- What is consulting and why is it worth your while?
- What does it take to start a consulting business?
- Plan your starting capital
- Best courses for beginning consultants
Consulting has a bunch of advantages that make it a dream for an increasing number of people. While having low expenses, a consulting business boasts high profitability – if, of course, you’re doing everything right. In this article, we’ll find out how to make good money giving business consultations.
What is consulting and why is it worth your while?
Consulting refers to giving professional consultations in a specific domain. Speaking in plain language, a consultant handles a variety of tasks and problems for both companies and individuals. For example, they can help you scale up your startup, develop a marketing strategy, boost personnel motivation, pick the right program, etc.
A consultant is a dedicated expert that possesses profound knowledge and skills in a specific field. It’s their responsibility to follow the trends and stay updated on the latest market developments. With the right approach, you can easily monetize your expertise. Here are the three main reasons why people are willing to pay for your knowledge:
- they tried but failed to acquire the necessary skills;
- they don’t have time;
- they want to benefit from another person’s experience.
Imagine that the owner of a legal firm wants to start using CRM but they have no time to find out how to choose the right solution and customize it to their company needs. Also imagine that a startup founder failed to achieve the desired profit after trying different strategies. In both cases, a seasoned consultant can come in very handy and take the challenging task off your hands.
What does it take to start a consulting business?
The consulting market is considered to have low entry barriers. You need to have a decent knowledge of the selected domain, consider current market needs, and know how to promote your services. Let’s find out whether it’s easy to enter the market and start a successful consulting career.
Knowledge and skills
A ready-to-use solution is the main value that you can offer to your clients. This makes your expertise the most valuable asset in your possession. Your knowledge and skills can make all the difference in your success as a consultant. To assess your proficiency level, answer the following questions:
- Name the industries/fields in which you consider yourself an authority.
- What skills have you acquired throughout your career?
- What measurable results have you achieved?
- Name the fields that you’re interested in as a hobby.
- What are your strengths?
- What skills do you lack?
Once you’ve determined what skills and useful qualities are at your disposal, you need to select the optimal niche and find access to your target audience. That will guide you to your unique selling proposition.
Pick a niche
All major consulting companies had to started out with picking a narrow niche. You should do the same. It’s important to remember that you can’t help everyone. Outline your unique selling proposal to distinguish yourself from competition. For example, instead of using the generic phrase like “I can help you grow your business”, you need to specify your professional abilities by writing something like “I can help your medical startup double its profits in 6 months”. This phrase is sure to grab the attention of your potential clients.
Study your target audience
Your goal is to develop an effective and easy-to-implement solution to the problem you client is having. Before studying the needs of your selected market niche, you need to decide what category of clients you’re going to work with. Will it be individuals? Small business? Large companies?
As the next step, you need to research the needs of your target audience. What are the most common problem your potential clients are facing? Are they happy with the existing solutions? If not, what are the downsides of these solutions? To get answers to these and other important questions, do the following:
- browse through your industry-specific forums;
- find out what types of content are the most popular among your target audience (YouTube videos, books, blog posts, etc.);
- talk directly with your potential clients.
Pick the channels for marketing your consulting services and attracting new clients. Here are some useful guidelines:
- If you’re starting your consulting career in the same industry you’ve been involved in for a while, tell your existing clients that you’re now giving individual consultations. Also, don’t be shy and kindly ask them to refer you to their coworkers and friends.
- Be active on social media. Communicate on forums. Create a landing page, website or blog. Signing up with LinkedIn is also a good idea.
- Advertise your services on social media, Google, newspapers, etc. (depending on where your target audience are most active).
- Create a strong brand identity, including a logo, colors, fonts, patterns, etc. This will help your clients identify your business. Use Logaster to design a corporate emblem and other brand identity elements in just a few clicks.
Plan your starting capital
From a financial point of view, starting a consulting business is not very costly.
- To get started, you’ll only need a smartphone and Internet connection.
- You can do all routine tasks yourself. As your business grows, you can hire a personal assistant to gather information, makes phone calls, systemize documents, etc.
- You don’t necessarily need to rent an office. You can work from home or coworking space.
- Since there is no physical production involved, you don’t need to spend money on equipment and shipping.
Think about your pricing policy. Avoid selling your expertise at dumping prices because that may cause distrust among your potential clients. At the same time, high rates may scare off people, pushing them to look for cheaper offers. Here are a few tips on how to determine the optimal price for your services:
- Assess the level of your experience. Are you just starting out or do you already have a solid portfolio?
- Find out how much other consultants in your niche are charging.
- Make sure your rate includes all your expenses, both existing and potential ones (e.g., professional advancement courses, paid access to online resources, etc.)
Best courses for beginning consultants
Before you start your own consulting business, think about whether you have enough knowledge and skills to provide high-quality services. Even you’re good for now, be sure to keep improving your professionalism and honing your skills. This is the only way to keep your clients happy and grow your income. Check out the best courses that can help you with that!
These 8-week courses will help you optimize your business model. You’ll learn how to attract and bond with new clients, deliver value, etc. You’ll get access to valuable consultations from successful businessmen and practical guidelines on developing your promotion strategy.
What to give a quick boost to your consulting business? Sign up for this 30-day course to get time-tested scenarios and techniques for increasing your profits by several times. The creators of this course assure you that you won’t be wasting your time on cold calls, website redesign, and social media advertising!
Developed by Harvard University, this course offers a bunch of tools for collecting and analyzing data. With their help, you’ll learn how to generate effective solutions and handle complex tasks. You’ll have access to lectures, discussions, interactive exercises, case studies, and other unique and useful materials to help you grow as an entrepreneur. Feel free to apply your freshly learned solutions when working with any types of clients, from small and large businesses to non-profit organizations.
This course mainly focuses on studying real-life cases and solving problems that actually exist in the business community. According to the creators, upon completing this program, you’ll start looking at the world with a new pair of eyes, change your habits, and reprogram your brain for success!