Consultant Guide

We are Consultants

Find everything you need to know to be a better Consultant.
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Working from the Outside In

Offering the best of both worlds, the role of a consultant helps you keep one foot in the corporate world while the other is free to roam, offering flexibility, challenge, and balance for your career and life. With the ongoing evolution of business, consultants are in demand more than ever across all segments, including strategy, technology, marketing and employee relations.

A Consultation for the Consultant

If you’re considering a career as a consultant, consider this a free consultation into what it involves, how to set up a business and attract clientele, best practices for project and time management, and how to set rates and establish cash flow. Just like the role of a consultant, this comprehensive guide is intended to give you the resources to apply to your personal situation to make an informed decision.

What is a Consultant?

Consultants are experts. They use their expertise to help others build the businesses and the lives that they want to create. They may have an insatiable curiosity about an industry and want to share what they’ve discovered. Or they’ve already got their hands dirty, learned on the job, and want to share their experience.

We can all benefit from expert, outside opinion, someone who can see the things we miss and provide specialist analysis that we can’t create ourselves.

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The Value of a Consultancy Niche

Every business is unique. Every life has its own special issues. The closer the consultant’s expertise to the client’s goals, the more willing they’ll be to buy that expertise—and the more they’ll agree to pay for it.

That’s why choosing a niche can be such a powerful strategy for a consultant: a fintech consultant or a creative consultant rather than a general business consultant.

A niche market will be smaller but there will be less competition and a greater willingness to buy.

The Price of a Consultant

Consultants sell valuable knowledge built up over years of study and experience. The effects of that knowledge can be millions of dollars in additional revenues, the turnaround of a struggling business, or the launch of a successful new product line.

Consultants make a difference.

Pricing that difference can be challenging. Some consultancies charge by the hour and others by milestone. Fixed fees are also common. How much to charge depends not just on the amount of work involved in a project but also on the value of the result. We’ll explain how to put a price on your expertise.

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Building Your Consultancy Brand

A consultant is an expert in their chosen field. But every field has more than one expert. What makes a client choose one consultant over another? How can a company executive know which consultant will give them exactly the advice they need?


Branding matters for consultants as much as it matters for any other kind of business.


Consultants need to show the unique way they work, the special results they can produce, or the distinctive knowledge that they offer. Find out how to make your consulting skills stand out.

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Are you experienced, talented, and have a unique skillset that any organization would love to acquire? Would you rather work for yourself than someone else? Then you may want to consider becoming a consultant.


Fortunately, you’re not alone.


Consulting is a business that’s on the rise for both clients and the self-employed. In fact, research conducted by Source Information Services discovered that 42% of clients surveyed planned to bring in more consultants in the near future.


If being a consultant is starting to look more and more like a promising career path, then here is a guide to help you get started.

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Consultant FAQs​

What Type of Services Do Consultants Offer?

Consultants offer a wide range of services depending on the fields and niches they operate in. Some consultants will look at how businesses are operating and prepare reports that can help them to work more efficiently, find new markets, or cut defunct product lines. Other consultants are more hands-on. They can act as freelancers, writing code to streamline a system, drawing up a business plan for a start-up, or overseeing a process of change at a business.

To understand what kind of service your consultancy should offer, look at the services offered by competitors appealing to the same market and decide which kind of services you want to offer.

Is Creating a Consultancy Expensive?

It doesn’t have to be. Some consultancies are huge affairs with big offices and dozens of salaried staff. But there’s no reason a consultancy can’t begin in a home office with a website, a mobile phone, and a good LinkedIn profile. The more you invest at the beginning, the faster you’ll grow but you can start small and grow at a pace that suits you.

Finding Your First Clients

Consultants can find clients on freelance job sites but much of the work comes through connections. Start-ups that need help with their VC pitch talk to entrepreneurs who have already won funding. Conference attendees remember the consultant they met after a technical panel.

The first clients are always the hardest but once you’ve built your name, you should find that the work continues to flow. Find out how to begin.

Financial Planning for Consultants

Like many self-employed people, a consultant’s revenues can be volatile. Some clients will pay monthly retainers while others will only deliver lump sums at the end of the project. That makes financial planning for consultants a challenge.

Consultants who are self-employed can’t rely on their employers to pay into their retirement fund or provide a 401(k). They need to make sure that they’re saving for their own futures. It’s a little-discussed but vital part of being a consultant.

What Qualifications Do Consultants Need?

Consultancy qualifications depend on the field. Industries such as real estate, insurance, and finance usually require licensing or certification. They show that you have the necessary knowledge and that people can trust you.

Other kinds of consultancy though, will require nothing more than your ability to demonstrate your expertise, and the connections to bring in new clients.

Who Hires Consultants?

Consultants are hired by business large and small, as well as by individuals to benefit from expertise they lack. A giant corporation, for example, might bring in consultants to plan, then implement, a shift to a more agile way of working. A start-up might turn to a consultant to help them prepare their VC pitch, identify their unique sales points, and even connect them with people who can provide funding. Individual entrepreneurs use consultants to help them identify how to build their business and where to focus.

How Can I Tell if Consultancy is Right for Me?

Consultancy isn’t for everyone. If you want to be involved in a company from the beginning and stay with it as it grows, then consultancy probably won’t be for you. But it will be for you if you’re someone who gets a kick out of helping others. If you like the idea of facing a different problem on each project, generating a solution, then overseeing the implementation of that solution before moving onto a new problem, then consultancy might be for you.

Bear in mind though that consultancy can also unreliable and it can be hard work. It can involve plenty of travel and long hours.