You’ve wanted to start some kind of business for a very long time now. You’ve had business ideas in the past you never acted on, but now you have all these skills from your career you can use to start a consulting business.
Whether or not what you’ve learned in your career is related to your degree, you have skills people pay you to use everyday. You know that with the right plan in place, you can get people outside of your job to pay you, too. You just have to figure out how.
Until that happens, you’re pretty much stuck at your job, which comes with a few things you don’t want to deal with. It could be:
- your job doesn’t pay you what you deserve to be paid
- your boss hasn’t given you the promotion you know you’ve earned
- your job pays you pretty well, but requires you to deal with too much nonsense
- you simply want your time back and know that the whole 9-5, Monday to Friday thing isn’t right for you
You want to pay yourself, work hours that make sense for you and your family, avoid stupid meetings & work politics, and stop waiting for someone else to give you the raises and promotions you deserve!
…just as soon as you can figure out what kind of consulting business you’re going to start.
So let’s figure that out. Right now.
The kind of consulting business you should start
I don’t know your work history or your skill-set, and I’m not Miss Cleo, so it probably wouldn’t be helpful for me just tell you what kind of business to start. I mean, I could say, “You there! You’re going to become an Underwater Basket-weaving Consultant!!” but I doubt that would help you.
Do I even know if you can swim?
But what I can do for you, without even knowing you yet, is give you a head start to launching a successful consulting business you can actually use to replace your job.
The first and second thing you need to do
Good news! You’ve already done the first thing: you’ve decided this is something you want to do (even if you haven’t figured out when and how, you can admit you want this). If this thought keeps coming back to you, it’s probably not going anywhere. You want this, you just keep putting it off because you think you have more time.
Also, you already have an idea of what service you’ll be selling because you’re already skilled in it (you just need help packaging it, which we’ll get to). That’s the second thing. People spend time thinking, for years, about what they should be doing when it’s not that complex. Start with what you know. You already have an advantage if your consulting business idea is related to the job you already have.
So, whether you realized it or not, you’re already up to the third step: figuring out the right business model for you.
Before we figure that out, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about the word “consulting”.
What exactly is consulting?
Some people hear “consulting” and think it means having clients who pay you to explain things to them. Some people think consulting means getting paid fix problems in a hands on way, either for your client or alongside your client. Consulting can be any of those things, or a combination of those things, but not every method is right for every consultant.
In a nutshell, consulting typically means “providing expert advice”. However, we’ve seen this definition evolve as we constantly find consultants who are also practitioners and provide hands-on services as a part of their consulting menu. We train our clients and students for success on either, or both, of those paths.
You already have an advantage if your consulting business idea is related to the job you already have.
Understanding consulting models and choosing the right one for you is even more critical if you’re a new consultant. The best way for you to get started in consulting is probably going to be determined by your personality and your work style (which I’ll explain).
What’s a business model?
Some business models will work better for you than others. If the phrase “business model” doesn’t resonate with you on a deep spiritual level yet, I’ll define it for you. Your business model is your method of selling a product or service. A few examples are:
💰 a subscription model (like Netflix or a gym) where customers pay up front each month and have access to Netflix’s product or the gym’s services.
💰 a done-for-you model (like a plumber or a surgeon) where clients pay for a practitioner to do a service for them. This is a model a lot of our clients are interested in.
💰 a retail model (like a sneaker store or candy shop) where a customer pays for a single, or small quantity of items, from a company who buys them wholesale (buys a large quantity of items at a lower rate than they intend to sell them).
Don’t get overwhelmed by business terms like “business model”. People who aren’t that smart make lots of money in business. If they can do all that, you can grasp these concepts like it’s nothing.
Your business model is your method of selling a product or service.
“Consulting” is a category of businesses, it’s not a business model. You’ll make business really hard for yourself if you choose a model that doesn’t work for you. Here at House of Brand Therapy, we’ve identified four Consultant Personality Types which naturally match up with specific business models. Yes, I’m saying that your personality can determine the business model that will work well for you and can make starting your consulting business a lot easier than if you choose a model that works against you.
In a moment I’ll give you my tried-and-true method of finding out your Consultant Personality Type and natural business model. You’ll learn how you should build and sell your service, and even learn a bit about what clients your personality type needs to avoid.
Figuring out your type
Before you find out your type, let me tell you about what happens when you end up in the wrong model.
When you start running your business, and are doing a good job, other potential clients are going to hear about your work. So if what you’re doing keeps attracting the wrong clients (i.e. people with tiny budgets) or if you want to change the work you’re doing, it’s hard to make those pivots without having gaps in your income.
Understanding consulting models and choosing the right one for you is even more critical if you’re a new consultant.
You’ll likely lose clients if you change your services too drastically and rebranding costs time and money. When you get your business model right from the beginning, you can focus on growing your business instead of pulling your hair out trying to figure out how to get better clients or change up your services without losing money.
This doesn’t mean you need to agonize for years before you launch. If you’re not a professional in creating business models or brand building, going back-and-forth in your head about your business idea won’t help you make the best decisions for success anyway.
Instead, here’s what you’re going to do:
2. develop a plan for profitability (do not build it and hope they come; they won’t)
3. figure out your target audience and cater to them so well your competition is obsolete
4. create a service your audience buys because it solves problems they can’t stop thinking about (not problems they only think about sometimes)
5. use your service to build your brand (that’s a gem right there) and to grow your sales
This way you won’t get stuck “figuring it out” without being profitable for years, when you could be working with the right clients for your personality type, who aren’t phased when you hit them with I’m-not-an-amateur prices from day one.