Not everyone who bares the title "consultant" deserves it. The problem is that some people lack 5 qualities every consultant should have. Make sure you have the 5 following qualities before you assume the role of a consultant.
1. Problem Solver
There's only one reason to hire you as a consultant, and that's to solve problems. If you're not a a problem solver, then you don't have what it takes to be a consultant. Your family and friends should know you as someone who is able to look at situations, identify the problems and propose solutions. If you struggle with determining what the issues are that people face, then you won't be a good problem solver. You can get training in your particular field if this is a weakness of yours. Make the time and investment to get trained first, before starting out as a consultant.
2. Critical Thinking Thinker
The expectation of people who hire you is that you will do the critical thinking for them. Some people want you to do all the thinking for them as their consultant, or at least add to their thinking. You should avoid this line of work if critical thinking doesn't appeal to you. On the other hand, if you are able to examine an issue from all sides and see how the different aspects of any given situation in your area interrelate, then becoming a consultant is perfect for you.
Clients may be slow to implement your recommendations half the time, and the other half of the time they may hate what you recommend and dismiss it entirely. It's challenging as a consultant to do a lot of work for a client, write up a great document, only to find out that your client neatly filed it away and proceeded as usual. That same client may contact you in a month or two and want the same counsel that you've already given them time and time again. Much patience is required on your part to get clients from point "A" to point "B." You can't fire every client who does not follow your advice, or you won't be able to make a living.
4. Persuasive Speaker
You can hire a freelance writer to write up your advice in a document that will impress your clients. You can't hire a speaker to consult with them on your behalf. You have to be a persuasive speaker and have the ability to convey solutions directly to clients. In the end, the client may not do what you suggest, but they should be impressed with your persuasive attempts.
There are ethical and non-ethical solutions that you can offer clients to solve their problems. As a consultant, you may already be obligated to follow strict ethic rules, depending on the license you hold. You shouldn't need a governmental agency or license board to scare you into carrying out your duties ethically. You should aspire to be ethical on your own.
More could be added to this list, but these are these are the 5 qualities that you should have before starting out as a consultant.