Consulting Services - An Overview on How To Get Started


Ingvar Grimsmo


In most fields you learn something. Whether you go to school for it or not - you become sort of an expert in your field. No matter what it is. For example, I know a retired fire chief. He is pondering different ways he can contribute to society and make a little business out of it. He is planning to create a safety course/inspection service. Good idea.


There are many ways to go about sharing your knowledge. You can set up a blog and start writing tips. People will come. You can use flyers, go to trade shows, join clubs etc.


You want to go where your potential clients are. So here are some tips for marketing your services:


Step 1 - Define Your Perfect Client.

Age, gender, occupation - etc. Write it down. Where do they hang out? Do they have conferences? Blogs?


Step 2 - Find The Hurt - Stir It Up.

Now you need to define what you can do to help reduce their hurt. This is going to be the base of your pitch. Let's take our fire chief as an example. He definitely can make your home or business safer. No doubts. But how to convince a prospective buyer? Use fear of loss.


Make a list of everything that could go wrong under certain conditions. Loss of home, life and business. Then you make it so by hiring you they can reduce that fear. In some cases you do the reverse. You pitch the desire for gain. This works on services that help people save or make money. You can use both..... very effective.


Step 3 - Write Your Pitch.

First you write it down in long hand. What hurts or potential gain? Physical hurt, property, money - any potential loss by not using your services and knowledge. What concrete gains? Then file it down to a sentence or two.


Step 4 - Start Marketing and Never Stop

Now you go to your potential clients with your pitch. Start with a website/blog. Unless you have a good site - you will have difficulty in coming across as credible. The trick with websites for a consultant is to give away 80% of your knowledge - and charge like heck for the rest.


Business Matters.

This is the boring stuff. First, let me say there are two types of "consultants". The people who actually do hands-on work (they really shouldn't be called consultants, but contractors) and the people who understands the client's issues and can device clever and workable solutions. That's what you want to be.


Charging money.

You need to get paid. How much to charge is always a problem to figure out. How much is your time worth? And more important - how much is the value you provide worth to your client? I have pretty well stopped charging by the hour. Having an hourly "rack rate" is good, some clients insist. Thing is with that, once you have an hourly rate you can be compared. "Joe consultant down the street charges ten bucks per hour less than you." If you are a contractor - fine, that's the way it is. But if you offer solutions to help increase profits or get more clients - set your rates on the product.


Hourly rates vary wildly. top consultants charge like lawyers. $200-500/Hour. As a new consultant - unless you come from a top position - start off at $95-$130 per hour.


Better still - package a service and charge a fixed fee. That's what I do. So for example, my friend the fire chief goes into a company, does some questioning and looking around and comes back with a solution to reduce the fire risk factor by 50%. (I am making this up to illustrate). By thinking a little but and crunching some numbers - you figure he can save on insurance, make his employees feel better and so on. Then set your price. Of course, take into consideration your time and expenses. When you set a fixed fee you need to factor in the assignments that might take more time. If your hourly rate is $100 - calculate at least $150/hour for a fixed fee.


It works for me, it's a thought.