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What is Consulting?

Let’s explore some of the basics of consulting.

Definition:

A career in which a professional is hired, usually on a short-term contract basis or for a specific project, to provide expert advice on a subject, training to company employees, or to provide temporary support for the client..

Types of Consulting Work:

  • Management Consulting
  • Legal Consulting
  • IT Consulting
  • HR Consulting
  • Small Business Consulting
  • Marketing / PR Consulting

Skills Needed by Consultants:

  • Time Management
  • Presentation / Public Speaking
  • Networking
  • Organization
  • Self-Discipline
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Leadership
  • Teaching / Training
  • Research
  • Administrative
  • Math Skills

Questions Every Potential Independent Consultant Should Ask Themselves:

  1. Will consulting really help you achieve your career goals? For example, if one of your career goals is to spend less time working and more time with family, but you plan to start a consulting career in a field that will likely take up more than 40 hours per week in the beginning, consulting may not be the best solution.
  2. Do you have the necessary skills and credentials? You may need a degree, professional license or other form of experience before your services will be appealing to clients.
  3. Are you at a point, both mentally and financially, where you can leave your current job to pursue a career in consulting? If you don’t have enough money set aside to cover at least several months’ expenses, or you want to start consulting just because you can’t stand your current job, you need to do more planning before making the switch.
  4. Are you willing and able to constantly be a salesperson? If you’re going to be too intimidated to approach potential clients either in person, through the mail, or on the phone, then you need to find someone else to help you with that before you can jump into independent consulting. At least 25% of your time will be spent selling yourself and your services. If you can’t do that, consulting might not be the right path for you.
  5. Is there really enough of a demand for your services that you could make a decent living, or is the market already saturated? If no one needs your services, or if there are already enough consultants or other professionals providing the services, you need to re-think your target market or the services you plan to provide before you start working for yourself.


Questions to Ask Yourself if You Want to Join a Consulting Firm:

  1. Do you have enough experience in your field to be attractive to a firm?
  2. Would a small firm or a major firm fit your career goals better?
  3. If you want to become a consultant to escape your current job’s atmosphere, will a firm provide enough of a difference to satisfy you?

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