Dell Technologies

Advice for Prospective Consultants

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Technology has sparked a boon in self-employment, and thus a spike in interest in consultant work. More and more people have discovered an interest in transforming their special knowledge or passion into a career path advising other business people.

But what does “consultancy” mean? What qualifies a consultant, exactly? The definition is straightforward; a “consultant” is simply “a person who provides expert advice professionally,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

A “contractor” is widely understood as a worker whose main relationship is not with the organization itself. A “temp” is a person whose relationship has a set time-limit with a company. But as for “consultant,” the definition is much more fluid. The nature of the position depends on the knowledge and talent the consultant has to offer, as well as the demand. Hence the independence of the consultant, as well as the increasing desirability of the career path.

Technology has revolutionized outreach for newcomers to the field. Networking is often the greatest challenge, and the internet has multiplied opportunities to sell one’s wares. Whether through social media, websites, or directed email marketing, with the proper expertise and talent, a new consultancy firm can start from the comfort of one’s home.

Various Considerations Stand Out for A Prospective Consultant:

1) Most important, a prospective job- seeker should consider their qualifications. A consultant must have the expertise, credentials, and education to advise their clients properly. Part of remaining qualified is staying up to date on current news and trends within the field.

2) Organization is crucial to maintaining an independent practice. Consultants are generally independent business people. As such, the new business-owner must have the self-discipline to plan their day and manage their time. Keeping records and managing workflow must be done independently and efficiently.

3) Many fields recommend special licensing and certification. For example, companies may expect a specialist in a certain software to receive certification by the manufacturer of that software. On the other hand, such certification is not likely necessary for a more general specification.

4) Networking is important. As a free agent, a new consultant will need to build contacts to bring in work and stay at the top of their field.

5) Consultants must set goals. These goals should stay realistic with the requisite time, resources, and energy needed to build such a business.

Demand abounds for consultants in many fields. In 1997 US businesses spent over $12 billion on consultants, according to the Association of Professional Consultants in Irvine, In 2019, the United States was the world’s largest management consulting market. In that year, management consulting services were valued at approximately 71.2 billion U.S. dollars.  The global management consulting market was valued at 160 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.  According to   This is extraordinary growth in this industry.

Anyone can work as a consultant these days. Nothing limits the scope a consultant’s practice other than their talents and passions. The trick is to recognize a marketable niche in one’s background and repertoire of skills. Perhaps during of years of volunteer experience, the new consultant has developed expertise in event-planning or public relations. Perhaps a computer enthusiast can put their years of tinkering to use in the IT field. Whatever the worker’s experience or niche, for an in-demand skill, a drive and passion for excellence is the key to success.   With the pandemic and the new normal, more companies will rely on consultants.

Is A Consulting Business Right For You?

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By Debbie Gregory.

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A lot of people feel that they lack the training or expertise necessary to become a consultant. They feel that in order to be a consultant that they need to be an “expert” in one given field. Consulting is one of the best ways to be your own boss. You can work one-on-one with clients, provide online training, give talks or seminars, or combine them all. A consulting business can be started with very little capital, very little overhead, and a handful of clients. Thinking about a career in consulting? Do these four traits describe you?


1.) Are You Already Successfully Consulting?

If you have some experience and are continuing to learn in your chosen field, even one or two small successes can help build your credibility and lay the foundations for your solo consulting career. Each individual case that you work on provides you additional tools that to help a client solve his or her challenges.


2.) Do You Enjoy Helping Others Succeed?

The best consultants are compassionate and sensitive to the needs of their clients. They seek to understand the individual issues facing their clients and then use this knowledge to help them find the tools for success.  A consultant is teacher. You cannot show up for a client and solve their problems for them. Your job is to give them the tools that they need to succeed without you holding their hand. A true and honest desire to share your knowledge, expertise, and experience is a clear indicator that a career in consulting could be the right path for you.


3.)  Are You Someone Who Genuinely Loves to Learn?

To be successful as a consultant you must always be learning. You will start with a good grasp of knowledge about your particular field but you must be able to quickly gain knowledge of your client’s business, and their industry as a whole, in order to help them maintain their credibility (as well as yours). Learning can take place in many ways – you can sit and learn from the client themselves, or read about their industry, learn about their competition, speak with their team members, speak with their customers – basically find as many ways as possible to gain insight into each client’s specific field.


4.) Do You Thrive on Variety Each Day?

For the 9-5 crowd their day very rarely differs much from day-to-day. The routine is roughly similar day in and day out.  Even when projects change, they are dealing with the same team, the same target audience, the same products, and so forth. People who make the best consultants crave new experiences and unique challenges that working with clients in all types of fields bring to their day.  They strive to be the problem solver who finds new solutions to various new issues each and every day.


Being a consultant and running your own business is not for everyone. It is drastically different than the traditional 9-5 where you are working for someone else; thus it comes with its own challenges but it also comes with a lot more rewards. There is a good chance that if you have the traits listed above you already have everything that you need to make a successful career out of consulting.

Consulting is an excellent fit for both Veterans and Military Spouses and can be done remotely.