Replace 9-to-5: Laying the groundwork
You’ll begin by identifying your specialties. Again, this doesn’t mean you must be a trained expert on the topic. You just have to know more than your clients do.
Survey your skillset. What do you feel you have the most experience with? What marketable skills would people be willing to pay to learn? What is your target audience struggling with?
If you’re already involved in online business, chances are you have a good idea as to what market you’re going to venture into.
If that sounds like you, start by identifying a fundamental challenge (problem) in your industry and then create a consulting business around solving that problem.
If you are brand new to online business, or you haven’t yet chosen your niche market, evaluating the knowledge and skills you already have is the best way to start.
Everyone has information that would be valuable to someone else. Whether you’re able to teach someone how to master a popular software product, or you know of a way to overcome an obstacle of any kind, that knowledge can be turned into a profitable consulting business.
Kellie Dixon generates over $100,000 a year teaching women how to lose weight by following the LCHF diet. She goes beyond just handing over recipes because, as a consultant, she becomes their coach, someone who motivates her clients every step of the way while cheering them on throughout their journey.
Kate Riley makes over $10,000 a month teaching new authors how to publish their books on Amazon. She scaled her consulting business to include access to virtual assistants and cover designers, and her clients are more than willing to pay for those resources.
Regardless of what you’re interested in, chances are there’s a wide-open market of clients who need your help. The key is to identify your skills and then validate the market to ensure there’s enough of a demand to begin building a clientele.
Knowing what skills you are going to market is key to a successful consulting business.
Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
Are there people already offering your service?
Competition is a clear indicator of a healthy and viable market. If you discover that other consultants are successfully training clients, then you know it’s a market worth considering. You just need to find a unique angle that will set you apart.
Are there people actively searching for your topic?
If you see the same questions being asked in your market, chances are, people will pay for help solving their problems. Look for posts on Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter from people in your niche. Pay close attention to recurring questions or requests for help with specific topics. This is a great place to generate ideas for your consulting business.
If you want to dig deep into your niche, you’ll also want to join popular Facebook groups. This will put you in close contact with your target audience and help you get a feel for what they’re most interested in. It’s also a great way to advertise your services later on.
From online businesses looking for help expanding their outreach, HR departments needing help with filling positions, to start-up businesses wanting to build brand awareness, consultants are being hired to help maximize exposure and overall visibility, discover new sales channels and connect with their customer base.
But companies and start-up businesses aren’t your only potential audience.
You could easily create a consulting business geared towards the everyday person who wants to learn how to make money online, start a new blog, create an Etsy shop, or tackle web design. The possibilities are endless.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering your angle:
- What are people actively paying for help with?
- What is lacking in existing consulting services?
- What do people in your market struggle the most with?
- What problems could you help someone overcome that will improve their lives or their business?
- What kind of services can you offer that businesses or people need, but wouldn’t hire someone full-time for?
By answering those questions, you’ll be able to find your niche and tailor your services to appeal to the majority of your market.
Once you’ve identified a need, it’s time to start planning your consulting business so you can attract the right clients.