Is Consulting in the Cards for Your Next Career Move?
Have you ever considered starting your own consulting business? While you may assume that consulting is only for people who are nearing retirement age and have decades of industry experience under their belts, there’s actually a lot of room for younger professionals to make some noise in this area.
The Need for Consultants in Today’s Business Landscape
The barriers to entry in the business world are lower than they’ve ever been. In most industries, all you need is an internet connection, a little bit of capital, and some basic understanding of how to get started. The internet, cloud based tools, and other remote technologies make starting a business super easy.
As a result of the low barriers to entry, people are starting businesses left and right. And while there’s nothing wrong with this – it creates healthy competition – it means there are a lot of small business owners who launch businesses without skills that they would otherwise have been forced to have in previous decades. This creates a need for guidance and an opportunity for people like you to step in and offer consulting services.
If you’re considering making the move into consulting, there are some things you’ll want to think about. Take a look:
- Be a Specialist
“In general, smaller businesses try to do as much as possible themselves. And when they need the help from an outside advisor it better be advice which is pragmatic and which can directly be implemented into the daily operations without too much hassle,” Consultants 500 advises.
General business consulting is fine, but there are lots of people who offer these services have been doing it for years. If you want to make a name for yourself – and have a positive influence on your clients – try to specialize.
- Brush Up on Your People Skills
As much as you need to have some sort of specialized skill in order to properly advise your clients, you also need to perfect your people skills. You’ll deal with a lot of different people – some of whom will be cranky, rude, and finicky. How you handle these people will, to an extent, determine your success.
- Under Promise and Over Deliver
Expectations are a big thing in the consulting world. The expectations your clients have will dictate how they feel about your work at the end of your relationship. If they have high expectations and you only perform average work, they’re going to feel pretty sour. However, if they have average expectations and you perform high quality work, they’ll be ecstatic.
As the old saying goes, you need to under promise and over deliver. This sets you up for success and removes much of the risk, should something go slightly awry on your end.
- Reputation over Revenue
It’s not uncommon for successful consultants to lose money or break even in the first few years that they offer services. You need to adopt the mindset that your reputation as a consultant is more important than revenue (in the short term). By investing in solid reputations and delivering real value to your clients, you can build your brand and command a much higher rate in the future.
Give Consulting a Try
The great thing about consulting is that it comes naturally to so many people. After years of honing your craft and acquiring skills, you eventually reach a point where you feel prepared and confident enough to help others in their own careers. Consulting is also flexible, which makes it great for people who don’t want to give up their existing career. Before you take the plunge, though, make sure you do your research.