Setting up a consulting business has much in common with setting up any other type of business. In many ways, it easier, because all you’re doing is supplying your expertise. You don’t need suppliers, raw materials, industrial space, and so on. You don’t even need an office if you’re prepared to work from home (which is a good place to start).
So what do you need to be able to accept and carry out consulting work? At its most basic, you need
Without these prerequisites, it’s difficult for anyone to give you a consulting project. And you want potential customers to have as few barriers as possible.
Honestly it’s easy to set up a business, even if you don’t have a clue how to do it (and I didn’t when I started). Just google “setting up a business in (insert location),” and you’ll find a lot of resources to help you. For example, in my area, Small Business BC is dedicated to helping small businesses with every aspect of setup and development. You can likely find the same sort of resources where you live. Go and visit with one of those groups, talk to a few people, follow the step-by-step instructions, pay out some cash, and congratulate yourself. You’re now a small-business owner.
Okay, so now the business exists as an entity, and now you can start working. “Yes, but …” I hear you say. “How about a website, logo, business cards, and so on?” Yes, you need all these, but they aren’t the priority that many people think they are.
It’s strange to me that many think the first thing to do in their business is to set up a website. Certainly you’ll need a website fairly early on, but the first thing? I don’t think so. A website functions primarily as a marketing tool (not a sales tool usually). I’m not denying the benefits of a website, but it costs money, is time consuming to set up and maintain, and doesn’t in itself bring work in the door (usually). My advice is to concentrate on taking actions to start earning some fees initially, and set up a website a little further down the line.
It would be really nice to have some fees rolling in from day one, wouldn’t it? So what’s the easiest way to earn some fees? Maybe you can get some work from your old company, somebody you already know, perhaps an colleague. If they already know you and understand that you’re just starting, they won’t be concerned that you don’t have all your ducks in a row yet.
As a highly experienced consultant and author of “Consulting Made Easy”, Adrian assists consultants, or would be consultants, to achieve success on their terms in their own consulting businesses. Adrian helps consultants increase their fee rates, find more clients, have more free time and have more fun.
Contact Adrian at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
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