How to Become a Freelance Management Consultant (4 Easy Steps)
So, you have decided to become a freelance management consultant?
Maybe you want to take on bigger responsibilities without getting involved in the corporate hierarchy. Or maybe you want to work on the projects that you’re really passionate about.
Whatever the reason might be, just know that going freelance as a consultant is totally possible if you know what you’re doing.
In this article, we’ll discuss four easy steps to get started with your freelance management consultant career.
1. Learn the Basics of Running a Freelance Business
If you’re someone who has always worked as an ‘employee’ management consultant, you should learn how to run your own business before you become a freelance consultant. Don’t worry, it’s not that difficult. Working as a freelancer is not as complicated as running a billion-dollar business. As in, things occur on a smaller scale and are easily manageable.
So, if you have decided to become a freelance consultant, you are going to need a state-of-the-art website. There are lots of free tutorials that can teach you how to build an expensive-looking website for the price of peanuts. You probably don’t need to worry about hiring a web developer or spending hundreds of dollars on logos at this stage. Remember, websites are really important if you want your potential clients to take you seriously.
Then, get in touch with an accountant and understand how you’re going to process invoices and pay taxes. You could also use subscription-based accounting software if you don’t want to involve an accountant. And last but not least, speak to a legal expert who can guide you regarding client contracts, or do your own research using the old friend, Google.
Awesome! Now you’re all set to crank it up a notch and take things further.
2. Try to Become an Expert in One Niche
According to research by Business Talent Group (BTG), there are certain industries in which executives are more likely to offer freelance projects to management consultants - industries like tech, financial services, private equity, insurance, retail, and healthcare, to name a few.
In order to become a freelance consultant who consistently gets work, you should focus on industries that actually hire freelance management consultants, and choose one (or a limited number) of industries to specialize in.
Ask yourself the following questions before picking a niche:
- Which industry will pay me what I’m worth?
- What am I passionate about?
- Which niches are the most (and least) saturated with freelance consultants?
- In which industry can I utilize my previous work experience as a management consultant?
Don’t stress much about choosing industries if you’re a complete beginner freelancer. Take a few freelance projects and see what suits you. However, being an expert in one niche is likely to go down well later in your freelance career.
3. Sign up With a Freelance Consultant Platform
Setting up a freelance business and building a website is the easiest part. The next step is to find clients who want to hire you. This step could be really challenging if you’re completely on your own and only rely on your professional network. Nobody knows how long it will take to actually get freelance projects.
4. Use Inbound Marketing to Position Yourself as an Expert
Inbound marketing includes posting informative content relevant to your industry through blogs, videos, or social media posts. Having a few posts that show your knowledge and personality might go a long way. For instance, if a client is confused whether they should hire you or not, they might stalk on your website or LinkedIn to learn more about you. And if you have already answered some of their questions through your content, they might become more confident about their decision to hire you.
Videos that show your face are a perfect way to demonstrate your skills to a wider audience. If you’re not good on camera, you could write blogs, create images, or post small paragraphs on social media.
Moreover, posting content is a great way to stay on the minds of business executives who might want to hire you at a later stage, if not immediately. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. So, be patient and dedicate a few minutes from your schedule every day to content marketing.
Going freelance is kind of similar to running a small business. That’s why you should learn the basics of running a business before you become a freelance consultant. Luckily, this is the best time to become a freelance management consultant because many industries are not only open to hiring one, but they desperately need them.
Finding clients on your own might be a bit risky, so sign up with a freelance consultant platform as soon as you can. Please don’t procrastinate on this one! In the meanwhile, keep posting content about your area of expertise, for example, ‘management consulting in the retail industry’, to position yourself as a thought leader.