If you’ve worked in a specific industry or field for any length of time, chances are you’ve gained enough knowledge and insight to serve as a consultant to organizations that are looking for a little guidance. Whether it’s a company looking to launch their marketing department or a sole proprietor looking to make their first hire, these people all need something that you have: experience.
But how exactly do you start a consulting business, and what steps should you take? We’ll explore these questions below and conduct a quick assessment that ensures consulting is the right occupation for you.
Is Consulting Right For You?
Answer each of these questions:
Do you like helping people by using your knowledge or experience?
Do you have confidence that you can make a positive impact on any person or assignment?
Do you like sales?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you’re poised for a career in consulting.
Why Those Questions?
If you don’t like helping people, or find most people difficult to deal with, being a consultant probably isn’t the best choice for you. While most wouldn’t call consulting a type of altruism—you’re still getting paid, after all—there is an inherent level of offering aid and assistance that normally speaks to a person’s desire to make an impact.
Working as a consultant takes confidence as much as it takes expertise. You need to believe that you—yes, you—can bring something valuable to the table and help to educate or inform a client on what he or she needs to do. If you don’t believe you can do it, the client won’t either.
As with any job or business, a large part of it is finding clients and getting paid. As a consultant, getting customers is about selling your talents and competency. If you’re not comfortable promoting yourself, you might find it challenging to run a successful consulting business.
I’m Ready to Consult. Now What?
Now that you feel ready, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start getting paid. Here’s how to do it.