Not every business owner has the knowledge to manage all departments effectively. This is why so many small businesses now look to outsource certain jobs or depend on freelance consultants to help them master managing their business.
Professional consultants are in high demand, and if you’re knowledgeable enough to launch your own consultancy, there’s plenty of money to be made.
Despite often costing a pretty penny, consultants can be hired for as little or as long as needed. That means it’s usually a lot more cost-efficient for small businesses than hiring a specialist to work full time.
If you are interested in helping businesses across the globe work more efficiently and effectively, your knowledge could be your secret superpower. Consultants work with business owners or specific departments to review current processes, highlight new trends or provide solutions to improve results.
Consulting is not to be confused with coaching, which tends to be more one-on-one and personal–like counseling.
The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Consultant
As with any job or business idea, there are pros and cons to becoming a consultant.
The first advantage is that there are consultants needed in just about every industry. So whether you’ve had a rich background in IT or have an MBA in finance, there is bound to be a business looking for help from someone just like you.
Another benefit of being an independent consultant is that you can determine your own pricing. However, if you want to work with small businesses, getting the price right is important. You want to show your knowledge is of value, but also don’t want to be too expensive for anyone to afford you.
As with your pricing, you also have the flexibility to manage your own schedule and workload. For example, you might want to focus on providing an intense service to just a few clients or a more casual service to a wider range of people.
Setting up a consultancy will also have much lower overheads in comparison to other small business ideas like launching your own store. As there’s no stock needed and no real initial financial investment to make, you’re good to go within minutes.
That said, it can be quite hard to build and maintain a client base. In addition, your services may only be needed for a single session, and if your knowledge isn’t vast in the topic you’re consulting in, you may find that your clients no longer need your assistance.
As you’ll be your own boss and responsible for how much work you have, it’s also worth understanding that income can be unsteady. You’ll also not have other staff such as IT, accountants, or HR to support you.
5 Consulting Ideas
1. Career Consultant
With so many people out of work over the past year, the need for career consulting has increased.
Career consultants typically work with recent college grads or seniors looking for a retirement career to gain a little income. When the economy takes a turn for the worst, there are also plenty of other people needing a little help with improving their interviewing skills, enhancing their resumes, or finding training.
And that’s exactly what you can do.
Career consultants help people who are looking for a new role. They’ll recommend different training or train them themselves in areas like filling in job applications, writing cover letters, or nailing the interview process. They may also do the job searching for a client.
Glassdoor states that the average in-employment salary for career consultants is $40,000. However, freelance or self-employed consultants can earn much more.
2. Team Building
No business can be successful without a strong team.
Leadership or team-building consultants work with senior and middle management to give them the tools to inspire their teams, boost productivity and drive purpose.
The tricky part of team building for businesses is that their policies often get in the way of people being productive. Consultants can create solutions to these problems while also advising ways to improve the current work environment to foster a culture built on trust and communication.
Because happier staff means better outcomes for the business.
Team building consultants can enjoy an average salary of $74,243.
3. Become a Marketing Consultant
A popular consulting job is in marketing.
Not all business owners will know how to properly market their business or even identify their target audiences. As a result, they could end up forking out a fortune for a marketing agency to tell them what to do or opt for the more affordable version by using a consultant.
Marketing consultants advise and make recommendations based on a business’s marketing plans to see where improvements and efficiencies can be made. You may specialize in written copy that sells their product or marketing from a more business and administrative perspective.
Depending on the industry your clients work in, you could find yourself earning $58,000 a year and more.
4. Financial Consultant
Affluent businesses and investors call on financial consultants to help them spend their money more effectively. For example, they’ll recommend – or manage – a client’s investments or work with businesses on acquisitions and purchases.
Financial consultants don’t just work with the richest people, either. For example, they may help parents looking to save college tuition for their children or put plans in place for employees to pay into a retirement pot.
According to Zippia, the average salary for a financial consultant or advisor is $88,000.
5. Green Living Consultancy
As people become more aware of their impact on the plant, the demand for green living consultants increases.
These consultants work with both individuals and businesses that want to work or live with less impact on the environment. Sustainability is a key priority for businesses around the world and is an expectation for many customers. Consultants can help brands to create a green reputation or help environmentally-conscious individuals live a healthier and more purposeful life.
There are plenty of other options for those looking to pursue a career in consultancy. After an uncertain year for businesses and the ever-changing values of the consumer, these are just 5 consulting ideas to consider.