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The New Consultant's Quick Start Guide: An Action Plan for Your First Year in Business

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The New Consultant's Quick Start Guide: An Action Plan for Your First Year in Business

Elaine Biech

ISBN: 978-1-119-55691-6 April 2019 288 Pages

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Description

An action plan for working as a consultant

Management consulting is a $250 billion industry and growing at a rate of over four percent annually. Many predict that more than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will soon be contingent, freelance, or consulting members of the workforce—making this book more relevant than ever.

Individuals become independent consultants out of necessity or preference: necessity because they lost their job or the company offered an attractive exit package; preference because they want a career change, more control over their time, or an enriched, varied work situation. Consulting also appeals to the Millennial workforce who are searching for careers that offer a good salary as well as meaningful work. The New Consultant’s Quick Start Guide:

• Serves as a companion to The New Business of Consulting

• Provides you with a place to plan your transition into consulting

• Helps you identify your niche, develop a business plan, charge what you’re worth, and create a marketing strategy to ensure a steady stream of clients

• Prepares you for changes you will encounter beyond your professional life, including social, family, and financial aspects

The New Consultant’s Quick Start Guide helps you work through the challenges of consulting such as working alone, deciding on necessary insurance coverage, finding your first clients, struggling with cash flow, and understanding market trends.  

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xvii

1 First Things First: Why Consulting? 1

Chapter Overview 1

Consulting: What Is It? 1

Why a Consulting Career? 3

Explore Your Experiences 4

Inventory Your Competencies 6

Assess Your Consulting Aptitude 9

Pull It Together: Your Initial Consulting Focus 11

Entrepreneur Attitude: Do You Have What It Takes? 13

Quick Start Action: Questions to Ask a Consultant 17

Quick Start Lists 19

2 Planning Your Consulting Future 21

Chapter Overview 21

Your Preferred Future 21

Will Consulting Lead You to Your Life Goals? 26

Professional, Financial, Personal, and Health Considerations 31

Identify the Changes You Will Need to Make 35

Quick Start Action: Create Your Personal Expense Plan 38

Quick Start Lists 40

3 Dollars and Sense 41

Chapter Overview 41

Establish a Start-Up Budget 41

Put a Price on Your Head 47

Calculate Required Revenue 50

Fill Out Financial Forms 57

Quick Start Action: Setting Your Fee 58

So What’s It Take to Get Off the Ground? 62

Quick Start Lists 63

4 Taking Care of Business 65

Chapter Overview 65

Getting Started 65

What’s in a Name? 66

Hire the Best Accountant and Attorney 70

Quick Start Action: Find an Accountant and Attorney 72

Determine Your Business Structure 73

Explore Your Banking and Insurance Needs 82

Check Local Zoning Laws, Licenses, and Taxes 87

File Legal Documentation 88

Quick Start Action: Your First To-Do List 89

Quick Start Lists 91

5 Your Business Plan 93

Chapter Overview 93

Are Business Plans Really Necessary? 93

Write Your Plan 101

Plan to Use Your Business Plan 109

Quick Start Action: Plan a Review 111

Quick Start Lists 112

6 Make the Switch Painlessly 113

Chapter Overview 113

Gain Consulting Experience Before Leaving Your Job 113

Determine Your Transition Plan 118

Quick Start Action: Plan with Your Family 124

Quick Start Lists 126

7 Setting Up Your Office—or Not 127

Chapter Overview 127

Office Location Options 127

Set Up Your Office 131

Paper, Paper Everywhere! 135

What About a Website? 146

Quick Start Action: The App Age 148

Quick Start Lists 150

8 Finding Clients 151

Chapter Overview 151

Determine Your Market Niche 151

Quick Start Action: Is There a Client Base? 156

Who’s Your Competition? 158

Identify Your First Clients 164

Land Your First Work 167

Quick Start Action: Make a Sale to Solve a Problem 176

Quick Start Lists 177

9 Marketing 179

Chapter Overview 179

What Is Marketing? 179

The ABCs of Marketing 180

Create Your Marketing Plan 181

Build Your Marketing Plan 185

Marketing on a Shoestring Budget 196

Quick Start Action: Grab Attention with Your Headlines 199

Write Winning Proposals 200

Track Your Clients 204

Tips to Become a Better Marketer 206

Quick Start Lists 208

10 Surviving the First Year 209

Chapter Overview 209

Take Care of Your Health 209

Manage Your Time 211

Establish Good Business Habits 215

Delight Your Clients 217

Balance Your Life 218

Take Advantage of Being Your Own Boss 222

Did You Hear the One About the Consultant . . . ? 224

Quick Start Lists 227

11 So, Now What? Year Two and Beyond 229

Chapter Overview 229

Assess Your Progress 229

Quick Start Action: Review Your First Year with Your Family 231

Plan Your Next Steps 232

Bring It All Together 239

Quick Start Action: Review Your First Year with a Colleague 244

ebb’s 13 Truths to Ponder 244

Quick Start Lists 248

Electronic Resources 249

Reading List 251

About the Author 255

Index 257