Do you want to start a successful consulting business? Here is a dedicated guide for all who want to establish a consulting business with no experience on the side.
Anybody with respective knowledge in any field can start a consultancy business with very little investment.
Necessarily this does not have to be a working experience. You may know how to cook but may have never worked in a restaurant. You can still be a cooking consultant.
So, experience doesn’t count. What you know, that matters. Yes, you can start a consulting business from home with no experience. This business is rewarding too as it will help others to start their business with ease.
10 Steps to Start A Consulting Business on the Side with No Experience
Let’s get started. Find below a complete step-by-step guide on what you need to do to start an independent consulting business without any prior work experience.
Step 1. Starting With The Basics
Before we start, you need to understand how a consulting business works. It’s a business at the end of the day, so you need a plan and business model.
You will have clients coming to you with their problems, and you need to solve them.
Most importantly, you need to be really good at what you want to consult about. Excluding work experience doesn’t rule out expertise. If you have no work experience, you will have to walk that extra mile. While your competitors already have the edge, you need to push it up a step further.
Building a sustainable consulting business in the long term is our goal. So, do follow each step carefully and responsibly.
Some of the strategies you can take to gain experience are the following:
- Work as an Intern or do volunteer work
- Find a Mentor and work with him
- Do industry research and solve case studies
- Initially offer free/ pro bono consulting services
Step 2. Select your Niche
So, as we begin, you could either be a gardening expert or a culinary consultant, or a WordPress expert. Anything. Nowadays, not only lawyers, marketing, or financial analysts offer consultations. At present, you have a wide variety of options to choose from.
But, you need to pick something which has some sort of demand. Understanding the market is important.
You may become an expert in a respective field, but if it has no demand, how will your business run?
So, working on that gap between demand and supply is important. To start with, you need a business plan. You are the boss, so you do it on your own. But do make sure it covers all including what will you do when there’s a crunch and how to tackle difficult situations.
Step 3. Understanding The Business Side of Consulting
On a fine morning, you may plan to open up a consulting business but to make it successful, you need to plan it. It’s a damn business. If you don’t strategize, you will phase out in the long term.
It’s no ball game.
You will have to find clients, maintain them, and check on the progress, agreements, marketing, finance, invoicing, billing, client management, and so on. It’s not easy. So, you need to be determined to be successful in the long term.
The cherry on the ice is the flexibility of working hours.
You can fix up a few hours every day to be available or only work on fixed appointments. You have the freedom to work from anywhere at any time. But maintaining discipline is important to stay profitable.
Step 4. Start Gathering Knowledge
Supposedly you want to be a digital marketing consultant and have no working experience, you need to learn it. Thanks to the internet, today you can do almost learn anything, be it building a car or selling handmade soap roadside.
So you got to learn it all. If possible, completing a couple of certifications would add to your credibility.
You may even join some company or consulting business for a few days as an intern or part-time worker. Make this a part of the business plan. The time you invest here will help you in your business in a lot of ways.
You don’t have to be here forever. As you start working at this place, start to plan your own business accordingly. See what they do, how they approach clients, how they market, and more.
Practical experience teaches you more than a course or book ever will.
Step 5. Planning It Up
Once you start planning, make sure to do it well. Have a sustainable business plan. Focus on customer relationships rather than profits. To be very honest, as a consultant with no prior working experience, you have a hard time during the first few months or quarters.
You just need to stick to it. Keep motivating yourself, and do remember why you started.
If you can give your best in the next year, you can see the change yourself. You will soon have your own market, and with a bit of experience, you will start to get clients. You just need to give your best shot.
Step 6. Learning All The Required Skills
You have to learn all the skills related to your expertise. Having all the necessary skills will offer added credibility to your own business. Do some market research, and find out what clients actually want.
Supposedly you are a digital marketing expert, and see that most clients seek data analytics and content marketing.
Learn these skills and market them as your USP. Companies or individuals will approach you then for these respective skills. Having niche expertise in a sub-category offers you an added advantage over your competition.
Step 7. Deciding The Prices
Coming to the fees you wish to charge, you need to play smart here. If your consulting niche has already a lot of competition, make sure to price it way below the market pricing. Initially, you should attract clients at a low price.
As you have no working experience and charge low, clients will take a chance with you.
Now the game’s on your court.
Give your best. Make sure your client has all his queries solved, and they have a solution or recommendation. With a few clients, you can choose to start charging more as the business grows.
Step 8. How to Get Clients
As an all-new consulting business, it’s important to take the word out. You have to invest strategically. This can either be rigorous marketing initially or in parts for a longer marketing plan.
You have to be clever about what you market.
You have to sell your expertise. So the market accordingly. Clients need a solution. So you have to market what they need, not what you want to sell. You can even choose to experiment with a few campaigns before deciding on the final one.
Some of the marketing strategies you can opt to get clients for your consulting business are listed below:
- Create a professional website and write articles
- Attend industry events, conferences, and seminars and build relationships with potential clients and partners.
- Ask for referrals from satisfied customers
- Seek opportunities to speak at industry conferences, webinars, or podcasts.
Step 9. Set Accounting & Administrative Processes
It’s really important to keep track of all your existing clients. Do remember that they are still your prospective clients. If you offer the best of services, they will refer you to other people, and these people will refer you to others. Build a chain.
Maintaining a good customer relationship can help you create a sustainable long-term business.
It is advised to hire an accountant if you are handling multiple clients.
It is extremely important to have proper accounting software and proposal-generating software to track day-to-day activities in running this business.
If you feel that the list is not manageable for you anymore, hire someone. Invest, but do not compromise on customer experience. It’s the base of any successful consulting business.
Step 10. Keep Upgrading
To grow and expand, you need to upgrade. You may start as a business consultant but should consider working with other verticals as well. For a business consulting agency, you can add up marketing, customer management, advertising, and the list goes on.
It’s up to your field. Choose the popular side categories, and keep adding them.
Upgrade your skills, and you can soon turn your home consulting business into a successful startup with a full-fledged office and workers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much is the Cost of Starting a Consultancy Business?
Though not much, there are some costs that you have to bear while starting and running a consulting business. The cost includes company registration fees, license costs, insurance fees, accounting software maintenance fees, stationary expenses, and promotional costs like visiting cards, and launching and maintaining a website.
In addition, if you are operating from an office, the rent cost of the space will be added.
On average, the cost of starting a consulting business will be in the range of $5000 to $15,000 depending on the location and scale of operation.
What are the Advantages of Running a Consulting Business?
The benefits of working as a business consultant are plenty. Some of them are as follows:
- You can set your own time schedule.
- One can work from anywhere including from home.
- Unlimited earning potential
- You will be your own boss.
- Opportunity to work with a wide range of industry sectors.
However, as with any other career, consultancy business owners also face some disadvantages. It is not a 10 to 5 job. You are supposed to work and think like a business owner. You have to own the problems and challenges that the owners are facing. Furthermore, you have to be disciplined and must have good time management skills to succeed in this business as you will be working with multiple clients.
The consulting industry remains one of the most sought-after businesses with one of the highest profit-churning avenues. You may have no experience now, but start small and start consulting business on the side and you can soon turn it into a successful venture in a few years!
About the Author: 99businessideas.com led by Rupak Chakrabarty is committed to helping beginners, entrepreneurs, and small business owners in starting, managing, and growing their businesses.