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Why would you want to work 8 hours/day for someone else when you can work 16 hours/week for yourself and earn more as a consultant?
Becoming a consultant is a hugely popular career choice for people who have real expertise in an industry, sector or a business discipline and have good interpersonal skills. In consulting knowledge is king but there are also a few traits all successful consultants share:
As a career choice, to become a consultant is a viable option for many business professionals at different stages in their career. A recent study in the US revealed that approximately 33% of graduated MBA students go into consulting for the first year following their degree. Also, the study revealed 22% of retired business professionals come back to business as a consultant following their retirement to share knowledge and experience with others.
In addition to the expertise and specialism in a sought out business area, you will also need to be very good at selling yourself to potential clients – why would the client hire you and not a Big 4 consultancy? This discussion with potential clients will circle around much more than just price, because before you walk in the door the client knows you will not charge them as much as a consulting firm would. It might not be a bad idea to attend a marketing and selling course specifically for consultants before you go out and try to seal deals with clients. These courses are usually nationwide and you can check out places like Learning Tree for course availability and location. The other major quality you need to have is relationship building. Building professional, trusting relationships with clients is crucial in consulting. Clients will need to be comfortable giving you work knowing that you will complete on time and within budget and they can trust you to do that. Of course, during your first few consulting jobs it may be difficult to build that trust – given you are new and do not have a lot of experience under your belt, but as you get more and more projects under your belt and build trust with these customers it will go a long way and potentially give you more and more business.
You can become a consultant in just about any field, but here’s a list of business areas that are most popular for consultants:
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