The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.
Getting Started as a Consultant
Sep 3, 2009, 03:53 AM
Do you have what it takes to be a consultant? If you've suffered from a layoff or down-sizing, perhaps being a consultant is just for you.
Do you think you have what it takes to be a consultant? If you've suffered from a layoff or corporate down-sizing, perhaps being a consultant is just for you.
There are two ways to look at being a consultant:
As a "filler" job;
As your new full time career.
The filler job is just that – a filler in between other full-time positions. Becoming a consultant while you continue to search for another full time position allows you to stay current in your field. It also helps to fill in any gaps on your resume. It can also show potential employers that you have great initiative, and you may have some client connections they are interested in as well.
If you're approaching consulting as your new full time career there are a few things to consider.
As a consultant you might be able to earn more per hour than you did as an employee. You often have a more flexible schedule and can work primarily from home. If you position yourself as a subject matter expert, you have the potential to earn income from writing and public speaking as well.
Cons, or at least things to think about:
Do you have a definable niche? Potential clients aren't usually looking for a consultant that is a jack-of-all-trades. If you can't narrowly define yourself, then you probably aren't ready to go it alone.
Are you naturally outgoing? The main way you will find your first clients is through networking and good old-fashioned phone calls. If you don't like small talk and cold calling perhaps your skills can be put to use in a way other than consulting.
Clients=Pay check. No clients, no pay. So, you need to make sure you will be ok financially while you're drumming up that first client.
And finally, are you ready to be a small business owner? That's exactly what you will be if you decide to become a full time consultant, working for yourself. You will need to really consider incorporating to protect your personal assets, setting up a web site for your "company" - even if it's just you, and getting a marketing plan in place to help get clients. By creating a business entity you open the door to small business grants, business banking, and some other opportunities that could help you get your consulting business off the ground and growing.
So, if you've been laid off as a result of this economy and are considering being a consultant, remember to do your homework and make sure you've got what it takes.
Book: Breakthrough Consulting: So You Want to Be a Consultant? Turn Your Expertise into a Successful Consulting Business