A consultant is a person with expert knowledge in a specific field, who works either with an individual or a company. Technology has made it considerably easier to become a consultant these days. Though the job of a consultant is to provide consultation, a good consultant should have deep knowledge about the subject in question. They need to discover their own field of interest and expertise, whether it is related to computers, the latest hardware and software information or something to do with fundraising.

Points to consider for becoming a Consultant

  • Are you qualified for a consultant’s job?

Make sure you have the necessary qualifications for a consultant’s job. If you are a computer consultant you should be constantly updated about all the changing trends in the computer industry.

  • Do you possess the required certificates or license?

Do you have the certification and special licensing required to be a consultant?  For example, if you want to become a fundraising consultant you need to register as a professional, or attain a certificate from the National Society of Fundraising Executives.

  • Are you organized enough to be a consultant?

You need to be organized in your day to day activities and should be able to manage your time effectively.

  • Are you interested in networking?

Networking is very important if you want to succeed as a consultant. This can be done by building a network of contacts.

  • Have you set any long-term or short-term goals for yourself?

To become a consultant you should possess the time and energy to set goals for building a consultancy business.

Successful Consulting Businesses in Today’s world

Though you can become a consultant in just about any field, some present consulting businesses are listed below:

  • Auditing

  • Accounting

  • Advertising

  • Business

  • Career counseling

  • Business writing

  • Editorial services

  • Communications

  • Executive search

  • Gardening

  • Computer programming

  • Human resources

  • Insurance

  • Marketing

  • Public relations

  • Payroll management

  • Taxes

  • Publishing

  • Writing services

How is a Consultant Hired by an Organization?

There are several reasons for consultants to be hired by organizations.

  • A consultant is hired due to their expertise in the particular field. Their past work will clearly identify their experience or track record.

  • Consultants are sometimes hired to supplement staff. Hiring consultants can be more economical than keeping full time employees. Businesses save by not paying for benefits to consultants.

  • Consultants are often hired to identify problems or issues within the organization.

  • Consultants can be hired to be a catalyst. Changes can be effectively brought about without worrying about employee morale, corporate culture or any other such issue.

  • Consultants are sometimes hired to educate or teach employees. Consultants are brought in to teach employees particular skills, or in case of computers, to master some new program. Consultants should update themselves about new inventions in their field, so they are in a position to educate new clients.

  • Consultants can be hired to do the dirty work no other person in the organization is willing to do, like eliminating the whole division or making staff cuts.

  • Consultants are sometimes hired to bring new life into a slow business. A consultant can give new ideas, along with implementing them to get the business rolling.

  • Consultants can be hired to influence people around them. If a consultant moves around with rich and influential people, this is a definite criteria to be hired. Due to this, many people are being employed in the entertainment consultation business.

  • Consultants are hired for creation of new business opportunities. Consultants who are experts in specific fields have the ability to come up with new ideas, along with developing a game plan.

How do you start your Consulting Business?

A consulting business can be started with a small investment to begin with. You can even start operating from your home, although you need to contact an attorney about local laws or deed restrictions. Working from home can have many benefits, such as:

  • Overhead expenses are low as you need not worry about rent or other office utilities

  • Working from home gives you flexibility when it comes to working hours or taking time off.

  • Commuting to and from work during rush hours is avoided

  • A home office space is likely to be tax deductible, as rules have been relaxed by the IRS for those working at home.

Need for Employees

When you start your consultancy practice, you might be able to do all the work alone. As your business grows, you will need help with administrative details or completing assignments. You may require people to do the paperwork. You can look through the Yellow Pages or look for references where you will be able to hire a reliable support service at a good price. Hiring a good administrative person will mean obtaining more clients, along with other benefits, such as:

  • Saves time and money. Instead of concentrating on small tasks like filing, answering phones or going through mail, you can focus on getting new clients.

  • If you have someone in the office to answer calls, you can move in and out of the office without worrying about missing out on opportunities.

  • Having another person in the office gives you access to another perspective. Working alone can get very lonely at times too.

Income & Billing

Once you have started your consulting business you now need to work on how much you will charge your clients. Clients usually understand that there are additional expenses to be added in the fees. Before you fix your rates it is advisable to do a little research by calling another consultant’s office, and collecting information regarding fees and pricing. There are several options while setting your rates that include hourly rates or total project fees. Some clients want to be billed on an hourly basis while others prefer to pay for the whole project.

  • Hourly Fees: You need to be careful while fixing hourly fees. A high hourly rate may not go down well with a client, while a low hourly rate might deter the client from taking you seriously. There is a general rule, if the client pays more money he expects more returns in the form of better service.

  • Project fees: When consultants work on a project they are paid a fixed amount for a predetermined time period. At times agencies prefer to be billed on a monthly basis.

  • Retainer basis: Under this system you are paid fixed monthly fees where the consultant is available for work for a predetermined number of hours for your client. When a company hires a consultant on a retainer basis there is usually a clause in the contract that does not allow the consultant to work with their competitors.

Marketing your Consulting Services

Marketing a consulting business is very different from marketing a product like a car or house. There are many methods used by consultants to market their business.

  • Brochures: You can get brochures printed that should clearly specify your services, along with some biographical information. You need to convey to prospective clients that you are the best and give reasons why they should hire you.

  • Cold calling: This is another way to market your services. Prepare a script and be creative while trying to reach clients by cold calling.

  • Advertising: Advertising can be quite expensive, but it does help in generating new business. Advertise in journals or newspapers that relate to your special field of consultancy.

  • Newsletters: Whatever your consulting field, get newsletters printed with appropriate information to attract prospective clients. You can either publish your own newsletter, or hire a graphic designer and freelance writer to do it for you.

  • Public Speaking: This is a good way to get new clients and earn a good reputation in the process. Speak up at service organizations like the Rotary Club, Lion’s Club or the Chamber of Commerce clearly defining your services.

Do you think this article will be helpful in starting your consultancy business? Are there any tips you would like to give other consultants? Go ahead and share a few words of advice in the comments section.

Publié 6 novembre, 2017

NickGolding
NickGolding Employé

Entrepreneur & Creator

Nick is the Entrepreneur Correspondent for Freelancer.com. He is based in Sydney, NYC, & London. His life consists of frequent flyer points.

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