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Could you become a consultant?

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Could you become a consultant?Want to run your own business? Consider a career as an independent consultant. Be your own boss, call your own shots, work when and how you want – sound good? Careers in management, scientific and professional consulting will grow 78 percent through 2016, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’ve ever wanted to become an independent consultant, now may be just the time you’ve been waiting for.

Consulting has few barriers to entry

Compared to other businesses, a consulting business requires little in the way of start up cash or equipment. Once you’ve got a desk, a computer, a phone and some business cards, you can get going on a shoestring budget. Most independent consultants work from home, cutting their costs further. Of course, as your business grows, you may want to invest some of your earnings into marketing, equipment and other basic business expenses.

Moonlighting can help you make the transition to consulting

Many consultants start their businesses a little at a time. Some people start by taking on projects when they already have a day job, parental leave, time between jobs, a setback at work or other opportunities. Even if you don’t have time to moonlight, you can develop a business plan, create a marketing strategy, put together a corporate identity and start going to networking events. When you’re ready, you can start taking on clients and projects.

Personal inventory guides can help you figure out a niche

If you’re unsure of what consulting business you could start, try building a personal inventory that helps you collect your interests, experience, goals and other personal attributes. You can order a work book to help you develop a personal inventory for consulting, such as Discover Your Inner Consultant – a guide to helping you discover what kinds of consulting businesses might be right for you.

Once you’ve chosen a consulting niche, you can start planning your launch as a consultant. You’ll want to work out the details of starting a business, set your own fees, and start finding clients. From there, the sky’s the limit – you’ll be calling the shots.

Andréa Coutu, MBA, has run her own independent marketing consulting company for more than 10 years. She also runs Consultant Journal – an online resource that helps real people survive and thrive as independent consultants. Read her blog at www.consultantjournal.com.

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