How to become a consultant and succeed – many potential new consultants find themselves staring at Internet search results, library stacks or bookstore shelves (virtual or otherwise), wondering just how to get started in consulting. If you poke around the articles here at Consultant Journal, you’ll find information on starting your business, setting fees, finding clients, and other typical business issues.
But, when it comes right down to it, focus and confidence will help you succeed as a consultant. If you will like you’re still exploring and meandering through the idea of becoming a consultant, you’re probably not ready for all the business information. Figuring out what kind of consultant you want to become may help.
How to become a consultant if you’re still trying to find focus
- Carry out a personal inventory to help you reflect on your skills, experiences, unique qualities and past successes
- Look through the Internet, LinkedIn and professional directories to get a sense of the different kinds of consultants out there – does anything stand out?
- Read. Whether online or on paper, books can help you quickly tap into a wealth of information. Read about consulting, various industries, business trends – does anything stand out?
- Reflect upon what’s got you interested in consulting in the first place. Are you keen to apply your skills, gain control over your work, earn more money, generate a side income, hone your expertise or something else?
- Arrange information interviews with people who might be able to point you in the right direction. For example, if you’re thinking about consulting to accounting firms, start by doing information interviews with people in accounting. Let people know that you’re looking to make a career change and that you’d like their advice. Most people are happy to feel like an expert over a cup of coffee. Just be sure not to ask for work – you’re just there to find out about their industry and ways to apply your transferrable skills.
- Start to piece together career and business plans – if you’ve whittled down to a key choice. A business plan can help you start to understand the realities of becoming a consultant.
Funny enough, as you start going through this process and gaining more focus and control over your work, you’ll probably start feeling more confident. And that confidence will help you launch your business, negotiate with clients and get on your way to career success. You’ll be able to reflect upon the work you’ve done in choosing an area of expertise. You’ll be more clear about where you decided to focus and where your unique talents lie – not to mention the best ways you can help clients. Having put thought into your product and service offering, along with how you’ve established your fees, you’ll feel more solid when potential clients challenge you or raise objections. Clients will start to feel your confidence and you may find that it’s easier to build genuine rapport with them. Just by exploring the field and starting to put plans in place, you’ll find that you’re on your way to building that success scenario that will help you launch a successful consulting practice.
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