Have you ever considered yourself a consultant? The title “consultant” used to be reserved for retired diplomats and former top executive officers. They would be recruited because of their “contacts”, rather than their practical knowledge. Their “consultant” role was more honorary than actual. That picture has changed dramatically over the last few decades of my career. In the many things I’ve done, consulting with my wide variety of clients has been one of my favourite activities.
My Interior Consultant
Today, you can hire a consultant for just about anything. The “prestige” of the consultant role, if there ever was any, has changed. My cleaning company calls themselves an ”interior consultant”. Don’t get me wrong, I love the value my cleaners bring to my life, but their role isn’t primarily of an advisory nature. Similar to my cleaners, the number of “consultants“ for almost any problem in life has increased tenfold.
Today, the array of available consultants to do anything imaginable is continuing to grow. This makes independent consulting one of the fastest growing businesses in the country today, and something to consider if you’re looking to expand your career portfolio.
To avoid confusion, here’s my definition of a consultant: A consultant is an expert at recognizing problems and offering advise with regards to potential solutions to those problems.
Creative Problem Solvers
In some of my coaching work, I’ve been called a ”creative problem solver“. That about sums it up, but the focus for me has always been to be a trusted advisor. A true consultant doesn’t necessarily execute the work or implement the solution to the problem he recommended. That’s a role for true subject matter experts on the advised solution, who could possibly work under direction and guidance of the consultant to translate the solution into the proper fit for the business problem.
The need for these “creative problem solvers“ among large and small businesses worldwide has never been greater. It’s one of the reasons I started an online training business for entrepreneurs: helping entrepreneurs build and grow their brand, while they continue to focus on doing the work they do best.
Your Story Helps Others
What area of work have you been involved in? What expertise do you have that could help others? You don’t have to have half a century of experience behind you in order to offer meaningful advice to others. In my book writing program I tell my authors they have experienced something in their life, that when shared, could be of benefit to others. That’s consulting at it’s finest. And yes, in my opinion every self-respecting consultant should have written at least one book on their area of expertise to help them stand out from the crowd, but that’s a topic for a different post about writing books.
You can consult on any subject that you have top-notch experience in. If you’re an expert in any field, you can ”farm out” your expertise and create additional streams of income. Consulting, writing a book, and even teaching online are just a few opportunities to turn your knowledge into cash. The idea is to turn something your good at and passionate about, into a “side hustle”. This article gives more ideas on how to share your passions with the world.
When you’re not feeling well, you (should) call your family doctor. If your car isn’t running well (or at all), you talk to a mechanic. The same goes for a businessman when he or she encounters a problem: they look for an expert to help them solve their problem, whether it is in the field of accounting, legal, sales, marketing, information technology, or anything else that keeps them up at night.
Follow The Dream?
Qualified experts are needed for almost everything a person tries to accomplish in life:
Most businesses are started by an over-enthusiastic entrepreneur who rushed into a business, trying to “follow the dream”. Many dreamers invest their life savings in questionable projects without asking the hard question as to whether their dream is more likely to turn into a nightmare, or become a reality. This un-merited enthusiasm and dedication can be very dangerous. If it is not based on solid business foundation, it may cause people to chase after non-existent pots of gold at the end of the rainbow.
This is where you can fit in as a business consultant. It’s to provide solid advice on proven business principles to deserving entrepreneurs who are so passionate about their goals that they have the drive to succeed, but not necessarily to business knowledge to make that happen. That’s where you come in. Many of these deserving entrepreneurs have enrolled in one or more of my business classes to help them better their skills and ”sharpen the entrepreneurial saw”. They acquired the knowledge to succeed in areas where they needed the help.
Become An Independent Professional
If you’re considering a career switch, consider this. Another title for a consultant is an ”Independent Professional”. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? You are your own boss. While others may have to punch a time clock, adhere to company policies and find themselves stuck as a cog in the corporate machine, the independent professional never does!
A consultant gets paid to ”speak their mind” and give their honest opinion, without the need to take office politics or paying lip service to your boss into consideration. Good consultants shock, surprise, and discover new areas of improvement for their clients. You never get bored because you’re always finding yourself in a fresh environment with new faces, new personalities and new projects. It’s one of the things I love most when working with my clients. Each idea, project, and solution comes from within, and has my unique style and content stamped to it. It’s why I love what I do.
The Next Step
So what’s next for you? Here’s a few things to consider:
You can also pick up a copy of my Happiness book, which is really a book about happiness at work. For a lot of people “work” doesn’t equate to “happiness“. That’s why my book is an unusual book about work. And that’s why you’ll want a copy of it – because in the end, everybody wants happiness.