Do you have experience working for a company or organization?
Do you want the freedom to create your own work hours?
Are you ready to realize your true potential — in terms of both the impact you make and the income you earn?
If you answered “yes” to those three questions, an independent consulting business is the perfect type of business for you to start.
What is an independent consulting business?
“Consulting” is to provide expertise and advice to your clients in a business setting. An independent consultant is one who provides consulting services as a sole proprietor.
If you’ve worked at a company or organization, you’ve helped them with their business problems. You’ve accrued experience that can help other companies or organizations with their business problems. You have what it takes to launch an independent consulting business.
By the end of this article, I’ll show you how you can launch your consulting business quickly by focusing on what’s most important: your messaging, your offer, and getting clients.
These are the exact strategies I’ve taught to thousands of people around the world, helping them quit their corporate jobs, replace and exceed their income, and build a fun, rewarding, and impactful business.
What Should You Offer as a Consulting Service?
What type of consulting should you offer? And who should you offer it for? These are among the most important questions you’ll answer as a new consultant. Who you serve and what you do for them is the foundation of your marketing.
First things first: it pays to be a specialist.
A small fish in a big pond has to fight with all the other fish — for scraps. But if you’re the big fish in a small pond, you get the lion’s share of the food. As a consultant, you want to be the big fish in the small pond: the specialist.
Let’s say you want to be a “business consultant,” and you’ll advertise as such. It’s a start, but it’s far too general.
With this message, you won’t stand out or get noticed. It will be nearly impossible to get the attention of your potential clients.
Let’s improve this message.
“I’m a small business consultant.”
99% of businesses are considered “small businesses.” Nice try. It’s better, but you need to go deeper.
“I’m a lead generation consultant for small businesses.”
Now we are getting somewhere. In this message, you are stating what you do, for a specific audience.
But we can make this even better…
“I help socially-conscious small businesses generate more leads and inquiries to grow their sales.”
That’s more like it. This is what we call a Magnetic Message.
Imagine you’re trying to speak with owners of socially-conscious small businesses who want to grow their sales.
If they see this message, they will feel like you’re business was built for them. They’ll want to speak to you and learn how you can help them.
Now it’s your turn. Write your own Magnetic Message. Answer the three questions below:
- Who are your ideal clients? Who would you like to serve in your business? What industry are they in? Hint: what industry is your current employer in?
- What problem do they have that you help solve? What are they struggling with? What results do your skills create? Hint: what problems are you solving in your job right now?
- Why should they choose you? What experience do you have that makes you the best choice?
Why are you interested in what you do? Hint: What results and outcomes have you created for your past employers?
Answer these questions, and you’ll be able to put together a Magnetic Message that attracts the attention of your ideal clients.
Attracting a client’s attention is the first step before you can speak with them — and win their business. But before we get there, let’s talk about your consulting offer and fees.
How to Set Your Consulting Fees
If you play your cards right, consulting is a very lucrative business. You can earn a quarter of a million dollars per year working with just five clients.
Let’s break down how you’ll set your consulting fees.
If you get one client every two months, at $50K per project, that’s a $250K per year business.
“But Michael, how could I justify charging $50K per project? That’s a huge number!”
If you’re asking this question, you’re stuck thinking in “The Old Model”. It’s no wonder because traditional, 9-5 employment forces you to think that way.
The Old Model
- “I need to charge by the hour.”
- “If I charge too much, I’ll lose business.”
- “If I want to make more money, I have to work more.”
- If you want to generate higher revenue in your consulting business, you must switch to the New Model.
The New Model
- “I focus on the value and results my ideal clients care about.”
- “My fees are an investment, not a cost.”
- “I base my fees on the tangible and intangible value I’ll create for my client.”
Here’s the truth: your clients don’t care about how many hours it takes for you to deliver a project.
They care about the outcome, result, and the value they receive. If you can solve their problem and help them reach their desired outcome, they’ll invest in you. And the faster you can deliver a result, the better it is for your client.
So, how can you create an offer for which you can charge $25K-$50K?
Start with the end in mind: the result you can create for your client.
- If you can help a client train their sales team to increase their sales by $100,000+ do you think it’s worthwhile for them to invest $25k?
- If you can help a client attract and retain top talent that costs them $250,000 each year in hiring and training, do you think it’s worthwhile for them to invest $25K?
- If you can help a client improve their branding to generate $175,000+ more worth of leads per year, do you think it’s worthwhile for them to invest $25K?
Business-savvy clients would be happy to invest $25K-$50K if it gave them 300-400% returns.
You’re not offering just a “service” — you’re offering a RESULT.
Create your offer based on what will create that desired result for your client — and charge accordingly for the value you’ll create.
Jump Start Strategy: Get Your First Consulting Client
So, you’ve drafted your Magnetic Message.
You’ve thought about what result your clients want — and how you might price your ability to get them there.
Now, how do you go about winning that first consulting project?
If you want to “launch” your consulting business, start by getting your first consulting client.
If you can’t do that, forget about your business plan, forming an LLC, or setting up your home office. If you can get in front of your ideal clients and have conversations with them, you can win consulting projects. And if you can win consulting projects, you can generate revenue.
Without revenue, you don’t have a business. You have a hobby.
There are hundreds of different methods to get your first consulting client. I’ll give you the easiest method: leveraging your existing network. That means speaking to EVERYONE you know — your previous employers, your personal relationships, your LinkedIn connections — and telling them what you’re doing.
And since you’ve developed your messaging and have something to offer, you can make this very simple.
Here’s a script:
“Hey NAME, how are you? What’s new in your life? Quick heads up — I’m starting a consulting business where I’m helping INDUSTRY with PROBLEM so that they get RESULT. Does anyone come to mind?”
Here’s an example:
“Hey SAM, how are you? What’s new in your life? Quick heads up — I’m starting a consulting business where I’m helping tech start-ups to stop losing employees so that they don’t have to spend so much on hiring. Does anyone come to mind?”
Telling people that you’re starting a consulting business isn’t enough for them to help you. But telling them who you intend to serve, the problem you will solve for them, and the results you will create for them gives them three points of reference for referrals.
If this sounds promotional, it is. But the difference is that you’re promoting yourself to help people.
Marketing and promotion are part of the game. You’ll have to get used to doing it if you want to get consulting clients.
Don’t get distracted by the hundreds of marketing tactics to launch your consulting business. Instead, start by doing what you already know how to do: by having conversations.
Imperfect Action: Launch Your Consulting Business
Interested in starting an independent consulting business? You can — and you don’t even have to quit your job.
Follow the steps in this article to win your first consulting project.
- Create your message: WHO you’ll serve, WHAT you’ll do for them, and WHY they should choose you.
- Create your offer: Get clear on the value you’ll create for clients based on their desired RESULT, and charge based on that result.
- Leverage your network: Tell EVERYONE you know about your new consulting business and start having conversations with potential clients.
The typical “Consultant” works with a main client, gets paid hourly, has less freedom and flexibility — and is essentially a contractor. But by following these steps, you’ll position yourself as the “Entrepreneurial Consultant.”
That means you’ll work with multiple clients, charge based on value, have lots of freedom and flexibility — and be a real business owner.
If you can get hired by a company and solve their problem, you can get hired by multiple companies (clients) and solve their problems as a consultant.
And running a consulting business allows you to do the work you love, choose your clients, earn a great income, and realize your true potential.
What are you waiting for?
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