How to Start a Consulting Business

Published on March 9, 2012 by Tracey Fieber

Retirees who find themselves itching to return to the working world may find a manageable balance by offering consulting services. Consulting tends to work well as an encore career for many retirees because it is an inherently flexible line of work: you consult with individuals or businesses as much or as little as you choose.

Of course, in order to get to a point where you can control the amount of work coming in, it’s important to set up your consulting business by following a few general guidelines.

Guidelines for Establishing a Consulting Business

  • Choose your field. For some people, choosing a consultancy field will be obvious. Others may have a variety of areas to choose from. I suggest doing some research to determine which of your areas of interest are in high demand and could be easily translated into a consulting business.
  • Identify certifications and / or licenses you will need. Laws regarding certification and licensing requirements vary greatly depending on where you live and what profession you want to practice. One of the first steps you take toward launching a consulting business should be researching the legal guidelines for someone wishing to consult in your field where you live. And if you want to consult remotely to people in other parts of the world, be sure to find out how your certification will or will not translate.
  • Get organized. Organization is crucial for consultants, especially as they start a new business. Be sure you have an effective system in place that will let you take care of marketing, client communication, billing, and the other essential pieces of a consulting business.
  • Start (or keep) networking. Having a strong network can make all the difference as you launch a consulting business. In the early stages, you can get an idea from your network about what kinds of consultants are in demand right now; as you proceed, you can earn referrals and suggestions from people you’ve helped.
  • Set short- and long-term goals. Even if you’re pursuing consultancy part-time, it’s important to establish short- and long-term goals to ensure that you get out of your business what you want. If you aren’t careful, a successful consulting practice could end up eating up the time you wanted to devote to the hobbies you looked forward to while you were working the first time around!

By following these simple guidelines to start your own consulting business and you will have a successful encore career designed on your own terms.  You can do it!

Published in Blog, Business, Financial