Online Consulting – Is it profitable and how can you start?

2016-12-13T14:31:40+00:00

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What is an online consulting?

Online consulting is a veeeery vast term. It covers a considerable amount of jobs. Jobs that usually appear due to the market demand. Honestly, everyone with a decent knowledge on a particular topic can become a consultant on it.

The Oxford Dictionary provides a definition of a consultant: A person who provides expert advice professionally.” This does not sound complicated, doesn’t it? What is more, an expert advice does not necessarily have to come from the mouth of an expert! However weird this may seem to you, try to reconsider.

First of all, in today’s world, it is very hard to keep up with the development of technology. Thus, becoming an expert in a certain field requires constantly updating information. And with this rapid development of technology, it is quite easy to do so. It won’t be that big of an overinterpretation to claim that everyone can become an expert now. It, of course, requires a lot of studying, patience, and self-confidence. You will most likely have to take risks and sometimes count on your luck. But with enough tenacity, you will succeed and then you will quickly realize that the struggle was worth it.

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The market for management consulting is growing ferociously. According to Bloomberg, in 2013 in the USA 42 percent of clients planned to hire more consultants, and 5 percent planned to boost their spending on consultants by more than 50 percent.

Also, the U.S. market in 2013 grew 8.5 percent, to $39.3 billion. Marketing and sales being the fastest growing area (25.6%) And those the statistics concerning only the USA from 3 years ago. It has been constantly growing all around the world. It would be nice to be a part of this multibillion-dollar market, wouldn’t it?

There is no secret behind being a great consultant. All you need is your knowledge and maybe some intuition to properly analyze the market and offer the best solution to your client’s issue. Make sure that you have as much information as you could gather about the subject that you are consulting in. That should be enough.

However, there are some things that you have to consider before taking this career path. Let’s discuss those most important:

  • Formalities – You can be amazing at your job as a consultant but there will be times when a lucrative contract gets filched from you by the person, who owns a document that proves his capabilities. If you feel that you have the right qualifications and there is a possibility to receive a certificate proving your skills. Remember that an investment in oneself is never a wrong investment.
  • Abilities – Even if you do have all the possible certificates, you have to be sure that you know what you are doing. Make sure that you are up to date with your area of expertise. You do not want to disappoint the client. After all, your opinion is mostly based on online reviews.
  • Getting Organized – You really have to know how to get things done in a most efficient day. Without properly planning your day you won’t survive long on the market. Also, have a long and short-term goals set before you start building your business.

Every consultant, especially a freelancer, is going to need some tool that can help with time management. Our time tracking app can definitely help with that! Sign up with TimeCamp and try it for free. If you are looking for online consultants, you can check our list here.
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In what fields are consultants being sought?

Now that we came to the idea of building your own business, let’s see what fields are the most popular (and in result profitable) among online consultants:

  1. Accounting – Always is and probably always will be. Every business, no matter what size, needs accounting. If you are good with finances, this is your cash cow.
  2. Advertising – All companies need accounting, and probably 98% of them need advertising. If feel like you can develop and handle a good advertising campaign, this is something for you.
  3. Auditing – If you are good with math and enjoy handling money, thousand of companies everywhere are looking for auditing consultants.
  4. Business – If you quickly find the right paths in the complex labyrinth of world’s market, you will probably be able to help every business spread its wings. Good business consultants are a rare treasure and they earn loads of money.
  5. Business writing – Not many CEO’s and managers like to write their own reports. They can pay you well to do this for them!
  6. Career counseling – There are millions of people who can’t decide which way to go in their professional life. Thus, there is a constant demand for career counselors. If you like to work with people and you are good with it, this is a job for you.
  7. Communications – Sometimes the companies need a person that will help their team members understand each other better. If you can take the team communication to another level, boosting the performance of the group, the managers will sprinkle you with money =]
  8. Computer consulting – You probably have the idea how many people from the older generations have problems with even the most basic computer activities. Well, some of these people are business owners and they can pay well for consultation.
  9. Editorial services – There is a lot of work to do for an editor in every company. From writing newsletters to filling corporate annual reports. And usually, it doesn’t require any technical skills, only the language ones.
  10. Headhunter – The companies have to find and hire you, so you will find and hire employees for them. Sound funny but requires great knowledge and intuition.

Why is there a need for consultants?

Now that you know what are the 10 most profitable paths of career for  a consultant, it is high time you learned why would a company need you. This should help you prepare a solid business plan before you hit the market. Here are the five main reasons:

  1. Consultant’s experience and expertise.

    This is where your track record plays the main role. All sorts of evidence that proves your capability will be helpful. That is why, if you are a beginner, it is best to take every sensible opportunity to gain more experience and add something to your resume.

  2. A fresh look at the company’s problems.

    It happens from time to time that even the best machine suddenly seizes up. It may be the same in the case of a team, or a company’s system. People who have been working there for years often find it very difficult to identify what the problem is. However, the consultant hired from the outside may be able to  immediately do it.

  3. An additional member of the team.

    Many businesses will choose to hire a consultant if there is a need to supplement the team working on a huge project. The consultant just does the job and moves on, while hiring a full-time employee would cost the company much more.

  4. A catalyst (or even someone to do the dirty work)

    There is this popular movie with George Clooney when he runs a successful business that huge corporations hire to fire employees for them. That is perhaps a bit too drastic but the idea behind it is absolutely brilliant – CEO’s and managers do not want to be associated with negative emotions. They want to be respected but not feared, as it influences the team cooperation. This is where a consultant may be needed – to say a few harsh words, give a wake-up call, or even tell an employee that his or her services are no longer needed. Only for people who leave their emotions at home though =]

  5. For the objectivity

    An objective opinion from the outside may be essential for the company in trouble. The consultant is hired to give an honest judgment, therefore he or she does not need to worry about the reaction of the management.

Summing up

Those are only a few reasons why the consultant is needed, there are, of course, plenty more. This is a profitable business and the best thing about it is that it does not require years of education. You can be self-educated and do just fine. Even better, with enough hard work and confidence in yourself you can achieve huge success. The online consultation market provides amazing possibilities – take your courage in both hands and get to work. Good luck!

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