As a consultant/freelancer, money can come and go. Clients can decide to not renew a contract. Budgets can change, or a pandemic can happen! Consistency is just so hard, and your market can really be unpredictable. That’s why it’s important to find you a contract that will allow you to do your work and maintain the standard of living that you had with your 9-5...at least for a set period of time.
The answer to consistency is an anchor contract.
Do you know what this is? An anchor contract is one in which the client’s work pays every single one of your bills. It is the one that you are going to want to keep. It usually the one where the pay is continuous and the deliverables are clear. An anchor contract allows me to explore so many other opportunities. It helps me build a baseline for what I can charge others. AND It allows me to experiment with new things because the funding is set.
An anchor contract is like gold in the consulting world. I’m so grateful because one of my contracts, which started out at 20k has now tripled. And has become that anchor contract that allows me to push my boundaries and limits in so many other ways.
How to land one
People ask me a lot of how questions. And the answer to me is clear: You need some good relationships. Yea, you can have a good proposal. Yea, you can have all of the talents in the world, but I hate to break it to you, securing that bill-paying contract requires a solid network. Who trusts you enough to pay you the amount that covers your bills?
Solid Past Deliverables
I also think it requires past deliverables. People want to know what you have done to pay you whatever amount that honestly they could be paying someone full-time. How can you show the success of your past work? Solidly communicate that, and the contract of your choice isn’t far away.
Your own value add:
This one isn’t rocket science. There has to be some secret sauce that you bring to the table that sets you apart from others. There has to be. What is it? What makes people say, I don’t know what I need, but I’m confident this particular person can do it. Now sometimes, of course, this requires some level of customization, but when you are clear on your monetary goals, and what you bring to the table, you will charge the rate that factors in all of those things and gets you that solid anchor contract. What is the thing that people know that they are going to get with you?! Once you figure that out, you can begin writing it into proposals, testing it out with clients, and charging for it. I have a few things that comprise my secret sauce, and it has gotten me to the point where word of mouth is my business. All of the current contracts I have, I’ve never had to apply for.
Identifying an anchor contract
It should cover your owner's pay: For me, my anchor contract pays nearly 90% of the yearly salary I had before I became a consultant. Again, it is the one that pays the bills. Any technology for my business, my assistant, and my own pay all come out of the one anchor contract. Assess whether the contract can cover the items that you need to run your business as well as your required pay.
It is regular: It is consistent. The anchor contract pays you regularly for a period of time. It is usually is a multi-year contract. It is the pay that you can depend on.
Most of your time will be spent on this client: Lastly, it will probably be the one that monopolizes all of your time. Most of the time, that bill-paying contract will take up many of your available hours. It also might not be the one that you charge your highest rate. You learn a lot through your anchor contract, and there are some exchanges that I make because it is income for my business that I can depend on.
Now, I know you can get an anchor contract. I know you can. And if you are ready, propose that. If you need help thinking about any of this, check out my consultants’ bundle. There’s a proposal outline in the scope of work toolkit, there a rate calculator that can help you get real serious on those monetary goals...and a number of other items to continue your consulting journey!! Get it here while it’s only $47 until November 1st!