Something to Remember When You’re a Consultant

Something to Remember When You’re a Consultant

For the last 8 or so years I’ve traveled overseas or somewhere for my birthday (New Years Day).  I unwind and unplug and most important I avoid my emails! This year I was not able to do this and it brought back something I had forgotten about. The consultants holiday depression.

I’m writing this post not to vent, but to help other contractors cope with an unexpected seasonal depression that hits many of us. I’m going to share it from my personal experience.  If you have anything to add or coping mechanisms, feel free to leave a comment below. I’m leaving them turned on for a while.

I am very fortunate that I have incredible companies and brands I get to work with. I love each of them for different reasons. But being at home for this holiday season was a big reminder that I am in fact a consultant and I am not and will never be treated as an equal by some of my clients. Not all, but some.

As a consultant you are not entitled to benefits, gatherings, happy hours or any perks employees get. That includes birthday wishes, holiday party invites and participating in gift exchanges. This is totally fair because we are not required to work outside of our agreements whereas an employee is. That is the tradeoff.  It is what we all agree to.  But that is where the fine line that creates holiday depression for consultants comes into play.

As a consultant you are not entitled to benefits, gatherings, happy hours or any perks employees get.

The reason I travel overseas is that many times clients forget about my birthday and don’t invite me to their holiday happy hours. But when they need something they let me know they think of me as “part of the team” and act real nice so they get free work. Especially when it is work outside of our contract and they don’t want to pay for the time, skills or knowledge.

The issue is that when you or I do this work outside of our contract, the clients begin to expect this regularly.

This free work grows their business and enables our clients to provide more perks for their companies and their employees. The clients will also have more revenue from our free work so that they can hire more people. That is the issue.

That time you spend as a consultant doing free work outside of the scope of your work is time you could be making money. You could be learning new skills or simply having some down time to relax or workout. It is even worse when the client says something like “I think of you as part of the team” because when it comes time to being treated equal, you are always excluded.

It is a mental game they play with you, and many times it is not intentional and they are not aware of the negative effect it has on your mental state.

You’re giving away your skills for free because when clients need something you are “part of the team”.  But these same clients magically forget about you when all you really wanted was to actually feel like part of the team which is why you worked outside of your contract and for free.

A simple happy birthday, come join the happy hour or even a thank you for doing free work is all you really need mentally. At least that is for me.

Each year I leave for vacation because I always do work for clients outside of my scope and it hurts really bad mentally when the ones that get the most exclude me and forget about me.

You and I are expected to wish people happy birthday and congratulate employees on work anniversaries. As a consultant you’ll watch as others get well wishes while you’re left out on slack and in emails. Then there will be times you have to listen as the clients talk about the funny antics from holiday and team parties, while you patiently wait for the actual work conversation to start. Then they’ll try to say “we only talked work for 45 min so why are you billing us for the hour?”.

But again, you and I agreed to no perks and no invites because we are consultants and not employees. That is why it is very, very important to stick to your guns.

I am writing this post as a reminder that I will no longer being working for free for any client that does this to me. No more exceptions and no more justifying it to myself when I backtrack on this promise.

I am fortunate in that some of my clients really appreciate me.

One bought me and 5 friends dinner two years ago for my bday as a surprise. He and his wife were invited as guests, and he snuck the bill away quickly. It was totally unexpected.

Another client sent my cat an awesome series of gifts that arrived over multiple days as a fun way to celebrate my birthday week. One client simply sent me a text message to wish me a happy birthday.  Those small gestures make me feel like part of the team and appreciated, especially that text message.

If any of these clients ask me for a favor, you better believe I will be doing it for free and no questions asked because they did something simple to make me feel important vs. just being a consultant. They treated me with respect and like a person.

For the others I will be billing them for my time because this is a business transaction and nothing more. It is important that both you and I as consultants ensure that the relationship stays professional and we are properly compensated for our work. For clients that do not reward you or even say thank you, don’t do free work.

Being home this year ended up being bad for me mentally. But I’m fine now. It hurt really bad when two clients in particular asked for massive quantities of free work last year and one has already started again. Neither one said thank you for the extra work and neither one took the quick minute to wish me a happy birthday. Both clients knew it was my birthday and could have taken that one minute to say something. Instead they just started making demands again that are outside of my scope of work.

That is why this year I’ll be submitting a quote for the costs of additional projects instead of working for free.  I encourage you to do the same.

As consultants it is not our jobs to work for free, only what we’re contracted to do. For the clients that took that quick minute to wish me a happy birthday, or who do invite me to their company happy hours and fun activities, they’ll likely continue to get some free work. But this year I will stick to my guns with the clients that only consider me “part of the team” or “an extension of the team” when they need something. These clients will be required to pay for the additional work.

It might cost me the contract with one or two, but I’ll be able to replace them.  No client is worth that feeling again. It hurts bad.  If your clients treat you well, then yes do some things for free. But for the others, charge them. You are a contractor and should only be doing what is in your contract.

Thank you for listening and feel free to share your coping mechanisms or solutions below if you want.

Stay tuned because next week and the one after I’m going back to sharing strategies and have two case studies to share with you.  Happy new year everyone!!!

7 Things to Remember When Creating a Whiteboard Explainer Video

7 Things to Remember When Creating a Whiteboard Explainer Video

Whiteboard explainer videos are a great way to communicate with your target audience. You can use whiteboard videos to explain a process, illustrate a new product, and even give a step-by-step tutorial on how to do something.

Explainer videos are one of the best ways to sell a product. Statistics and studies on explainer videos show they are one of the most effective methods of reaching people and keeping their attention through your call-to-action.

Types of Explainer Videos

There are many types of explainer videos, but they all have one thing in common: they explain a product, a service, a process, or a brand in ways that are relevant to the customer. Usually, the customer is looking for a specific kind of information to help them understand something about a brand or process. They find the explainer video on YouTube or social media that helps them make sense of things. This gives them valuable information they can then use to do whatever it is they need to do.

Some of the major types of animated videos are character animations, 3D animation, and stop-motion video. These are the most common. Character animations focus on characters that go through the action of a script compellingly and interestingly to portray a position or process that viewers want to know. These types of videos can be quite effective if they are backed up by a compelling script.

3D animation is the newest type of animation for cartoons like you might see in a Pixar Studios video such as Toy Story, for example. These larger-than-life animations attempt to bridge the gap between the earlier 2D animated cartoons and the real-world environment so that they have a more realistic look. Stop-motion video uses a type of ‘one-frame-at-a-time’ process that creates animations from time-lapse frames. This is an old-fashioned type of animation but is still used today in some contexts.

Why Whiteboard Video is So Popular

Whiteboard video is one of the newest types of animation that has caught on with the corporate and business world because of it’s potential to increase sales. People are compelled to watch these types of videos because of the way it takes you through the process step-by-step with a drawing hand. It’s like watching an artist in real-time. Perhaps one of the appeals is also that it seems to mimic a teacher writing on a board in a classroom. This may have some psychological significance to people who remember learning this way while they were a youngster in school.

Psychological Research

There is also some psychological evidence that whiteboard videos and visuals keep the attention of the average person longer than other types of media. Not only is this being see across various markets and platforms, it’s likely also obvious when you come across a regular video and one that is an explainer video. There is just something about them that makes you want to keep on watching until the end.

If we take a look at some of the engagement stats from 2017, we will find that Facebook has found amazing success with the addition of video to their platform. Such stats include Facebook video being rated as the number one social channel for video, and Facebook video reach seeing more than 135% organic reach over photos alone.

Facebook isn’t the only one benefiting for visual and video marketing — as YouTube continues to see massive growth as well. The leading video platform is now reaching more 18+ year olds on mobile than any other cable TV network in the world today. You can see more of the latest video stats here, and how the future of the internet is clearly moving towards a visual and video standard.

Why do whiteboard videos work so well?

One of the main reasons whiteboard videos work so well for explainer videos is that the viewer follows the whiteboard as you “sketch out” or write the information and they feel as though they are looking at a “live” drawing that is unfolding before their eyes. Most importantly, they are more likely to follow your presentation to the end so that they hear or see your call-to-action and act on it.

7 Things to Remember When Creating a Whiteboard Video

If you want to create a stunning whiteboard video that your audience will connect with and remember, keep these seven things in mind before you start.

1. Find a reliable designer for your software solution to create whiteboards.

Most people don’t have the time to create their whiteboard video. While there are some online solutions that you can do yourself, it still takes time to put the animations and graphics together, add music, text, and titles, and render it to a final video that people will appreciate and respond to. One great solution is With this solution, you’ll be able to put in your order for a whiteboard video and have the professional team at Simple Show do it for you.

If you would like to try your luck at creating an explainer video on your own, while also saving some money in the process, they also have a self-serve solution at Again, there are no design skills or technical experience required. It’a all done through a simple drag and drop platform.

2. Focus on your primary message.

One of the problems that arise when creating a video explainer is that your message can be confusing to the viewer. You need to focus on the specific message that you want to communicate without complicating it for the viewer. You can do this by cutting out the clutter that might be inherent in your message and summarize your points in an organized way.

3. Make it entertaining.

One of the reasons people love to watch animated videos is that they are entertaining. The movement of the animation keeps the viewers’ attention while you explain the most important points of the product or company you are advertising. Even corporate executives prefer watching an animated or whiteboard video over a “talking head” or live action video due to the level of interest they have in this format. Most executives also report that they prefer animated or whiteboard video formats over text-based information.

Need an example of just how entertaining and attractive animation can be? Just take a look at one of Google’s daily creations of their name and logo in the art below.

4. Focus on the characters.

One of the main reasons people connect so easily to animated or whiteboard video is because the characters draw them into the action. People connect to the characters more than the action itself. Then the character takes them through the experience via their dialogue and action that they do in the video or movie. By creating interesting characters that people like and can relate to, you will be able to pull in your target audience and keep their interest through your entire message. Getting them to your call-to-action is the goal, and whiteboard animations can do this for your brand.

5. Write a great script.

Most whiteboard videos use a “drawing hand” to present your message, drawing pictures of things and objects that are relevant to your message. The script is important because it helps take the viewer from the introduction to the conclusion by drawing and narration. The narration is important because it is the audio part of the video that helps keep the attention of the viewer through the journey. Well-written scripts are critical to keeping their attention and focusing on the most important part of your message. If you don’t know where to start with a script, sketch out what you want to include in your script, then give your project to a professional whiteboard creator to put it together for you.

Explainer video scripts can be broken down into three parts like in the visual below. The beginning, middle, and end, will each play an important role in the progression of your storyline and video.

6. Use color and graphics to improve engagement.

You may not know this, but you can include color in your whiteboard videos. Many people think you can only create black and white images or videos. Depending on the software system you use, you can often color in the background or much of the whiteboard animation including scenery and objects. This may make the video more compelling for your viewers. Add graphics, titles, and narration also to draw in more views and engage your audience.

7. Focus on your call-to-action.

Your call-to-action (CTA) is the result of your work, and you should always focus on this as the most important aspect of your whiteboard presentation. Every frame counts, but ultimately, you need to keep the attention of your audience until you get them to the final frame where you present your call-to-action.

In the final CTA, you should include the following things:

  • Specific actions you are asking them to do
  • Link to click on to perform the action
  • Contact information
  • Website URL or landing page

The presentation itself should do the selling so don’t try to keep selling in the call-to-action. Think of this as the final part of your performance that you create to invite your viewers to action. If you have done an excellent job within the central part of your presentation, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting people to click on your CTA.

This is the goal of a whiteboard presentation if you are selling something. If you want people to subscribe to your newsletter to be reminded of upcoming offers or other things you are trying to promote, you can also include these in your call-to-action.

How to Get Started with Your First Whiteboard Explainer Video

When it comes to creating a professional and exciting whiteboard explainer video, one of the first things you will need to decide on, is if you want to create one on your own or outsource the process.

As mentioned earlier in the article, there are plenty of professional solutions out there to choose from, or even a few self-serve video creation tools that can be quite useful as well.

No matter what solution you go with, take a look at some of the example videos that can be found on each of these sites. Once you’ve made a decision on the best option for you and your brand, it’s then time to let the experts work their magic, or putting in the time and expertise to bring your idea and content to life.

Once you create a whiteboard video, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it a long time ago. Start creating compelling content for your target audience today.