It's a new year, a new decade and March is National Start a Business Month. If your gut is telling you that now's the time to launch the business you've been dreaming about, listen up. One of the quickest businesses to launch is a consulting business. Using the professional skills and connections you've built over the years, you can stop working for "the man" and start working for yourself (almost immediately.) Here's how...
What Is A Consultant?
A consultant is someone who is hired by an organization, large or small, for their skills and expertise. He or she can help identify problem areas, supplement staffing needs or teach new skills or technologies. Often, consultants will perform a bit of all these services.
Why Start a Consulting Business?
The reasons for starting a consulting business are as varied as the businesses themselves. Generally though, people want to use the skills they've developed in their corporate career to break free and start their own business. Most are inspired by the freedom of being self-employed and the flexibility that comes with being your own boss.
Top 5 Steps
- Assess your skills and talents: What were you most praised for as an employee? What made you the go-to person for certain duties among your co-workers? These are good indicators of what potential clients might pay you to do.
- Decide on your specialty: Rather than chase a "hot" new field, look at your experience and carefully consider what you enjoy doing and what you excel at. Research the marketplace and see if there's a gap you can fill.
- Research your field: Even with many years of experience as an employee, some new skills may be required when you become a consultant. Be sure you are getting a competitive rate and a fair contract, and brush up on the latest technologies and best practices in your chosen field.
- Define your target audience:Are you hoping to service large corporations? Or, are you more focused on small businesses or even non-profits? This can help determine how you can market your consulting business to possible clients.
- Don your Sales Cap: Being a consultant is dependent upon building a good reputation in your industry and selling your skills. Look at your network of contacts and assess the amount of work you can quickly generate and how much you'll need to make in your first year to cover expenses. Think about the sales aspect and the dual-challenge of working and networking to build your business.