What I learned working at a consulting firm

A couple of years ago I worked at an operational efficiency consulting firm. It was a fast-growing boutique firm that focused on three verticals. I was hired to build the brand and develop some foundational pieces for the firm as it continued to grow. I wasn’t just the Marketing Manager there, I was THE marketing department. Being the sole marketing professional in the firm, I had to be assertive, nimble and focused. I was the content writer, graphic designer, data scientist, web developer and social media strategist all in one.

For those who’ve worked at a consulting firm, you’re familiar with the work environment. It’s grueling. There are tight deadlines, high expectations and there’s not much room to fail. Excellence is expected. It’s not for the faint of heart but it was one of the best places to learn and thrive. I attribute a lot of my discipline to this experience. Here’s what I learned:

  • Always ensure your documents are client ready: when working on projects, regardless of the stage you are in ensure your material is client ready. Even draft mode means making it look professional and polished, no spelling or grammar errors and full coherent sentences. If you have the discipline to create a quality document from the get-go it’s easier to complete them and you don’t have to create two separate documents (one internal and another external). Develop one document which is a strong and worthy piece for both audiences.
  • Always work efficiently and seek constant improvement: Working for an operational efficiency firm it was imperative we were efficient regardless if you were a consultant or a marketer. A scaling, high growth firm moves by the minute. It was important to fail quickly and learn from those mistakes even quicker. Standardization was critical. Once a best practice was established, set a template and replicate it. If it’s working, don’t reinvent the wheel. It was also important post-project to reflect on the results and determine how to improve for next time and document it.

Every job and every life experience brings so many incredible lessons. We have to be open to seeing them. I encourage everyone to take a chance and work for a smaller firm that might not have all the processes or personnel in place. What you learn from this experience is invaluable.

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