If you are an over 50 “industry-expert” who is downsized or forced into “retirement” you may be able to turn your knowledge into dollars. Consultants make money from selling what they know. Oh yes, there are plenty of jokes about the increase in the number of consultants when the economy is poor, and yes almost anyone can claim to be a consultant. A good consultant, however, not only knows his or her subject but also has passion and a drive for excellence. Other characteristics a good consultant will possess are:
Business Acumen – understanding how a business operates, what drives decisions, and what make the industry unique.
Pragmatism – looking at solutions from all angles before designing, recommending, or implementing a solution.
Professionalism – committing to the highest standards of ethics, integrity, and confidentiality.
One can consult in almost any subject but the areas in current demand are: Accounting, Advertising, Auditing, Business, Business Writing, Career Counseling, Communications, Computer Consulting, Editorial Services, Executive Search, Gardening, Grant Writing, Human Resources, Insurance, Marketing, Payroll Management, Public Relations, Publishing, Taxes, Writing Services.
Are there any certifications or special licensing I will need? In some states professional fund raisers must be registered with the state before beginning your business. The National Society of Fund Raising Executives offers a certification, however it is not required for consultants to have this certification. If you thinking about becoming a computer consultant, regardless of your skills, some potential clients may want to see a collection of Microsoft certifications.
Do I like to network ? Networking is essential to the success of any type of consultant business. Begin building your network of contacts immediately.
Am I organized enough to be a consultant? Not only must you organize the data you collect or are given, you must have excellent time management skills, and an ability to organize your day.
If being the expert and solving a client’s problems is appealing, here are some steps to help you get started.
1. Renew old acquaintances and refresh your recent contacts in your chosen industry. This might even include contacting the company that downsized or “retired” you to see if they use former employees as consultants.
2. Write out your mission statement of what you intend to help your customers achieve with your consulting help. Keep it under 25 words!
3. Go through your files and look for letters of commendation, awards, etc. Contact friendly outsiders who have expressed a willingness to write testimonials in your behalf.
4. Examine any special insurance, bonding, etc. you will need in your chosen field, such as errors and omissions insurance. Find vendors and get cost quotes.
5. Decide on a business name and get a professionally-designed logo. If you are on a tight budget, you can get matching business cards, letterhead, and envelopes through online sites. Consider: Zazzle.com, vistaprint, US.moo.com.
6. Create a website that is simple in construction and professional in appearance. You can customize a template offered by a web hosting company, use software such as Dreamweaver or MS FrontPage, or find a local developer to work with.
7. Decide if you will need a one-page Letter of Agreement or will need an extensive contract to conduct your business. If you will need a formal contract, find a local business attorney to work with.
If becoming a consultant fits your skills, expertise, and post 5o life-style, read more at http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/41384-1