Why now is the perfect time to start your own consultancy business?
You’ve spent most of your working life building up an impressive range of skills. You’ve got a broad knowledge base in your area of expertise and some quite specific or niche skills. Now you feel an increasing urge to do something different because you don’t want to stay in that sort of environment for the rest of your life.
Maybe you’ve earned a professional degree, but the regular job opportunities are limited due to reduced budgets or your personal situation, such as having a young family.
Or, maybe, you are passionate about a specific area, like organisational psychology, or planning events and you want to use your talents to help others, but you can’t find a role that ticks all your boxes.
So, what do you do?
One solution that many others in situations like these have found is to is set up a consultancy business in their chosen field.
While self-employed consultants have always been around in some form, particularly in areas like marketing and finance, flexible work is a growing trend that shows no signs of stopping. Consultants usually provide services or advice to multiple clients at the same time and may employ others or work independently. There are no standard rules on how to structure a consultancy business.
See our article Is being self-employed a good career choice?
Robots are no good at being human
There’s no denying that robots are taking over routine jobs, but they can’t replace humans when it comes to jobs that require skills like empathy, negotiation, collaboration, creativity, or helping others. They can’t chat to us about ways we can make our lives better. It takes a real person to do jobs with these sorts of skills and this is where the jobs growth will be. Consultants are in the ideal position to create their own opportunities in areas that need human minds.
Areas that are ideal for consultancy work
Many of us look to others to help us plan both our businesses and our lives. We want tailored information and customised services that we can call on as we need it. Sometimes, we can get help from others through online platforms, but what we generally prefer is someone to sit down with us face-to-face and talk though our current and future needs and options. Above all, we want them to care about what happens to us.
As individuals, many of us seek professional consultants because we are time-poor and don’t have the hours available to research information in depth. Sometimes we don’t have enough experience, so we need professional help for short periods or one-off tasks.
David Johnston began his career in financial planning but soon found that his clients really wanted help to make better short and long-term property decisions, especially regarding their family home. He decided to start his consultancy business, Property Planning Australia, as no other organisation was specifically addressing this need and he really wanted to help people take the time and get their decisions right.
Other personal consulting areas with a strong demand include:
- Career coaching and personal branding
- Lifestyle coaching
- Event planning
- Financial consulting
- E-bay coaching
Small business operators, in particular, can’t be experts in every aspect of their business. It’s hard enough just setting the business up and running it each day. It makes no sense for them to employ their own specialists, even part-time. It costs too much, and they may be under-utilised when business is slow. It is often much better to call in consultants as needed instead. As online accounting software provider MYOB states in their article, Australia moving to a Freelance Economy:
“By taking advantage of freelancers (including independent consultants), businesses owners can free themselves up to look for new opportunities for business growth, without sacrificing business profitability, customer service or losing peace of mind that important tasks aren’t being looked after.”
Even medium to large businesses prefer the flexibility of contract workers to either work with the managers or join multi-disciplinary teams for specific projects. Consultants here might come from areas such as:
- Marketing/social media
- IT solutions
- Change management
- Process improvement
- Data research and analysis
- Financial modelling
- Project management
Who might start a consulting business?
Anyone with an interest in a specific or niche area can become a consultant. What skills and knowledge do you have that others need?
In many areas, you don’t have to have formal training, but you do need to show that you’ve got had successful experiences in your chosen niche. In other words, you need to know what you’re doing. However, some consulting niches are especially suited to those with business qualifications such as an MBA, marketing, finance, and so on.
Earning potential and advantages of consultancy work
Working for yourself has many benefits. For many professionals, the main appeal is the ability to choose their own pay rate based on the quality and value of services they provide. Your weekly income may not be constant, but your annual income can often be equal to or better than your previous salary.
In her article, 5 Reasons why the best talent has started freelancing for Expert 360, Aneesa Bodiat points out that high-skilled workers are increasingly turning to freelance-style consultancy work out of choice rather than necessity.
Other reasons people make the switch from traditional employment include stepping away from office politics, being able to choose when, where and how you work, and having control of your own career path. As a consultant, you not only get to be the boss of you, but you get to help others in the process.
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David Johnston is the founder and Managing Director of Property Planning Australia and author of ‘How to Succeed with Property to Create your Ideal Lifestyle’ and “Property for Life - Using Property to Plan Your Financial Future”. Property Planning Australia was established in 2004 – born out of David’s vision to help all Australians make successful property, mortgage strategy and money management decisions.
In his recent podcast interview on The Mentor List, David kindly shared, not only his personal journey as a consultant but also his insights into how we can best make property decisions based around our lifestyle goals and the current economic climate. If you are considering buying or selling property at some stage, you won’t want to miss David’s interview.
Kick start your personal journey to success from the conversations David has with his inspirational guests on The Mentor List. www.mentorlist.com.au
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