Do you want to become a consultant, but don't know where to start? You've got knowledge and experience in a particular area, and enjoy advising others. You would love the opportunity to put your skills to work, but you're not sure how. Here's how to start a consulting business.
Get the Right Education or Training
The skills needed to become a consultant depend on your industry. Some fields require no special education other than a college degree. Some require a higher education, and some do not require any college education. For example, a legal consultant needs a law degree and experience in the practice of law. A communications consultant needs a degree in marketing or public relations, or extensive experience in that field. A home organization consultant does not need a college degree. All aspiring consultants could benefit from frequent training through associations, the local chamber of commerce, or online to provide value to their clients.
Choose a Thriving Consultant Business
The first thing you'll need to do is select a consulting business. You want to make sure there's enough of a market need for the type of consulting you want to pursue. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the following is a list of 10 consulting businesses thriving today:
- Career counseling
- Computer consulting
- Public relations
- Writing services
Obtain Necessary Licenses or Certification
You may need special licenses or certificates for legal reasons, for your profession, or simply to compete effectively. Research your state's laws to determine what is required. For instance, some states may require you to obtain a license to consult for political campaign fund raising. You may need a license to consult as a financial planner. There may also be professional organizations that have programs to obtain certificates. When looking for business, having a certificate may make the difference in landing a client over your competition.
Keep Your Costs Low
You don't need to spend lots of money on things like renting office space, expensive websites, or staff. You can work at home consulting, and keep your costs to a minimum. Investing in well-written materials, which you write yourself or outsource, will be the key, as well as an informative website or blog.
Quality and Excellence
You can become a consultant that is well-known in your area if you consistently provide quality and excellence to your clients. Consultants receive much of their income from personal referrals and recommendations. Your clients can do much of your marketing for you, by telling others of how well you work. You have to be current on your industry and savvy in meeting the needs of your clients.
Network, Network, Network
You can have a successful consulting business even if you work from home. The key is to network. You can network extensively online through forums, groups, membership sites, blogs, classes, and by calling others in your field and striking up a conversation. You can also network statewide by joining appropriate associations, attending or speaking at seminars and presentations, and meeting contacts that can refer business to you.
Becoming a consultant is a great work at home opportunity. The key is to market yourself well, network, and provide excellent work to your clients.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.