What You Need to Know Before Starting a Consulting Business

If you have grown bored at your current job and are looking for a new challenge, perhaps you have considered starting a consulting business as a way to get you out of your rut and help you finally make the money you deserve. While it is true that starting a consulting business can be a great way to make a living on your terms, it is important to be prepared before you make the leap from paid employee to freelance consultant.

Running a successful consulting business requires some highly specialized skills, as well as a strong work ethic, dedication and a desire to succeed. If you have been thinking about starting a consulting business, chances are you already have these things in abundance, but it is still important to do a thorough self-assessment before you get started.

Starting a Consulting Business – Build Your Network

When you are starting a business, one of the most valuable assets you bring to the table is your network of contacts. Before you leave the nine to five world, it is a good idea to spend your time on the inside of the business world building your contact list and growing your network of colleagues and associates.

Keep in mind that it is often easier to make contact with other business people while you are still a full time employee, so do not be too anxious to make the leap to consulting. Take the time to network with colleagues and coworkers, both on the job and at corporate functions. Join the professional organizations in your industry, and attend industry events on a regular basis. Start building your network of professional associates – you can start tapping that network when you finally do start your consulting business.

Starting a Consulting Business – Financial Considerations

Financial issues loom large when it comes to starting a business, and it is important to be prepared before you make the transition from full time employee with a steady paycheck to freelance consultant paid on a per-project basis. Keep in mind that it can take some time to land that all important first client, and even more time before steady work starts rolling in. Being financially prepared for starting a consulting business is one of the key underpinnings of success in this competitive environment.

Having an emergency fund with at least six months worth of living expenses is important for any worker, but it is even more critical if you are thinking about starting a consulting business. In fact, you might want to salt away a year’s worth of living expenses, or even more, before making the transition from employee to business owner. Having such a big cushion will allow you to focus on building your business and growing your network, without having to worry about paying the rent or keeping the lights on.

With your finances taken care of, you can focus on the other challenges you will face when starting a consulting business, like finding clients and networking with those in the industry you are targeting. Before you know it, you will have landed that first client and begun establishing your reputation. Once your business is off the ground and running strong, you can start putting some extra money aside to help your business grow even stronger.

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