Whether you’re a contractor or an employee, your reputation for giving the best advice is everything as a consultant. And that means you have to be independent.
Being an independent consultant means offering your client (be they internal or external) your independent advice, and therefore being product/service/platform/company agnostic.
I have always done this throughout my career, and in fact it has been my main selling point (apart from my results) as a freelance consultant. I guarantee my clients that I have no affiliations, arrangements, or preferences regarding products, services, or companies. They can count on me to give them the best advice.
Why Wouldn’t You Be Independent?
So why wouldn’t every consultant do that all the time, I hear you ask? Well, in short, because in a competitive market, there is often pressure or external influence to align advice with a predetermined outcome.
There may be many reasons, like:
- You’ve been offered a “kick-back” on a certain product or service
- You/your employer will make more money by selecting a specific product or service
- You/your employer can extend a contract by selecting a specific product or service
It can be very tempting, but it’s not right, and it could cost you everything. Even as an employee, your employer may suffer some temporary loss, but your reputation will be damaged – possibly beyond repair.
What if your employer is pressuring you to go against what you think is best for a client? Refuse to do so, and walk away if you have to. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s just not worth it.
I’ve been offered many kick-backs and commissions in the past, and I declined every one, because just one could tarnish my reputation. And your reputation is precious. Like trust, it takes a long time to build, and only seconds/one bad decision to ruin.