So you’ve decided to make the leap into becoming a consultant – congratulations. Now what the heck do you do?
The first step is to decide what area of consulting you’re going to get involved in. You probably have a consulting field in mind. If your background is in finance then financial consulting is probably where you should be headed.
Use Your Experience
Been a marketer for years, then becoming a marketing consultant makes the most sense.
This isn’t to say that you can’t venture into a completely new area. But if we’re to look at the entry point of least resistance and make your life easier, you want to jump into a consulting area where you’ve got skills.
Why? The simple reason is that you’ve already built up some credibility and can demonstrate your experience. Remember, a consultant isn’t just a contractor that a company pulls in to get work done. A consultant provides expert advice and recommendations. And it’s hard to make recommendations if you don’t have the past experience or knowledge to pull on.
Nothing’s impossible. So if you really want to get involved in an area that is completely new to you go ahead. But be prepared. You’ll need to devour as much literature and education you can get your hands to learn the ins and outs of the subject.
That said, the biggest mistake most new consultants make is thinking they have experience in an area, when all they’ve really done is read a bunch of books or blogs.
Reading can make you knowledgeable, it doesn’t make you experienced. For that you need to put time into the game and get your hands dirty.
Getting Your Hands Dirty
Practical experience teaches you more than any book ever will.
Another consideration for you is to choose an area that you’re passionate about. As I mentioned in “How to Become a Consultant – Part 1” one of your biggest challenges will be to keep yourself motivated and moving forward. It’s very hard to do that if you don’t enjoy the work you’re doing and if your area of focus doesn’t stimulate or excite you.
I hope this has given you one or two things to think about when choosing what area of consulting to enter as you become a consultant. Next time, in Part 3 we’ll look at how to make sure your consulting services stand out and get noticed in the marketplace.