The dictionary defines a consultant as “an expert in a particular field who works as an advisor either to a company or to another individual.” Sounds pretty vague, doesn’t it? But unless you’ve been in a coma for the past decade, you probably have a good idea what a consultant is.
But what separates a good consultant from a bad consultant is a passion and drive for excellence. And–oh yes–a good consultant should be knowledgeable about the subject he or she is consulting in. That does make a difference.
Things to Consider Before You Become a Consultant
- What certifications and special licensing will I need? Depending upon your profession, you may need special certification or a special license before you can begin operating as a consultant. For example, fund-raising consultants don’t need special certification, although you can become certified through the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. And in some states, you may need to register as a professional fund-raising consultant before starting your business.
- Am I qualified to become a consultant? Before you hang out your shingle and hope that clients begin beating your door down to hire you, make sure you have the qualifications necessary to get the job done. If you want to be a computer consultant, for example, make sure you are up to date in the knowledge department with all the trends and changes in the computer industry.
- Am I organized enough to become a consultant? Do I like to plan my day? Am I an expert when it comes to time management? You should have answered “yes” to all three of those questions!
- Do I like to network? Networking is critical to the success of any type of consultant today. Begin building your network of contacts immediately.
- Have I set long-term and short-term goals? And do they allow for me to become a consultant? If your goals do not match up with the time and energy it takes to open and successfully build a consulting business, then reconsider before making any move in this direction!