Small Business Brief


Starting a Consulting Business: Everything You Need to Know

Starting a Consulting Business: Get High Ticket Clients Right Away

Shot of a senior investment advisor businessman consulting with her young assistant while sitting at office and working on laptop.

Anyone can be a consultant. Not all are profitable. Here’s your guide to starting a consulting business that’s profitable right away.

According to research, independent consultants earn an average of $105 per hour.

With this kind of earning potential, more and more people are leaving their corporate jobs to become independent consultants.

Starting a consulting business is a great way to work for yourself and make a good living. You can leverage your skills and experience to help others, and get paid to do it.

Keep reading to learn the five simple steps you need to set up a successful and rewarding consulting business.

1. Choose Your Niche

There’s a simple process to discover the best niche for your consulting business.

First, examine your skills and knowledge. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you know that can help take other businesses to the next level?

Next, determine what service is missing from your industry. What obstacles do businesses in your industry face? What are the pain points for these businesses? What are the factors which stall their growth?

To determine your niche, you simply need to find the intersection between your strengths and the needs of your industry. Your niche is the point where your strengths and skills help solve the immediate problems facing businesses in your industry.

Don’t try to be everything for every business. Start your business the right way, by defining your specific niche and becoming the absolute best at it.

For example, clearly states their position as a software development consultancy firm and doesn’t stray from this area of expertise.

2. Build Your Network

Your network will be a primary source of your business. So stay in regular contact with your professional connections and look for every opportunity to meet new people.

LinkedIn is a great resource to get in touch with professionals in your industry and to reconnect with old contacts.

Create a schedule to reach out and touch base with everyone in your Rolodex. Give them a call or drop them a quick line every few months. Meet in person with closer connections.

When someone in your network needs professional consulting, you’ll be the first person they think of.

3. Create Mini-Presentations

You may not think of yourself as a salesperson, but as a consultant, you will be selling your services to your contacts.

You don’t have to be pushy, but you should be able to integrate a few talking points into your conversations with people.

For example, when people ask you what you do for a living, don’t say “I’m a consultant.”

Instead, go with some variation of, “I help people accomplish (their stated goal) without hassle, for less time and money.”

Have short concise answers for every question relating to what you do. Be able to talk about how you help your clients and the value you bring to their businesses.

More importantly, conversations are about the person you are speaking with. How can they personally benefit from your consulting? What success can they experience by using your services?

Practice your talking points consistently so you can comfortably speak with potential clients in a natural way while also conveying what you have to offer.

4. Determine Your Rates

One of the biggest mistakes new consultants make is to underprice themselves. Remember to factor in your income tax. Self-employed contractors pay a higher rate than employees.

Also, factor in outside resources you’ll need to perform your services.

Create consistent quotes by developing a pricing template you can use to estimate the time and resources you’ll need for an average job.

5. Systemize Your Business

Have proposal templates ready-made for potential clients.

And when someone agrees to do business with you, be ready with a timeline of expectations you can give them.

Create a welcome email template which you can tailor to your new clients and send them details about what they can expect and when.

The key to being a successful independent consulting is being a step ahead of your clients.

Starting a Consulting Business: The Bottom Line

Independent consultant is a fast growing industry as people increasingly are looking for alternatives to traditional nine-to-five jobs.

Starting a consulting business could be the clearest path towards working for yourself. The work can be rewarding as you use your expertise to help businesses grow.

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