Start Your Own Consulting Business
Are you looking to become a consultant, but not sure where to get started?
The never-ending to-do list that comes with starting a new business can be so overwhelming that it’s hard to know where to begin. Starting on the right foot, however, can help ensure that things run smoothly in the long run. Before you get caught up doing anything else, make sure you tick these boxes:
Find Your Focus: Put pen to paper and write out your skills and your experience level in each. Then do a little research. Determine if there is a need for the type of work you want to do in your market, and if your market is saturated, you’ll need to start brainstorming ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Develop a target audience and start thinking about their goals and motivators and how you can solve their challenges.
Mine Your Contacts: Your first customers will likely be people you already know, either directly or through a mutual contact. LinkedIn is a great place to start when looking for potential clients. More specifically, the inMail feature allows you to reach out to leads directly from the platform. You can also look to your alumni networks and any industry Facebook groups you are involved in as a starting point.
Build Your Pitch: Selling yourself is tough, especially if you are working in a field that’s not understood by most, like coding, or one that is fairly new, such as paid social. Practice your 15, 30 and 60 second elevator pitches until they are perfect. Develop pitch decks and one-pager templates that can easily be modified to fit your potential client’s request for proposal.
Name Your Price: Even harder than selling your services is setting a price. You should determine your pricing based on your skill level and experience, the market in which you operate, and the extensive services you will offer. It will be tempting to underprice your services when dealing with folks you already know, or if there’s a project you’re really excited to get your hands on - but don’t give in. In addition, make sure you’re tracking all of your invoices so that you receive timely payments.
Create Your Website: Designing your website will (hopefully) be one of the more fun parts of setting up your business. Sites like Wix, Squarespace and Wordpress have made it fairly easy and inexpensive for novice website builders to create their own pages. Don’t worry about all of the bells and whistles for now. To start, you’ll want to have what you do, any case studies you have, and the best way to reach you.
Insure Your Business: Once the basics are set up, consider insuring your business. This month, ProSight Direct, a platform to quickly and conveniently purchase insurance, will be available for consultants and freelancers. Now you can have peace of mind that your business is protected as you hit the ground running.