Written by: Elaine Biech and Halelly Azulay, creators of Building Your Successful Consulting Business
Are you thinking about starting your own consulting practice? Your timing couldn’t be better! Many of the people we coach want to have more control over what they do. They want to do the work that excites them and work with people that inspire them. If you’ve been dreaming about being your own boss, you are not alone. A recent study by FreshBooks shows that 27 million employees are expected to leave their nine-to-five jobs in search of a more meaningful life. They expect to join the self-employed workforce this year.
Elaine recently discussed one of her books, The New Business of Consulting, on a call-in radio show. A caller named Mary told the host that she had a great job but always dreamed of being her own boss. After 25 years, Mary finally left her secure job with a guaranteed salary and benefits. She was surprised and delighted to learn that she could make twice as much and be more satisfied with her life as a consultant.
Don’t wait to take charge of your life. The FreshBooks study found that 42 percent of those who will enter the self-employed workforce will likely be Millennials. They do not intend to wait around for 25 years like Mary did. They want the autonomy that self-employment delivers. They believe that it will provide more control over their careers, their work/life balance, and even their health.
>> Learn more at the webinar: Going Solo? Realities and Rewards of Consulting
What about you? How do you know if you are ready to make the move? What’s holding you back?
How do you feel about the work you are currently doing?
- Do you love getting up in the morning to go to your job?
- Are you excited about the problems you solve and the people you work with every day?
- Do you see a role for you in your company five years from now?
- Does climbing that corporate ladder seem satisfying?
- How meaningful is the work you do every day?
Now, consider the alternative:
- Have you thought about consulting and using your talent, skills, knowledge, and strengths more fully to help others?
- Are you ready to trade the hassles of your daily commute and the same old work for something more exciting?
- Do you have expertise that is in demand?
- Does building a life of independence and alignment sound appealing?
Don’t over-simplify the process. If these questions resonate with you, perhaps you are closer than you think to become a new business owner. Starting a business takes time and energy, but consulting is a relatively inexpensive and easy business to start.
Here are seven start-up tasks to put you on the right path:
- Ensure that you have at least six months of living expenses set aside. It takes time to get clients.
- Interview several consultants to explore the challenges and rewards of the profession.
- Think about how you could start consulting: Should you start a part-time side hustle or go full time? With a partner or alone? Work for another consulting firm or start out on your own? There is more than one way to start a consulting business – find what will work best for you.
- Conduct a self-assessment that measures your entrepreneurial aptitude.
- List what you need to do personally and professionally to make a smooth transition.
- Once you’re sure you want to take the leap, begin to think about the clients you’ll serve:
- What client problems you will solve and how you will do that?
- What competition exists?
- Who are your ideal clients and where will you find them?
- Next, plan the legal and financial aspects:
- Forming a business entity, such as an LLC or a corporation to protect your personal assets
- Obtaining your tax ID
- Creating a name for your consulting practice and obtaining a domain name that matches
- Starting your business plan—keep it flexible, but also think about where you want to take your business in the future
- Developing financial projections to determine whether consulting will be profitable
- List the expenses you’ll need to invest
Of course, this is just a start. If all this is new to you, it may seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. That’s what we do best – help new consultants get started. We’d love to help you walk through the details, answer your questions, and guide you to the resources you need.
Are you considering consulting? What are you waiting for?