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How to Start a Consulting Business Online

9 min read

Considering how to start a consulting business can be both difficult and daunting, but it doesn’t have to be…

Starting a consulting business, as trying as it may be, can be incredibly lucrative and fulfilling. However, the trick lies within formulating a process from which you can propel yourself from start to finish (your end goal). Before you start a consulting business, you must have a full understanding of the process. Luckily, this five-step process is incredibly easy to understand and implement.

Many people struggle to start a consulting business while working full time. It can be difficult to split your time and work on the side. Thankfully, this five-step process is applicable to anyone, of any background, in any situation. These simple steps will not only help you start a consulting business, but also teach you the key facets of becoming a business owner and what your duties will entail. By following these steps, starting a consulting business will be what it should be: exciting!

Let’s get started.

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1. Choose a Business Model

In the industry of consulting, there are a variety of business models. The key steps toward building a recognizable and memorable brand are understanding what distinguishes you, understanding what model you fall under, and determining how you’d like your brand to be viewed based on your values, principles, and morals. The following are just a few examples of the different consulting business models…

Solo consultant model

Solo consultants work closely with their clients and manage their needs while completing all project work themselves. The solo consulting model is great for individuals who love to work alone, and work best when they are the ones who are solely responsible for the outcome.

This model is also a great fit for those who seek a profitable, lean, and flexible consulting business. However, this model will not be the right fit for those who intend to sell their business, or intend to stop and pick back up again later.

Consulting firm model

Those who operate within the parameters of a consulting firm model are responsible for running the firm rather than just working on client projects. The consulting firm model works great for those who don’t want to be focused on the day-to-day work, and for those who want to build a business that can operate without them.

To that effect, this makes the consulting firm model much easier to sell one day. However, this model may not be the right fit for those who either don’t like or are uncomfortable managing people.

Productized consulting model

In this model, one essentially turns their knowledge of consulting into a productized service. A productized service is a repeatable series of steps that deliver a predictable outcome for clients. This model is simply turning your expertise into a process that is reliable for customers, and is often effective only for those with proven consulting experience.

This is a great model for those who wish to build a scalable business, and to remove themselves from day-to-day work. This model is not ideal for those uncomfortable with managing others, those wanting to work on new projects daily, or those without relevant years of experience.

Hybrid consulting model

The hybrid consulting model is a combination of the three aforementioned models. You essentially pick and choose what you like about each model and ultimately make it your own.

This model is ideal for those with years of experience as a consultant with the expertise and management skills necessary to start a consulting business.

2. Be Clear on Your Ideal Client

As in any industry, understanding and having a clear picture of your target audience is crucial to success. Ask yourself who your consulting business will serve? Why will you serve that group in particular?

Many people underestimate this step or simply skip over it entirely while thinking that anyone could use their service. That’s a big no-no! Overlooking or ignoring this step can make it very difficult for you to attract clients via the right marketing strategy. Ignoring this step can also result in losing many potential projects. In short, you’ll need to know who your ideal client is, and why!

3. Create & Price Your Consulting Offer

Whether you set up a lemonade stand as a kid or sell NFTs, understanding pricing and profit are essential to a business’ success. The same goes for starting a consulting business. Remember, you possess a unique set of skills that can resolve the issues and problems which your client seeks you out to resolve.

Your offer is a culmination of the services you offer to create your client’s desired results. Due to this, pricing your offer can vary across the board depending on the client. The end goal is to land upon a price that is universally derived from your level of experience, expertise, and the services that you can offer.

You should always consider how important the result is for the client, and base your offer on how intense their need is. From there, consider whether or not your fee is hourly-based or project-based. The best way to approach a client with an offer is by having options ready.

Be sure to emphasize the differences in structure between each offer, and the services provided as well. Remember, as a professional consultant there is a reason that your services don’t come at a bargain rate!

4. Create a Marketing Strategy

Having a sound marketing strategy in place is key after you’ve determined your model, understand your ideal client, and have pricing accounted for. Now it’s time to find your clients! Hopefully, you have already considered where your target audience is easily reachable, be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Indeed, or even people you may know already.

Crafting copy and content that captures your audience within their specific demographic is key to ensuring that you garner interest in your service. This step is often accomplished through some hard work and long hours drafting messages, emails, content, etc.

However, many of those working with how to start a consulting business often rely on a third party for their marketing.

5. Fire Up Your Website

Once you have all of your ducks in a row, it’s time to fire up your website!

Be sure to incorporate the aesthetics of your brand and clearly voice your values and standards for clients. Clients love relatability, trustworthiness, and conviction, which shouldn’t ever come as a surprise.

Be sure you have a solid layout and road map in place when you’re ready to create your website.

Do You Want to Start a Consulting Business?

In terms of websites, few find anything more cost-effective, customizable, effective, or efficient as Ecwid. Ecwid is the platform that offers a variety of plans, all of which aim to assist you in your journey toward starting a business. Ecwid offers marketing, analytics, 24/7 customer service, transactions, and much more through a free platform.

Start here today!


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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