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.