Do You Want to Be a Consultant – Try it Before You Buy It

The chance to be a consultant can seem quite exciting and glamorous, especially if you are a wage slave in search of a way out of the nine to five world. But depending on your own circumstances and expertise, the decision to be a consultant could be the best thing – or the worst thing – you ever did. The difference between the two could be as simple as making the right preparation. Learning the ropes before you give up the stability and security of your day job is one of the smartest things you can do. After all, striking out on your own is exciting, but it can be fraught with challenges and pitfalls as well.

One of the smartest things you can do if you truly want to be a consultant is start trying to line up clients through your network of friends and professional colleagues. This can admittedly be a tricky proposition, especially if your boss does not know about your plans to leave your current position and start a business of your own. But despite those dangers, testing the waters ahead of time can be a very smart move on your part.

In order to start testing the waters and learning as much as you can about the business of consulting, one thing you can do is join as many local business organizations as you can. Business organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, and service organizations like the Kiwanis Club, are rich sources of networking opportunities for business owners and would be business owners alike. If you truly want to be a consultant, you will want to be a member of these types of organizations anyway, so it will not hurt to join a few months early.

Networking with other professionals at trade shows and similar venues is another way to determine if you truly want to be a consultant. Even if you do not have a formal business yet, attending these types of events is a great way to meet those in the local business community and start making the connections you will need once you do make the crucial decision to be a consultant and take charge of your own financial future.

Testing the waters and deciding whether you really want to be a consultant also gives you the opportunity to connect with the professionals you will need to work with once you do become a professional consultant. As a consultant, you will need to hire an attorney to draw up the legal paperwork and register your business, an accountant to do your taxes and handle your investments and an advisor to help you make the most of your business. By lining up these services ahead of time, you can get a feel for just what running a business means on a day to day basis. If you really want to be a consultant you will need to juggle all of these balls at the same time, and it never hurts to get a head start on the services you will need. Many attorneys, CPAs and investment advisors provide a free consultation for would be clients, so lining things up might not cost you a dime.