TN79: How to grow a portable consulting business – Sonia Balcazar de Meza-Cuadra

One of the many ways of creating a business is to start consulting. In this episode, our guest Sonia Balcazar Meza-Cuadra shares her story and advice of starting and growing her portable consulting business.

“If you know you will be back home, build your expertise abroad for it”

Sonia comes from Peru and met her husband when she was studying economy. After they got married, they started traveling for his job. Their first assignment was to Paris, where Sonia got her first Master’s degree in Development at La Sorbonne. Together they lived in France, Guatemala, Peru, the UK, and the US. While moving from a country to another and raising their family of two kids, Sonia accomplished a lot! She volunteered, obtained 3 Master’s degrees and worked as an Economy professor and researcher. During this time, she built an expertise in the mining industry and became a manager for a major multinational mining company.

“To do it all, be organized and also enjoy every moment”

Today Sonia is a Consultant Associate in international development at Synergos Consulting Services. She is a Lecturer at the Executive Training Program at Columbia University, and a Member of the Expert group of the Responsible Mining Foundation in Amsterdam. Sonia is also the chairman of El Conocimiento Se Comparte, an NGO designed to support education and teachers in Peru.

Highlights from this episode

  • How to define your area of expertise
  • Ways to leverage your competitive advantage
  • Tips on building a network
  • How to find clients
  • Advice on how to charge the right price
  • Strategies to stay organized and find time for additional meaningful activities
  • How to find volunteers for an NGO

More Notable Quotes

  • I did not want to choose between my lives, I learned how to complement the different parts of my life and career
  • The place is not important what matters is your attitude
  • If it is raining, just take an umbrella!
  • I am happy I could participate to the finances of my family and my kid’s education
  • Build resilience

Sonia’s Book Recommendation

Find and Connect with Sonia Online

To hear more from another expat partner leading an NGO, go to Episode 17 to hear from Leen Abdel Jaber. And watch out for our next episode where I interview another guest in the NGO world.



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