Are you thinking about starting your own consulting business? I can relate, I thought it about for some time. I started out as a market research consultant before I started a full-time consulting agency. My background was in SEO and marketing before that, very little experience. With the right guidance, you can start a consulting business with no experience or very little experience.
The dictionary is very clear on the consultant definition, it defines a consultant as an “expert in a particular field who works as an advisor to a company or individual. With all due respect, if you don’t know what a consultant is, where have you been?
The good news, businesses certainly understand what consultants are and to the tune of tens of billions of dollars a year. In today’s market, you’ll find consultants in every imaginable industry. Thanks to the internet and new industries coming to life, we’re seeing consulting firms rise all around the world. Some of the biggest signature consultants in the world started from with nothing and grew multi million dollar consulting agencies from the ground up.
Perhaps most importantly, starting a consulting business doesn’t have to be difficult. Technology has made it easy and if you’re wanting to learn how to start a consulting business, we have everything you need to know. Let’s dive into it.
Want To Start A Consulting Business? Try These 12 Tips
(1) What’s Your Expertise?
Your first order of business is deciding what you’ll be consulting on. If you don’t have any industry experience, it’s going to be impossible to start a consulting business. When I started my consulting business, my main area of expertise was digital marketing. Now, digital marketing is broad, too broad to try and be a digital marketing consultant. Since my main expertise was in SEO, that’s where I focused my attention.
You have to be crystal clear about what you’re going to be consulting on. It doesn’t matter if you’ll be doing IT consulting, healthcare consulting, strategy consulting, management consulting or any type of consulting,
If you’re wanting to get a certain expertise to start consulting, that’s fine. You must have a level of experience in something specific in order for you to be able to provide your consulting services.
(2) Who’s Your Target Audience?
As a business consultant, one of your first task for any business is helping your client identify their target audience. The same is true about the industry you’ll be consulting in. You must always make sure there’s a market for this particular industry. Nobody markets to just everyone, your target audience has an identity and that needs to become crystal clear.
As a consultant, the more clarity in your message, the more impact you’ll have among your audience. You need to know who you’ll be targeting with your consulting services.
(3) Establishing Your Online Presence
In a field where expertise is everything, showcasing your experience is vital. The best way to do this is by educating your audience and sharing your experience. Where you choose to do so depends on the specific industry you’ll be consulting in. Remember, you want to be where your target audience is. With that said, there’s a few obvious choices.
- Facebook (Facebook ads, Facebook Live, Facebook groups, Facebook stories)
- Instagram (Instagram ads, Instagram stories)
- YouTube (YouTube ads, YouTube Live)
- Email Marketing
(4) Starting Your Consulting Business
Fortunately for many consultants, getting started doesn’t require a huge investment. Today, you can get started providing services with just a web presence. You can fill out a few social media profiles, get a WordPress website up and you can start driving traffic to your new consulting business.
Can you start a consulting business from home? Absolutely, I did. I know a few dozen more that have. In fact, many of the consulting businesses you see today are started from a home office. Remember, it’s not where you start that matters and there’s nothing wrong with starting your consultant business from home.
With that said, I want to throw a few legal terms your way to put it all into perspective. If you’ll be starting your consultant business soon, you do need to keep your finances in order. You’ll need to document all the income, cost and expenses. When I first started working as a consultant, I didn’t have an official business. I worked as a freelance consultant. If I’m not mistaken, I used a 1099 form for tax purposes. If you’re not sure, you can always call an accountant or lawyer if needed.
If you’re unsure how to go about getting consulting clients, I’d recommend checking out my free webinar training.
(5) Benefits Of Starting A Consultant Business
There’s a lot of benefits that come along with starting a consultant business. Let’s talk about them.
- One of the easiest business models to have is that of a consulting business.
- A consultant business doesn’t require a big initial investment.
- Consulting firms can work remote anywhere in the world with internet access.
- With a consulting business, you wouldn’t need a huge team to make a lot of money.
- As a consultant, you have the ability to earn unlimited income.
- You can create multiple streams of income, like using affiliate marketing.
(6) What Type Of Consulting Will You Be Doing?
As a consultant, businesses will pay for consulting in a number of different areas.
- A consultant could be hired to identify problems – Problems are common place in businesses and they often lead to losses. If you know how to identify these problems and offer a path to a solution, a company may find you invaluable.
- A consultant may be hired based on the expertise alone – As you become known to be a specific type of consultant, your experience will be enough for businesses to invest in your expertise. This is one of the most common reasons consultants are hired.
- A consultant could be hired to teach – If you’re a master at what you do and it’s a skill set that a company can benefit from, you may be asked to teach their staff. This is especially true for those of you with both consulting and teaching experience.
- A consultant may be brought in for a makeover – Making much needed changes is never a fun task and sometimes, it takes outside eyes to see those changes out. A business may bring in a consultant to clean house and guide the company in a new direction.
- A consultant may be hired to start a new business – Some consultants have a high level of experience in their industry and while they’re far and few in between, some of them can create a business idea, concept and run with it.
- A consultant could be hired to influence others – If you’re great at influencing others and getting what you want, you could be brought in to make things happen. If you’re the type of person that has a big network and relationships that matter, you can certainly benefit from it financially.
(7) Marketing Your Consulting Firm
If nobody knows you have a consulting business, you don’t have a consulting business. You need the ability to promote your consulting firm.
In my free training for consultants, I show you how to make sure you have an endless pipeline of clients that are ready to buy. If you get a chance, go check it out here.
I wish I could say marketing your consultant company would be easy but it likely won’t be. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t get consulting clients from promoting your business. Hopefully, you already have an email list to work with or a network you can instantly tap into. If you don’t have those assets available, here’s what I’d recommend.
- Facebook – There’s a high probability that your target audience is on Facebook. Between a Facebook business page, Personal page, Facebook ads, Facebook groups and Facebook Live, you have everything you need to create momentum for your consulting business.
- YouTube – YouTube is still a platform that’s underutilized by consultants. Just like Facebook, there’s a lot of different things you can use on Facebook’s platform. Facebook has Facebook Live and allows you to distribute video content at will. You can use YouTube ads to show your advertising or you can embed videos on your websites.
- Instagram – Instagram is one of my favorite platforms for generating leads. You can use Instagram live videos, recorded videos, Instagram stories and Instagram ads.
- Lead Funnels – Collecting leads is vital to any consultant. I use ClickFunnels for my lead funnels. It’s one of the easiest ways to build lead generation funnels, influencer funnels and automated webinar funnels (one of my favorites).
- Email Marketing – If you’re going to be a successful consultant, the follow up sequence is vital. In order to automate your email sequences and send out your follow up emails, you need the software to do so. Active Campaign is one of the best tools to use.
- Public Speaking – You have to start from somewhere and locally is often the best option for new consultants. Try to build authority and trust early by securing speaking events in your local area. PR and media request are also something you can take advantage of locally.
- Sales Process – You need to have a sales process in place. You’ll see better results with a sales script and when the time is right, you can hire people on and they can follow the script.
- Consistency – It can be a slow grind at first. It takes time to build a business. Be consistent and don’t give up.
(8) The Best Consulting Business Model
There’s a lot of consulting business models out there and it’s going to be your responsibility to choose the right one. The whole consulting model I’m quite familiar with.
I will say this, the best consulting business models are the ones that can convert cold traffic. If you don’t understand cold traffic, it’s one of the 3 traffic types you’ll be engaging with in your consultant business. Cold traffic is going to be a part of your targeted audience that doesn’t know you. They don’t know you, they don’t trust you and they don’t have any emotional investment in you. It’s your job to position yourself as an expert and give them the opportunity to know you.
How can you do that? We educate, we provide value and we help them get results. If you can do that, it will earn their trust. They will get to know you and they will begin to like you. Now, everyone won’t, some people won’t be able to stand you but that’s life. You have to get use to it all.
In consulting, the follow up is a vital sequence. Follow up sequences are important for all consulting businesses.
Knowing that, you want to use a funnel that can bring in cold paid traffic. I use an application process with an automated webinar funnel. The funnel I use has generated tens of millions in revenue. You can use what you want, but I have no doubt that this is one of the most effective consulting funnels to use. It pre-qualifies prospects so you don’t waste your time talking to people that wouldn’t buy from you in the first place. It’s an automated funnel, meaning that it can run on autopilot. It converts cold traffic into high ticket clients.
I have nothing to hide, I’ll show you exactly how I built it here.
(9) Master Your Industry And Never Stop Learning
In today’s world, life changes fast, business changes fast. Knowledge is powerful and the great equalizer for any consultant. You want to master consulting but also master your industry knowledge.
I want you to think about the most credible resources in your industry. I want you to sign up for newsletters, magazines and email list from industry experts. I want you to learn as much as you can and make it a priority to continue your industry education.
On a side note, make sure you’re documenting everything you do. Start a notebook and write down your thoughts and ideas. When you find a great tip or concept about something, make sure you write it down. If you don’t, you’ll likely forget about it.
(10) Building Your Network
As a consultant, you have to be open to building relationships. The more relationships you build, the better. Consultants will need to build relationships with clients, management, executives and decision makers. From day one, you want to leave great first impressions on everyone you reach out to. If they don’t hire you now, it doesn’t mean they won’t later.
Most people don’t seek out consultants, it’s a known fact. This is why marketing and sales are 2 skills you must have as a consultant. You start immediately building your network.
For those of you that haven’t worked with any consulting clients, your first clients are extremely important. Your first clients are the exception because they give you the ability to start building momentum. The key is being able to deliver what you promise. This is why it’s important to set the expectations. Make sure you’re crystal clear about the results your clients will receive by working with you. If you get your first clients results, they will likely tell others about you. The majority of them won’t refer you but a few of them will. That’s all you need to build massive life changing momentum.
(11) Be Fully Committed
In other words, don’t half ass it. Pardon my French, but take it serious. If you’re going to start a business, be fully committed to making it work. I know a lot of entrepreneurs that had huge opportunities and their businesses failed because they weren’t fully invested in making it work.
You need to first invest in you, your skills and knowledge.
(12) Find A Mentor Now
This is likely the most important thing I’ve ever did at any point in my career, I invested in a mentor. I know some of you may have been down that road before and maybe it did’t work out, that happens. I’ve invested in courses and mentors that didn’t work out. Looking back, I should of knew better.
You need to do your research and due diligence. Before you hire a coach, consultant or a mentor, do you research. That’s all. Look at their body of work and the people/businesses they’ve helped.
What you want is a mentor that’s where you want to be in life and in your business. The most important investment you can make is in you.