There seems to be some confusion around what it takes to become a consultant.
Some people say that yes, you do need a degree in order to break into the field as a consultant. Yet others claim that all you need is experience and the entrepreneurial bug to make a living as a consultant.
So which one is it?
Do you really need a degree to be a consultant?
No. You’re not required to have a degree in order to be a consultant. Your chances, however, of being hired by a company to consult for them is higher if you at least have a bachelor’s degree. If you want to be a self-employed consultant, you do not need to worry about having a degree. Your success will be directly in proportion to your skills and the ability to sell your services.
Experience plays a huge role in your success as a consultant.
You can have multiple degrees, yet not have much practical experience. In this case, your degrees won’t serve you much as a consultant. You’re better off gaining experience and hands-on knowledge out in the field.
Of course, there is no real downside to having a degree. But if you are holding off from pursuing your dream to be a consultant because you don’t have a degree, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Especially if you have a skill or expertise that is valuable to other people.
What Makes A Great Consultant?
Great consultants are game-changers for individuals and companies.
They have the ability to take a specific situation in any niche and turn it around for the better.
With a good consultant on your team, you’re able to achieve your goals much faster.
Here are 5 traits that great consultants possess:
1. Knowledge and experience in a specific field.
Some of the wealthiest people we know today never got a college degree.
A few of them are Steve Jobs, Rachael Ray, and Larry Ellison. However, they are geniuses in their specific fields. Knowledge and practical experience trump a degree every time. (I am not suggesting that a degree is always a bad idea – it’s not. I sure hope my doctor or dentist went through proper training before treating me!)
But the best consultants have something that they excel at that others want. If you want to become a consultant, ask yourself what you already good at that other people struggle with? What’s one area of interest, talent or skill that you have that many people have to work hard to achieve?
That could be your consulting niche.
2. The ability to communicate really well
One of the things that make consultants great is the ability to communicate well and bring a point across in a way that is simple and applicable to their clients.
Being able to communicate is one of the most important skills a consultant must have. Very often a consultant is hired for a specific skill that they possess. Yet the best consultants are able to take that skill and relay it to the client in a way that is simple and easy to grasp.
3. High emotional intelligence
The best consultants see through the bull*** and call people out on the things that might be holding them back. This not only calls for high emotional intelligence but also for the courage to say the things that need to be said.
The consultants that get the job done are there to ensure that the specific target or goal is reached. This means being awake and recognizing self-sabotage in people that he or she is working with.
4. Confidence in your ability to deliver
A consultant that doubts if he or she can make a difference for a company or an individual’s life, might lack the confidence to truly be of service. Because the last thing a consultant needs, is to be self-absorbed with doubt as to whether or not he or she can help someone.
You’ve got to be very confident that the knowledge that you have can truly help someone else big time.
If you know that you have a skill set that people need, you have a good chance of making it as a consultant.
However, if you’re always doubting your ability to deliver, consulting might not be for you.
5. Sales ability
I will always bring this one up. Because without sales, you can be the best in world but you won’t be able to survive. (If you’re consulting to get paid, that is).
If you want to be amazing as a consultant and earn great money doing it, you’re going to need to be able to sell your services. This means knowing how to prospect, how to handle a sales encounter and pitch your services. Many consultants (and coaches, for that matter) are great at what they do but they struggle with getting clients. This is the single biggest reason people don’t pursue their dream of being a coach or consultant.
50 Consulting Niche Ideas
There are endless ideas and niches on topics you could become a consultant on. Here are a few to look into if you’re wanting to be a consultant.
- Website Design
- Website Developer
- SEO Consultant
- Facebook Ads Consultant
- Adwords Consultant
- Youtube Consultant
- Public Relations Consultant
- Event Planning Consultant
- Interior Design Consultant
- Self-Publishing Consultant
- Editing and Copywriting Consultant
- E-commerce Consultant
- Fitness Consultant
- Weight-loss Consultant
- Dating Coach
- Health and Wellness Consultant
- Fashion Consultant
- Time Management Coach
- Wedding Consultant
- Sales Consultant
- Computer Maintenance Consultant
- Home Office Consultant
- Business Consultant
- IT Consultant
- Image Consultant
- Language Study Consultant
- Voice Coach
- Beauty Consultant
- Color Consultant
- Efficiency Consultant
- Parenting Consultant
- Marketing Consultant
- Environmental Consultant
- Brand Consultant
- Software Development Consultant
- Career Transition Consultant
- Retirement Planning Consultant
- Corporate Consulting
- NLP Consulting
- Communications Consultant
- Lifestyle Consultant
- Online Dating Consultant
- Project Management Consultant
- Public Speaking Coach
- Life Purpose Coach
- Financial Management Consultant
- Nutrition Consultant
- Divorce Consultant
- Team Building Consultant
- Strategic Planning Consultant
1. Where do you start if you want to become a consultant?
If you want to start a consulting business, there are a few important things to do before actually getting started.
However, I don’t recommend waiting to work with clients until you’ve figured everything out because you’re likely to never get started like that.
So let’s look at a list of things you need to do to get started on becoming a consultant:
- Figure out what you’re going to consult on. Are you going to be a Health Consultant, an IT Consultant or will you help people self-publish their own books? Get clear on your niche.
- Write out your consulting package. Get clear on the length of your program, what you’re offering every week and what your prices are going to be.
- Start prospecting. Talk to everyone you know about your new consulting business and use social media to get the word out. Test out your services and tweak them as you go.
- Open up a business bank account and prepare your business contract.
- Have sales calls/encounters and start selling your consulting services.
I highly recommend you check out this article to help you walk through the step by step process of starting your own consulting business.
2. What Is A Consultant’s Salary?
It kind of depends on what type of consulting you do. Many statistics indicate that a consultants salary ranges anywhere between 57K – 110K per year. However, if you are a self employed consultant, your income is unlimited, as you’re able to work with the amount of clients you want to work with. Additionally, you’re able to set your own prices and create a schedule that suits you.