Should I Become a Consultant: Part II

In Part I of “Should I Become a Consultant,” I wrote about understanding what a consultant’s life really involves, exploring the waters a bit, answering the question about whether the entrepreneurial life is right for you, and researching the field that interests you, whether its marketing, management, sales, or some other field.

Next, research specific areas and ways you can help clients.

What Problems Can You Solve Well?
Think about the types of problems you want to solve, the organizations and people with whom you want to work, and the issues you have successfully solved for an organization in the past. What challenges come to mind first? What successes come to mind quickly?

Cite some specific examples to illustrate your problem-solving history. Describe them during your informational interviews with consultants currently working in your field of choice. See if how you like to work and what you like to do is a fit with that area.

Who Needs Help with this Type of Problem?
As a first fast pass at research into your market, search Monster.com or other major job hunting sites with a few appropriate key words. See who’s hiring for those types of skills. This gives you a sense of the best markets for your services, either as an employee or as a consultant. If available, a business research tool, such as Hoover’s, can provide additional insight.

Would You Really Rather Be an Employee?
During your research, as is sometimes the case, you may find the perfect job. Pursuing one direction — consulting — can lead to full-time opportunities you might otherwise have missed or roles that you didn’t know existed. For example, you might start a career in marketing and then research the possibility of consulting, which then leads to an opportunity you really want, a full-time job in a larger company, working in corporate social responsibility.

However you resolve your curiosity or drive toward consulting, do your research first. A lot of questions will be answered in that process, which will help you decide whether or not to move further down the consulting career path.

jan@jgrichardsresults.com' About Jan Richards

Principal of J. G. Richards Consulting, Jan helps companies improve profitability and revenue as they decrease business complexity and costs. This occurs in many ways, including: streamlining business operations; project management for major change and process improvement teams; coaching leaders of major change programs; creating long-range visions and strategic plans. A WIC Board member, Jan oversees WIC's strategic initiatives and mentoring programs.

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