How Anyone Can Start a Consulting Business Today

Business colleagues with a laptop working in a cafe using conference internet call.

Most professionals are experts in their field but do not have the experience in starting their own consulting business. Don’t wait any longer to achieve your goals as a successful consultant. Each day more and more people are starting to realize the income potential from consulting. This article will take you through three simple steps to start your consulting business today!

With more people being laid off every day and the economy continues to fall, financial stability is hard to come by. Many professionals with years of experience are being let go. The solution for these professionals is to become a consultant in the field they have been let go from.

However, most professionals are experts in their field but do not have the experience in starting their own consulting business. So, how can you learn how to start consulting business? Here’s how to get started right.

Step 1: Discover Your Niche

You are a professional and you have years of experience in a field. Before you begin to market yourself, you need to determine your focus. You must differentiate yourself from your competition. For example, there are many marketing experts out there. But only a few may have experience with a certain type of business or industry. For example, the difference between a ‘marketing expert’ and an ‘online retail marketing expert’ is big. This focus will allow you to narrow down your prospected customers while increasing your rate because you are specialized.

Step 2: Educate to Find Sales

The majority of your time that is not spent consulting business should be spent finding clients. If you are still employed, check to see if you have a non-compete agreement that may prevent you from working with certain clients. If you left your former company on good terms, they may be your first client. Either way, you need to build up a base of work from solid clients. The first place to look is through your close contacts. Start hitting the Rolodex and notify your colleges of your new gig. Let them know you are looking for clients to “contribute your knowledge to help them succeed”.

When touching base with contacts in your industry include educational information (e.g. the latest industry trend and its direct effect on increasing revenues). Start a blog or newsletter that includes helpful information for the readers. This will show them you are up to date with the industry and an expert in your field. Next time they have a question or new project, they may ask you for recommendations and guidance like a seminars in Kiev could be a good idea.

Step 3: Build Your Sales Pipeline

Whether your Rolodex delivers clients or not, you need to also develop other streams of customers. Introduce yourself to staffing companies in your area. Many times these companies have contract openings, at least a few months long, which can secure income for you. Other ways to find clients is through online consulting websites such as Guru.com, oDesk.com, and Elance.com. A strategy sometimes overlooked is partnering with other consultants and companies. For example, an ‘online retail marketing expert’ may want to partner with local website development companies. These companies could recommend this consultant (for a small commission of course) to their customers after they build a website for them. In return, this consultant may return the favor when a client asks who to use for their next website.