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Starting your own consulting firm can be difficult but profitable
Whenever someone wants to make money online, the option of consulting always pops up, but you need to already know what you're doing in order to be a great consultant. No one wants to hire a basic consultant, who seems like they've read a couple of eBooks and thinks they're a specialist, so you need to know everything there is to know about your industry or what you're consulting about. If you're a marketing consultant, you will need to know the ins and outs of online marketing as well as offline marketing, and you will likely get more clients handing you some checks from time to time.
One of the best things about consulting is that you can work with the same company multiple times because they will hire teams of people that need to be trained. They might start up different locations, and that means you need to go in and teach or consult about a specific thing, and you'll get a phone call from the business owners every time they start up
In this discussion I'll be going over some things about consulting that may peak your interest. It's a profitable industry to be in because you can literally work with any company in the world, so here are a few things you need to know:
It's an uphill battle
When you start out as a consultant, you're going to be competing with dozens or hundreds of other people, which means it will always be an uphill battle until you get to the top of the mountain and have repeat clients. Setting yourself up as a professional means you need to know everything, you can never ask questions, and you'll have all the answers to any question that comes up.
I've done plenty of consulting in the past, and I know it's a difficult job to do, mainly because of how hard it is to get started. I didn't start out consulting, I was actually approached by a company that was hiring us for SEO, and they wanted us to fly out and teach their in-house team how to do everything. This basically meant I was teaching a team of people who were eventually taking money out of my pocket, but I was ok with it lol.
Finding clients isn't easy
If you've ever sold a service online, you know it's difficult to bring in clients and keep them coming back. Consulting is even more difficult to acquire clients and keep them coming back, but that's why you get to charge a premium for your time! You can use Adwords, BingAds, BuySellAds, LinkedIn ads, etc. to find and close deals for people to hire you as a consultant, but that gets pricey if you don't know what you're doing.
If you're not sure how to use all of these ad platforms, I would highly suggest you invest some time into learning everything you can about them, especially adwords because it's going to bring in the most traffic for your money and the companies looking for consultants are going to be looking on Google more than the others. You might be able to use LinkedIn ads to find consulting clients, but that's like $2.00 a click no matter the keywords you're targeting.
Building business relationships can be profitable
When you start off consulting, you might not get a lot of clients right away, but that's not a big deal at all. Hopefully, you're making money somewhere else and you're not relying on consulting clients to bring in revenue because it just won't happen that quick. Over time, if you build up relationships with your clients, you can get them to pay you a couple times a year to come and teach everyone at their business.
Think about it, if you get a big fish client that has hundreds of locations, you might be able to work out a deal with them to go to each location and consult the managers or employees on how to do something. This means you'll likely have to charge less per engagement, but you'll make much more overall because of the number of engagements you have going on during the year. Think about it, if you work with a client who pays you $3,000 for a consulting weekend, that's a lot of money in your account. On the other hand, you could charge $1,500 for a weekend and travel to 50 locations for a business, which will net you $1,500 per engagement So, would you rather take the $3,000 that is more profitable for the one engagement or would you take the guaranteed $1,500 per weekend to consult? If you said the $3,000 one time consulting, you're not going to be in business for long because you just passed up a $78,000 consulting job lol
If you work with the company for a while, you can jump that $1,500 to $2,000 or even higher, which will boost your profits exponentially
You need to be a specialist
If you're getting into consulting because you just want to make money, and you're not a specialist at anything, you'll fail quickly. If you're a website consultant, you'll need to know everything there is to know about web design, hosting, domains, lead generation, etc. If you're going to be a design consultant for a clothing company, you need to know about all the materials, how to make the clothes, trends, etc.
If you want to be successful as a consultant, you need to already know everything there is to know about your niche. If you're a marketing consultant, like what I've done in the past, you just need to know about marketing and the niche doesn't really matter because the variables can change within the campaigns but the overall process does not
You're always going to be working
A consultant works just as much as any other business owner, but you'll likely be traveling, which means you'll be distant from your friends and family for days or weeks on end. You will have to constantly be putting together plans to make the company better if you don't do this and plan on just winging it, you likely won't get paid for your time because it will be worthless.
Traveling is a part of life when you're a consultant, because 95% of the time you'll have to go where the company is located, and that's usually somewhere you don't live lol Even if you're only consulting on weekends, you'll still have to travel on Fridays and Mondays, which means you'll actually have 3 days of down time that will need to be used to find additional clients for any of your open consulting spots If you're lucky, you can book 2 clients in the same city, on the same dates, but work with one in the morning and one at night so you don't overlap anything and annoy one of them lol.
Being a consultant is definitely a great way to make money, but it's not the easiest job in the world. I've done plenty of consulting, but I know how difficult it is, so I don't advertise it as one of my main services because I can't be traveling for 4 days out of the week. You can definitely make a lot of money as a consultant, but you need to be a specialist at something before you start to bring in a decent amount of people wanting to hire you. If you get to the point where you are having too many people want to hire you, you'll need to increase your prices, which is a good thing! Boosting your prices will weed out some potential clients, but make you more money without working more hours, which is a definite win in my book
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