How to start your project management consulting career

by Elise Stevens | Futureproof Your Career Podcast

Lots of project managers come to Laura Dallas Burford asking how they can become a consultant – but many can’t tell her why they want to.

As Laura tells Elise Stevens in this podcast, it’s the first, and most important, question project managers need to answer before they try to build their own consulting careers.

If you’ve been considering starting your own consulting practise but don’t know where to start – or perhaps you’ve had a few jobs but now work is drying up – Laura Burford can help.

She specialises in helping internal project managers become independent consultants with her Consultant’s Model which integrates seven key knowledge areas: Focus, Ideal Client, Brand Message, Service Offering, Awareness, Engage, and Deliver.

Going back to basics, Laura says, is the key to building a successful consulting career.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • Many project managers decide to become independent consultants without taking time to figure out the basics – such as what kind of consultant they want to be.
  • Project managers already have a lot of skills that make them great consultants, including negotiation, conflict resolution, and time management skills.
  • On top of those skills, it’s important to think about what unique expertise you can offer as a consultant.
  • Consulting is all about maintaining relationships to ensure you’re front of your clients’ minds when they have a problem.
  • Some project managers can find it difficult to maintain relationships outside of a corporate or organisation environment.
  • Networking can be challenging as a business owner, but it’s crucial to success as a consultant.
  • It’s okay to change your business over time, and important to reflect and adjust often.

About Laura Dallas Burford:

Laura Dallas Burford has more than 30 years of management consulting experience. She helps consultants and business leaders improve their consulting businesses with The Consultant’s Model. The model integrates seven key knowledge areas resulting in building relationships with clients and successfully delivering engagements. The model is supported by her signature system, the Consultant’s Jumpstart Blueprint, and online courses.

Laura offers consulting and project management seminars, writes a blog, is a frequent public speaker, and writes for trade magazines including She is the author of Project Management for Flat Organizations, one of ten 2013 Small Business Book Awards winners. You can contact Laura on LinkedIn