Consultants take their expertise and transform themselves into a service. They can do anything, so long as other businesses and organizations see the value of their insight. You can either work on a project-by-project basis or craft a proposal to solve that organization’s unique problem. You can be a consultant in any field that you want, whether that is working in large businesses, or smaller creative industries, it has to be where your passion and interest is.
There are two ways to become a consultant. You can either start your own consultancy business, or you can work for an existing one. Regardless of which direction you take, it is good to consider yourself a singular agent. Even when you work in a consultancy agency, you will have your own clients that you will help and manage.
To prepare to succeed as a consultant, however, you will want to use these ten steps to help you get started:
1. Build Your Credentials
Consultants are hired because of their expertise. When you first start you one of the most important credentials that you can have and advertise to your clients is your degree. Specifically, your Master’s degree. Companies are not going to hire you to help improve their education strategy if you don’t have something as essential as an online masters in education UK under your belt because they aren’t looking for skills as much as they are expertise. The right degree can make all the difference, especially as every degree involves research and methodology development – two essential tasks every consultant is familiar with.
2. Make a Name for Yourself
You don’t need to work as a consultant to make a name for yourself. You can start writing articles, engaging with the community, and generally getting your name out there even while you are still in university. The point is to put yourself front and center and become part of your field’s discourse.
Clients don’t hire consultants to do admin work. They hire them for their ideas and expertise. By engaging and building a name for yourself like this, you showcase your ideas and learn simultaneously.
3. Create a Stellar Website
It is a smart idea to start and manage a website of your own, even if your goal is to work for another consultancy. Your own website is how you can grow your personal brand and where you can acquire and manage clients of your own.
Every great website has a few key components. It should be fast, it should be secure, it should be beautiful, and it should be easy to use. Once you have those four design elements, you will want to create great written content, consistently update your website, and market it to grow your personal brand.
4. Decide on Your Services
Once you have your website, you will then want to decide on the services that you offer. Try to keep these simple and don’t overdo it. The worst thing you can do when it comes to clients is to promise the world and not being able to deliver it. By instead keeping your services simple and straightforward, you can consistently wow clients.
5. Decide on Pricing
All services should have simple and consistent pricing guides. The price should be broken up by the hour to be paid fairly for the work that you do. By creating a consistent price guide, you can help clients understand what your price is, and more importantly, where their money is going.
Always, always include pricing for the research and development stage. Many consultants starting out underestimate how much research goes into taking on a new client, and assume that their existing knowledge base is enough – it rarely is.
6. Choose the Right Tools
When it comes to operating independently as a consultant, you will then need the right management tools. From client management tools to data management and beyond. The right tools can streamline your efforts, keep your clients in the loop, and can make it easy to manage yourself even with several clients on the go at a time.
7. Consider Hiring
You can work independently as a consultant, or you can start your own consultancy. If you are interested in the latter, be aware of who you need to help you. Assistants and coordinators are often a must to help you stay on top of all the work that needs to be done, but eventually, you will want to expand. This means more consultants, or even those in different fields, so that you can offer more services to your clients.
8. Advertise Your Services
There are several ways that you can advertise your services. You can use digital marketing, PPC marketing, and traditional print marketing. You can also host talks, seminars and try to get on panels at conferences. Not only is this a great way to bring in extra money, it can be an instrumental tool to advertising your experience and your business all at the same time.
9. Use Your Network
Use your network to get clients. It’s one of the best ways for those just starting out to get their feet on the ground and to start building up their client list. If that client is happy, then give them a referral code so that they can get some sort of kickback for referring your services to another company or organization.There are many ways to use the human element of the business to secure yourself more work. Engaging with your network (academic, professional, and through clients) is the best way to get work for your company.
10. Reengage with Your Clients
Keeping clients happy doesn’t just refer to your current clients. Keep in touch with previous clients through email newsletters by offering discounts, invites to events, and more. You want to be the consultant that they hire in the future should another need arise, and you want to consistently be on their mind in case a business partner or friend has a similar problem you helped fix.