How to become a consultant

Becoming a freelance consultant has become a growing trend among those people who don’t want to be caught in the 9 to 5 time schedule or rat race. The globalized world and technological revolution have made it possible for the free minded people to work according to their own terms. They bring their years of expertise and skills to become self employed consultants. In simple terms, a consultant is one who is an expert in a particular subject or field, and organizations are willing to pay for their services. Usually we imagine freelance consultants sitting in cafés, meeting with clients in 5 star hotels and attending social parties. But this is not the case, because a consultant may have just replaced their boss with several new ones — your clients. Surprised? Well, the truth of this business is that only your hard work can help achieve success and your client will always call the shots.

The most attractive part of becoming a consultant is that you decide your time and place of work. Most people are thrilled to realize that they can now work from anywhere and get a better work-life balance. It’s not tough to be on your own, but given the tough competition ahead, it would be advisable to have a plan and structure for establishing a consultancy business. I have narrowed down the small but essential steps required for establishing a successful consultancy:

  • You must figure out what kind or range of services you are going to provide to your customers. There are many to choose from, for instance, accounting, writing, programming and designing etc. Your offerings should be reasonable and should be within the reach of your expertise.
  • It is advisable to start networking as much as you can, before opening a consultancy. Initially, most of your work will come from references and past contacts. It would be worthwhile to make sure that every potential client from your contacts list knows that you are available as a freelancer. Your previous employer can be an asset in this regard because they know about your quality of work, so you can start with them.
  • Next step is to determine how much you are going to charge for your services. Your charges should neither be too low nor be too high. Better keep an eye on the market rates and adjust your rates accordingly.
  • Create your own brand in the market. You can create it by your excellent work experience, but do not forget to create your virtual presence on the internet. The internet is a great source of consultants to get new businesses. So start with creating your own website, where you can show your knowledge through blogs and other tools. A website will also help people find you easily, especially if they are looking for a service that you are an expert in.
  • Lastly, it is possible that you may be caught saying yes to every project. This would be a mistake. Make sure you know how to say ‘no’ to the projects which you are not comfortable taking up.

If you follow these simple steps, you are almost ready to start your consulting business. Rest, you will learn as you along the way.

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