The Upside

Age Can Be Your Competitive Advantage

There are so many reasons why I love consulting as a business model. But one of my all-time favorites is that it’s one of the only industries where being older works in your favor.

That’s right:

Age is your competitive advantage as a consultant. 

Wrinkles, gray hair and glasses tell your potential clients:

You’ve been around the block.

You’re decisive when faced with hard choices.

You already know what will work and what won’t.

Complex problems won’t faze or stump you.

You have access to a treasure trove of resources.

You come from a generation of unentitled doers.

You have a thick Rolodex* of valuable contacts.

*See how I aged myself there? 😉

So many people are groomed by the corporate world to feel “put out to pasture” by a certain age…

…so much so, that we start to actually believe the manure we’re fed.

But when it comes to running your own consultancy, time is on your side.

I’ll give you a parallel example from a different industry. 

If you needed knee replacement surgery, who would you trust more: the baby-face doctor who’s been practicing on their own for one year or the doctor with a head full of grays and who has performed 5,000 surgeries just like yours?

Yes, as an older 40, 50, 60+ year old consultant, you’re more expensive than a young freelancer. 

But the right clients will be eager, willing and excited to work with you (even at your high rates) because you’ve EARNED it with your:

E – Experience

A – Access

R – Relationships

N – Niche & know-how

E – Efficiency

D – Decisiveness

And if they push back on your high rates, here are two responses you can make your own:

“If after working with someone lower budget you find that you aren’t getting the quality or results you wanted, I’d love to open up the conversation again. Let’s keep the door open and stay in touch!”

-or-

“It sounds like you’re looking for someone very junior. Would you like me to put my feelers out to some part-time freelancers or recent college grads who could be a better fit?” 

What used to be a disadvantage is now your advantage. Own it!

Erin Halper

About the Author

Erin Halper is the founder and CEO of The Upside and the leading authority on independent consulting. Since launching The Upside in 2017, Erin has helped thousands of professionals transition from corporate life into consulting to achieve flexibility, autonomy, and a renewed sense of purpose in their careers.

Erin has been a frequent speaker at Columbia, NYU, Harvard, and Brown and has been featured as a leading future of work expert on dozens of podcasts as well as in Forbes, Business Insider, Nasdaq, Crunchbase and many more.

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