Maybe you’ve worked for “the man” long enough; you’re ready to break out onto your own. Well hey, a veteran employee or executive has great potential as a private consultant; an existing client list, contact people in the industry, years of experience, and credibility to attract new clients.
Or perhaps you’ve just finished your degree and you like the pace of being a student. Actually, a student works very similarly to a consultant. It’s not a big stretch to becoming a consultant as a new grad as long as you make some networks to acquire paying jobs. You are essentially in research mode for others. And as a new graduate, research is something you’re probably very familiar with.
Either way, consultant can be a profitable business venture; of course not without risk. Be aware of the potential downfall of operating your own business. Be realistic: you are now your own boss!
Is there any such thing as a degree in consulting? Nope. Not really. Really any degree will suffice to become a consultant. The question is not what degree you have. The question is, what are you good at?
Becoming a consultant is one thing; thriving as one is another. Somedays you may feel like you have incredible control over your work schedule and and your days might be great. However, when you become ill or just need a day off, you have to remember that you have opted out of a conventional career. You let go of regular pay and health care and other benefits. A consultant might not have administrative help or tech support like you had at the office. Any additional needs you have will cost you out-of-pocket. Many consultants love working alone but others find it can be extremely lonely not having office camaraderie.
A consultant basically is offering skills, knowledge and expertise to other people or businesses. A consultant can give advice, do writing and editing services, solve problems, or make recommendations. Your clients pay you for your expertise. Decide what your expertise is, and find the people who think you’re worth paying for.
Consultants work in all kinds of fields. You name it: art and design, computer, finances, advertising, health and wellness, music industry. They are independent contractors and not employees of the hiring company. Free agents, able to take jobs they want and reject the ones they don’t. Sound good?
Special Licensing or Certification
It really depends on the occupation you are in. For instance, insurance, real estate, accounting, and financial planning will most definitely require some sort of license in their respected fields. Most all consultants will require at the basic level a business license from your city or town as well as a tax id number through the IRS. That requirement is regardless if you work from an office or from your home.
It’s hard to say how well consultants do financially as it is such a broad title. You will need to find your niche and determine how much you can charge for your services. Consultants may get paid by the hour, by the day, or by the project.
Of course, there’s no ceiling on what you can make, either, if you’re driven, creative, smart, and at least a little bit lucky.