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Kick Start Your Independent Consulting Career with this 6-Step Guide

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Published:
July 20, 2021
Reading Time:
7 minutes
Gizela
Gizela has almost two decades of experience within the Digital sphere and eagerly awaits the day she can be cloned so she can finally get everything on her daily to-do list done

How do you decide between branching out and starting your own independent consulting business based solely on your own merits or sticking to working at a traditional consulting firm? It is easy to get stuck in a job position with no room for personal or professional growth. When working at big consulting firms, a consultant can expect financial stability, advice, mentorship from colleagues, and support across all levels. When consulting alone, one needs to combine the skills of consulting with that of sales and entrepreneurship. It might be time to start consulting independently if you are working for a firm and you feel that:

  • the impact you are making isn’t big enough
  • you lack control
  • the money you are making isn’t enough
  • you are not being tested or learning new skills.

Another good reason to go independent (and one many are unexpectedly faced with) is if you have just been laid off from work.

6-Step Guide to an Independent Consulting Career

When making any change, there are challenges that one needs to overcome. The same goes for deciding to work for yourself rather than a company. To make starting your solo consulting career easier, it is essential to use your prior working experience to your advantage and choose to consult in a field that you are familiar with. Steps to becoming an independent consultant include:

  1. Spending time networking
  2. Finding a niche market
  3. Practicing your pitch
  4. Setting up your systems and structure
  5. Defining your prices
  6. Planning for the long term and short term
“To be worthwhile, a consultant must give honest judgments, not necessarily those which he thinks the clients want to hear.” – Andrew Thomas

1. Spending time networking

Sometimes it isn’t about what you know; it’s about who you know. Knowing the right people can open the door to a whole world of potential clients, investors, partners, and industry leaders. These professional connections will come in handy when branching out on your own and creating your client base by yourself.

2. Finding a niche market

Too much of a good thing can be bad. To increase the importance of your services, it is crucial to find a field of expertise that isn’t already saturated by other consultants. Tailoring your services to one specific group can be a good way of creating market value. While choosing an uncommon field is advantageous, it is also important for your confidence that you are still a fully qualified expert in that field.

3. Practicing your pitch

You need to know your field inside and out to sell yourself and your specific consulting skillset to a company in need. Without a convincing pitch, it is unlikely that you will gain the trust of any potential clients and convince them to hire you.

4. Setting up your systems and structure

Certain processes need to be ticked off when starting your own business. First and foremost, the business needs to be a registered entity. Next, accounting systems need to be put in place, invoice templates need to be drawn up, and most importantly, you need to create an online presence for yourself.

Consulting career, Kick Start Your Independent Consulting Career with this 6-Step Guide

5. Defining your prices

You need to weigh up your expenses, research industry standards and choose a price that is competitive but also allows you to live the life you’re accustomed to. It is important to be making a profit. Do not sell yourself short.

6. Planning for the long term and short term

Writing a business plan and creating a sales plan will give you a good idea of whether your consulting business is moving in the correct trajectory for it to be sustainable. Of course, the future is not certain. However, planning for the future can help mitigate any risks and minimize unnecessary usage of valuable resources.

Aside from these six main steps, there is a lot more that goes into launching a successful and profitable consulting career by yourself and there are many technical tips, tricks, tools and resources that can help you on the way such as:

Creating your Own Independent Consulting Website

Having an independent consulting website that defines and promotes your services is key. Luckily for coding newbies, there are various paid or free website builders that do most of the heavy lifting for you. It is important when creating your own independent consulting website that you stick to the brand identity you have chosen and that you showcase your consulting finesse. Your website is a vital element in the success of your consulting business and career as it is the main platform you have for marketing yourself. Nowadays, if a company doesn’t have a website, many people won’t trust it.

Joining a Consulting Platform

Online consulting platforms are great. Why? A consulting platform forms a central place where businesses go to find independent consultants that match their needs. These important platforms form the missing link between company and consultant. Instead of you going to companies, companies will now be coming to you. Businesses using these platforms know the value of independent consulting, and they know exactly what they are in for. All you have to do is pitch your services and yourself to them, and if they like what they see, you are good to go. If you are looking for a consulting platform, then you need to look no further than the website you are reading this article on. Consultport is here to help no matter what prior consulting experience you have. At Consultport, we have a range of projects that suit various skills and interests, and what is better than this is that you can set your own prices. Sign up to become a consultant with us today.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Independent Consulting

Advantages:

  • Independency
  • Flexibility
  • Increased control
  • Opportunity for increased income
  • Increased variety

Disadvantages:

  • Requires extreme discipline
  • Hard to balance work-life
  • More expenses
  • Less income stability
  • Conducting one’s own marketing

Switching to an independent consulting career can be scary, but it can also be the positive change your life and career path needs.

Technological Tips, Tricks, Resources & Tools