Your first steps into a consultancy

Your first steps into a consultancy

Have you been approached by a Government Department, or an external organisation interested in your expertise? Have you heard of ANU colleagues submitting proposals to undertake consultancy work? You might be wondering How do I begin doing consultancy work? Here are a few first steps to get started on:

Understand the organisation’s needs and wants

Prior to commencing any consultancy work, it is important to understand what the organisation’s needs and wants are and if your expertise aligns. You can do this by reaching out to them directly via email or phone, following their online presence or through networking opportunities. The best way to gather this information is by listening carefully and asking lots of questions. People are often very happy to talk about the challenges they face. This will allow you to really find the connection between your research and their needs.

Prepare a CV and understand what you offer

When submitting a response for a consultancy opportunity, you will need to provide a concise, customised commercial CV that is specific to the opportunity. However, you don’t need to wait for an opportunity to arise before preparing your CV.  More than just the CV though you need to get a clear understanding of what you offer.  What skills and experience do you bring that is of particular value to others? Get a head-start by drafting a short CV that highlights your specialist expertise, qualifications, current position, relevant research grants and projects/work, and your top ten relevant publications. To learn more about commercial CVs, read our previous article: Does Your Commercial CV Pack a Two Page Punch?

Learn to cost your time

It’s crucial to understand your value and to be aware of the costs that you or the university would need to cover for you to undertake such work, such as insurances (workers compensation, public liability, professional indemnity, travel insurance), administration time, contract management, financial management, etc. Once you have a sense of the costs you need to cover you need to work out your price – how much to charge.  There is a number of ways to do this.  You can figure out a market rate for the type of work you are doing.  You can pick a rate that you feel makes it worth your while.  Or, if you can, you can pick a price that reflects the value that can provide to your client. Have a chat with your colleagues or the ANU Enterprise Business Development team to receive advice on how to properly price yourself.

For further information, contact our Business Development Team at

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