How much experience do you need for consulting?

I have a bit of a baby face. Always have. Hopefully, I always will. And that baby face has sometimes been the bane of my career, since people seem to think I’m younger than I am. "Aren’t you a little young to be a consultant?" people sometimes asked when I was starting out. Um, no.

You see, to be a consultant, you don’t need a set amount of experience. You do need sales skills, consulting skills and some past successes on which to build. You need some references and perhaps some contacts. But you don’t need a specific amount of experience.

Of course, the consulting fees you can charge will probably depend on how much experience you have and just how well you can sell clients on your potential. But, again, you don’t need a specific amount of experience. You just need paying clients.

Do you think there’s a benchmark for experience in independent consulting?