Consulting businesses are excellent ways to start a business of your own when you previously worked in a very services-specific industry. This doesn’t mean offering a service that people can buy, but rather offering a service that businesses used internally. For example, if you are a sustainability advisor or an IT specialist.
While you can always start a business with the right ambition and funds, it is important to play to your strengths. When you are, for example, a data analyst, it’s going to be hard to sell your services the way a plumber might because people don’t often have a job that they need a data analyst to do.
Or, rather, they don’t think that they do. In truth, every business and even every individual could benefit from a data analyst’s services. The difference between offering a straightforward service, and being a consultant, is the level of advice and help you offer on top of it.
Data scientists and analysts don’t just collect data for their employer; they also extract insight and make suggestions on how to use those insights in actionable ways. That is the service that you offer, and it is perfectly suited to become a business of its own.
Consulting businesses work with companies for improvement. As a data analyst, you can offer solutions for things like operations efficiency, personalization, machine learning, Big Data, and more. Work with your strengths, and use this guide, and you too can get started with a successful consulting business:
Further Your Own Qualifications
The first step to starting a successful consulting business is to improve your own personal qualifications and skills. Unless you are already at the height of your career and are well-known by your name alone, you will want to:
1.Get Certified in Your Existing Skills
You can have a lot of skills that you can prove only through your work experience. This is okay, but it isn’t the best place to start when you want to run your own consulting business. In addition, people can be very nervous when it comes to bringing a consultant on, so you need to offer them as many trust signals as possible.
Get certified by taking tests, exams, or even completing certified courses for a wide variety of things, from better business practices to diversity training, to sustainability, to your specialization. There are many ways you can improve your business skills and prove them with the right certification.
2. Consider Specializing Further
If you are mid-range or only have just a few years of experience under your belt, you will want to offset these concerns with further formal qualifications. If you are a data analyst, for example, you can specialize in either machine learning & AI or in Big Data; on top of that, become more proficient in the analysis by enrolling in one of the best data science masters programs online.
Grow Your Name and Reputation
You can start to do before you quit your current job to start building up your name and your reputation. There are multiple ways that you can do this:
- Start a Blog or Podcast
Starting your own blog or podcast is a great place to start because there are no barriers to stop you. Simply get started. You’ll learn a lot about marketing and content creation along the way, which are two skills that will be instrumentally helpful when you are ready to start your own business.
- Guest Post
Once you have a blog or podcast (or both), you can then use that burgeoning digital presence to guest post on other websites and news sites. As you continue, you’ll find it becoming easier to guest post and even be paid for said posts on big publications, where you can advertise your name, your business, and your expertise.
Collaboration is excellent. It is how you can get your name out there, how you can learn more, and also how you can open new doors that would never have existed otherwise. Collaborate with others in your field for a variety of projects, both educational and specific to your specialization. For example, you can benefit by collaborating with another data analyst to host a podcast just as much as you can by working on a project to collect and analyze trend data.
- Speak as a Guest
There are many instances where you can speak as a guest. The best places are at industry-specific events and also at universities. If you can become a guest speaker at either of these locations, you can then start to really build up your name and reputation in your field. Not only that but speaking at these two types of events can do wonders towards marketing your expertise to others.
You will want to keep this up as well, especially after you start your own consulting business. Any opportunity to show off your expertise, and your business’ name, will be one more marketing opportunity.
How to Start Your Consulting Business
Starting a consulting business is similar to starting any business. You will want a business plan, you will need funding, and you will also need a viable means to get started with clients. If you have friends or acquaintances who know your plans and are happy to hire you once you get started, you are ready to go.
If not, then use the new connections you have forged through your education and your efforts to expand your reputation. You may find that people start calling you up before you are ready to launch, just by publishing your business next to your name in the About the Author section of your articles.
In other instances, you will need to sell your business. However, if this is not something you are great at, investing in either a marketing company or in a small sales team will be the best way to get your business off the ground for the best chance of success.