Many are now turning to consulting as an alternative to a full time 9 to 5 position—and loving it. In today’s competitive marketplace it’s only too easy to find a pink slip on your desk, even after years of dedicated service. There are excellent reasons for considering consultancy. Retirees may decide that they want to apply their hard-earned skills to a different field or recent post-secondary graduate could be looking at seriously limited employment opportunities.
The first step to becoming a consultant is to sit down and write a full description of the areas of expertise that have been acquired, and that includes specific knowledge, experience, and skill sets. The next step is to identify a niche market that is in need of the expertise. Given that skill sets can transfer from field to field, becoming a consultant is an opportunity to delve into an area that holds genuine interest. Finally, it is essential to define personal goals, primarily in terms of the income desired and how much time to devote to working.
Success in consulting depends on having a keen understanding of the niche market and its needs. This is the time to identify new market trends and to acquire the certificates and licenses necessary to operate as a consultant in the field. Being in possession of the knowledge and skills is only half of the consultant enterprise—the other half is pure business. Being a successful consultant means constantly expanding the network of contacts, acquiring referrals, and studying the competitors.