Do you like helping people solve problems? Do you like helping others think outside the box? Are you a self starter? If you possess these traits and are the entrepreneurial type, being a consultant may be just the thing for you!
When I hear the term consultant I think “expert” or “authority” in a given field…ANY given field. But to be good at it and get repeat business requires some experience (and maybe some education) in the chosen field.
If you have been working in a certain type of business or industry for a few years, chances are you’ll have a good handle on what makes your particular profession or business work. But not only that…you know how to make things better. It’s this knowledge that employers are after, and are willing to pay YOU for!
With modern technology (well, the internet) there is a vast market to explore. With over 2 billion people online, you have access to thousands of potential clients!
So let’s take a look at some of the components of how to be a self employed consultant…
Do What You’re Already Good At
This is not difficult to understand…you really need to have a firm grasp of the business you want to be a consultant in and know how to apply this knowledge and experience in other companies as well.
Having said that, there may be room to expand to similar or related fields and become a consultant there.
For example, if a Psychologist who’s worked with children for many years suddenly wants to start working as a consultant with the adult population, he/she can make that switch fairly seamlessly since it’s still the same discipline but a different variation of what he/she had been doing. It may require more education or work to make that switch but it’s not too drastic.
On the other hand, if you are a Psychologist and want to suddenly become a consultant in the world of Horticulture, that’s a much bigger leap. Not that this is a realistic example, but you see my point.
Sticking to what you already know and making a living as a self employed person doing it is what you’re after! Use those skills you’ve already worked so hard to acquire!
Start Part Time At First
Unless you have a huge pile of savings somewhere, it may not be the best idea to quit your job and just start as a consultant straight away…as with any business, it takes time to set things up, develop a base of customers etc.
To start part time may be safer financially but requires working more hours in addition to your current job which can be a real drag. Meeting new clients during lunch breaks, evenings, and weekends may have to happen at first until you start pulling in some money.
But getting your feet wet in this way will also help you get an idea if you like doing it! If you don’t, you can consider just sticking with your current job or start looking at other careers entirely.
Freelancing in consulting means finding short term jobs that are more short lived and has a very specific outcome.
For example, if you are a dog trainer and a local veterinarian office would like you to provide expertise to its staff about a problematic behavior in dogs. You would then go to the clinic to provide a very focused training about this behavior and your recommendations to remedy this issue. After the training is done, your services are no longer needed unless a new arrangement is made with the clinic after the training.
When you first get going with your new consultant business, Freelancing is great because it allows you the chance to take on the projects you feel most comfortable doing. You may need to flex a bit when the projects need to be done, depending on the needs of the client but it offers you a lot of control.
Where To Find Work?
If you’re on your own (as in working independently), you can always work as a consultant with your former company if it’s a good fit. Or, branch out and check out other companies in your area where you can offer your services.
Craigslist – It’s free to list your business in the services section!
Rates to charge
This will depend a lot on what part of the country you live. Check to see what other consultants in the area charge and set your rates in the same range. It’s important not to price too much higher than your competition since people will think your services are unattainable. But it’s also just as important not to price too far below your competition since you don’t want businesses to think you provide low quality work! Somewhere near the middle is your sweet spot.
You can work “per job” , “per hour” or by contract. A contract would outline length of time expected to work, the fee structure etc. Many consultants charge by the job but a lot these decisions will hinge on what type of business you have and your personal preference.
Build A Website For Your Business
This can seem like a daunting task but really, it’s not so bad! I know nothing of HTML code etc but I still created my blog using a pre-made template all ready for my content.
There are dozens of options out there for website hosting such as GoDaddy, BlueHost, Host Gator, In Motion, to name a few of the more common ones. These are all just fine and offer affordable ways and great templates to get your site up and running.
The company I use and recommend is called SiteRubix and I like it because it’s easy to use and has gorgeous templates! I also like that it’s paired with a company that teaches me how to grow my business online – more on that in a bit.
If you have a business name or even if you are just toying with the idea for now, type in the name of a domain below to see if it’s available. If you were hoping for FREE websites, SiteRubix offers 2 of them! Once you get inside, you can choose from THOUSANDS of templates just ready for your content. Take a peek below:
For a thorough review of SiteRubix, click here.
How To Grow Your Business Online
Once your site is up, it’s time to start getting customers to it. A beautiful website with no traffic to it isn’t super helpful for your business wouldn’t you agree??
There are ways to get these customers but it takes some knowledge of how to market your website online. If you consider just how many websites are out there, you realize it’s very competitive…but that’s ok. There are many free and paid methods to get your site noticed by the potential employers you want!
1) Keyword selection – Choosing the right keywords and phrases for your business in the content is a big part of this. You’ll want to pick the words people are typing in the search engines (google, bing, yahoo etc.)
For example, if I own a Counseling Business in Omaha that focuses on treating anxiety disorders, I’ll add words in the body of my website pages that people will type into the search bar when looking for that type of service. “Anxiety treatment in Omaha,” “Omaha anxiety clinics” “Help for anxiety Omaha” etc.
2) Social Media – Make a page for your business on Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, to name a few of the more common platforms. Engage with the public on these forums by posting comments. Update your site often with new posts. This keeps it fresh in google. Network with
3) Participate in online forums related to your business – When you add your comment, you are able to post your website link in the comments. *But only do this if you plan to add value for the community and not just for the sake of finding a spot to post your link*…plus you may get banned from the site if your intent is only to promote your site.
For example – if you have a consulting business about dog training. You could join an online forum about dog training and add comments in the discussions to help with their issue. After you’ve provided USEFUL information, there is a way to add a link to your website.
There is a lot to learn about marketing your consulting business online and it can be pretty overwhelming at first! But there are a lot of great resources out there to give you a hand. For more information on how that can be done, check out this article.
And to see a review of the program I use to grow my business, click here.
I hope you’ve found some useful tools here that will help you in setting up your new consulting business. It’s exciting to own your own business but it’s also nice to have support in place to help you troubleshoot etc. and I hope I’ve outlined enough resources for you to make a successful start!
Please comment below if you have questions or need additional links. I love hearing about others experiences with self employment and believe we can all learn more from each other. Thanks for stopping by!