Top 10 Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Jumping Into The Consulting Business

So you want to become a consultant. Congratulations! This is one of the most rewarding and fastest-growing professions in today’s modern business world. Becoming a consultant can be a tremendously successful career change, but like most things it’s not for everyone. It takes a special type of person to be a successful consultant – are you that person?

Here are the top ten things you should ask yourself before jumping into the consulting business:

1. Am I a self-starter? Working as a consultant means being your own boss; it also means you are responsible for getting yourself moving each day, setting your own goals, and holding yourself accountable. You have to be a motivated self-starter if you want to succeed in consulting.

2. Am I willing to do administrative tasks? When you become a consultant you’re generally going to be responsible for all aspects of running your business, not just the consulting part. You must be willing and able to handle all of the numerous administrative tasks that come with running a consulting business, including answering the phone, processing invoices, opening the mail, answering emails, and the like.

3. Am I willing to market my services effectively? Your clients are not going to just fall into your lap; you’ll have to get out there and market your services effectively. That means using a combination of advertising, networking, personal sales calls, and the like.

4. Am I willing to take some risks? The rewards of becoming a successful consultant can be tremendous, but getting to that point of course involves taking risks financially, professionally, and personally. Are you willing and prepared to take these risks as necessary?

5. Is my family supportive? Your life is going to change dramatically when you become a consultant, but you’re not the only one who is going to be affected by the changes. Your family has a large role to play in this process, whether it’s accommodating your need to work irregular hours, cutting back on expenses until your consulting business takes off, or simply getting used to your working from a home office.

6. Is my credit good? When you become a consultant you’re going into business for yourself, and that almost always means needing access to credit. It’s a good idea to review your credit status before starting your business so you will have a very clear idea of how much and what type of credit is likely to be available for your needs.

7. How long am I willing to work at being successful? Remember that it takes time to be a successful consultant; the exact amount of time necessary will of course vary from person to person. Your business plan should include realistic forecasts for how long it will take to get established and move into profitability, which in turn will help you decide if you’re willing to invest the time necessary to reach that point.

8. Is there demand for my area of expertise? Consultants work in just about every field and discipline you can imagine, but of course some areas are more in demand than others. Do some research and get some realistic projections about the actual demand for consultants in your area of expertise.

9. What does the marketplace look like for my field? After you have established potential demand for your consulting field, take a closer look at the actual marketplace for your services. Pay attention to things like how many others are offering the same kind of services, whether the market for your services is predominantly local, regional, or national, and what the going rate is for your type of consulting services.

10. Am I willing to seek the right kind of help? The biggest mistake you can make as a consultant is to think you have to do everything yourself; nothing could be further from the truth! Don’t be afraid or reluctant to seek the right kind of help, whether it’s setting up your billing system, handling administrative tasks, learning how to market effectively, uncovering profitable networking opportunities, or the like.