One thing that Talmix independent consultant Richard Farmer will never do, is to stop learning. But why the relentless search for new knowledge and expertise? Well, to Richard, consulting isn’t only about getting something out for himself, but rather understanding how to consult better in order to serve his clients better.
And this search for knowledge and the development of Richard’s own skills is about even more. “As someone who works independently, it’s always been important to me to be able to ensure constant revenue streams. Yes, it’s lovely to have that one project that provides retainer-based work, but at some stage, that project too will come to an end. And that’s when you as a consultant need to be able to function on several different levels to ensure multiple revenue streams”, he says.
Having 7 years’ business experience in Canada, Richard was ready to build on the experience he’d already attained and completed his MBA at the University of Hong Kong. He knew that independent consulting was the career for him, and was looking forward to offering his clients something new. “I wanted to do things that would grow my own skills in order to offer my clients an all-round package of consulting services. Following my MBA, although I was recommended for a position with one of the top consultancies at the time, I chose to stay in Asia and develop my own independent consulting direction”. Richard started out by doing smaller-consulting projects in collaboration with the University and very quickly developed a succession of opportunities which saw him travel extensively throughout Asia.
But why this multiple-revenue stream model as an independent consultant? “I recognised that as an independent worker, it was important to future-proof my income. I needed to keep doing things that continually add value to what I can offer. All too often, I see people who just stick to doing one thing which they become wholly dependent on. It’s dangerous. It’s the kind of thing that people in the corporate world get used to. But we know that the corporate world is not risk-free, which is why the displacement of people is often catastrophic when changes occur and people who have worked in the same job for many years suddenly don’t have that source of income anymore and fatally, stale skills. They haven’t upgraded their skill set in years, for changes in the skills now in demand”, he adds. And that’s exactly why Richard decided to study for his US CPA designation - “You need to keep upgrading your skills if you intend to stay ahead of the competition or else you risk being filtered out completely”.