It’s a little rough out there. The rise of inflation, uncertainty in the job market, and higher cost of food and gas make you want to create your own stability. You’ve thought about launching a side hustle or business but you don’t have a product to sell. The only value you have is your career experience and background, which makes you think about becoming a consultant, but you don’t have experience.
Not having consulting experience actually isn’t an issue and shouldn’t get in your way of becoming a consultant. You’ve done all of the hard work of developing your career experience with a proven track record – now is the time to monetize your knowledge.
I know this sounds easier said than done, but you are more capable than you give yourself credit to launch your consulting business. That’s why I’m sharing the 5 essential steps to build up your confidence to become a consultant.
Before you start having any doubts about becoming a consultant because you’ve never done it before, take a moment to revisit your past year-end or quarterly reviews from your current or previous job. Write down and organize your big wins, and project accomplishments, and identify any recurring praises about a particular skill or characteristic. The purpose of this exercise is to see in black and white the accomplishments, competency, and abilities you’ve built in your career.
You might be surprised by the very long list of your skills and capabilities. It’s one thing to just think about what you’re good at but it’s another to see and read it, especially from a manager’s perspective.
After you’ve completed your list (and give yourself a little pat on the back!) It’s time to score each accomplishment and attribute with a score of 1-10 (ten being the highest). Give a score of how confident you are with providing this as a service to others.
What’s the point of doing this step?
It will help you identify your niche and to help avoid any services that you’re not fully confident in providing. We all have parts of our job that we enjoy doing and do it well. And there are parts that we would rather do without that don’t compromise the ultimate outcome.
Hold on to this list because you’ll need this in the upcoming steps of identifying your niche and knowing when/what to say no.
As a new consultant, you may be thinking of making your services not too specific to keep your ideal customer base as broad as possible. The fewer specific services and customers the greater the chances of landing a client, right?
The more generic services you offer the harder it could be for the client to know exactly what they want and need help with.
It’s a waste of time and energy if you have to convince someone of your services and if they don’t know exactly what they need help with, you could be potentially set up for the failure of not delivering to their expectations.
Here are a few questions to answer to help you identify your niche.
Identifying your consulting niche will help bring focus and clarity to your brand messaging and content creation for marketing.
[in]Sider Tip: Answering the questions to help you narrow down to your profitable niche, combined with your professional mission creates the ideal headline for your Linkedin profile. Improving your headline is just the start in order for your profile to be discovered by new prospects. Learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile HERE.
What exactly is an informational interview? It’s an informal interview with a person who is in the position you are looking to become, or with a person who could be your ideal prospect.
The objective of an informational interview is to collect information first-hand from the perspective of a consultant or a customer.
The information you gather will help you have a better understanding of what to expect as a consultant and what’s expected by the client. It’s probably one of the most important steps for a new business owner to do, however, probably the most overlooked. Maybe it’s because they don’t know where to start but the solution is simple- LinkedIn.
Utilizing LinkedIn and your network to help you find people to interview is at your fingertips.
As a newbie to consulting, you will be tempted to say yes to anything remotely close to your service offering, but it’s a dangerous trap you don’t want to fall into. Knowing what you’re not great at or don’t want to do as a consultant is just as important as knowing your skills and strengths.
Sticking to what you excel at and are the expert on, will guarantee the delivery of results – critical wins for the initial clients. You want to build a solid record of successful client projects to develop a reputation that will ultimately lead to future referrals.
The key takeaway is to remember your original list of services you can confidently achieve and what areas you should opt out of because they’re not in your wheelhouse or you just don’t want to do them. Identifying you’re no’s now will save you the stress or potential failure of accepting a project you’re not interested in or qualified for.
You know you’re capable of providing excellent advice and service but your personal brand online doesn’t fully reflect this. As a future consultant, you will need to start sharing your expertise and knowledge with others by creating content.
Posting on LinkedIn will help build your personal brand, gain recognition and showcase your expertise. Creating posts with intention will provide a clear focus on your services.
Soon you will begin to build an audience who will support your content and who are looking for exactly what you have to offer.
I hope these 5 essential steps to becoming a consultant have given you the confidence to believe in your capabilities and competency to start your consulting business. Always start with what you know, by revisiting what you’ve accomplished in the past. Then get laser focus on the area where you thrive and can deliver. Lastly, begin to build your personal brand online and find an audience who will support or need your services.
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