, just do it.


Ariana Cofone 32:11

Yeah, I would say most people, somebody helped them in their early years. And they want to give back lowest people I find, they're just excited to talk about the things that they learned. So give them the platform and learn from them, and then help the next person, right, just like keep passing it along. That generosity does come full circle.


Susan Tatum 32:29

So I think what we're saying here without actually saying it is if you're starting a consulting business, talk to other consultants that are maybe a year or two or you know, a little bit ahead of you to ask them questions, you know, find some consultants that let me look at what they're doing on LinkedIn, or whatever. And even if their competitors, they're not, I don't think anybody's going to refuse to talk to you and just ask questions,


Ariana Cofone 32:54

when you've got two people on this episode.


Susan Tatum 32:58

That's true.


Ariana Cofone 32:59

Susan, I know you're this way. I am this way. If you're listening to this, in you're starting consulting, please message me, I would love to talk to you. This is an open invitation to learn and to have a conversation. And so there you go, there's your accountability.


Susan Tatum 33:12

And there's our segue to the end of how do we how do we get in touch with you after the podcast?


Ariana Cofone 33:19

Yeah, so Linkedin is a great way. You can also check out my podcast, secret ops. I also have my website, Arianacofone.com Those three ways you can just get in touch with me on any of those platforms.


Susan Tatum 33:31

Okay, cool. We'll put those in the show notes. So thank you again for being here. That was a lot of fun


Ariana Cofone 33:37

It's a joy, Susan, you're awesome.


Susan Tatum 33:39

Thank you. You are so wonderful to share as much as you to share what you've been through. And I really, appreciate that, and I'm sure the listeners appreciate that too.


Ariana Cofone 33:49

And vice versa. Take care




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