The American Heritage Dictionary defines a consultant as “one that gives expert or professional advice.” To really call your self a consultant in your field, you must be an expert. Being an expert in your field also means you must constantly reeducate your self beyond what is commonly acceptable for your average peers. The other key factor that defines a consultant is the fact that they deliver a custom solution to their clients. This makes consultants specialists in their field.
As you develop a consulting business for your field, ask yourself what skills you require to be considered an expert. What professional journals should you read? What organizations are supposed to you joint? Etc. management
Categories of Consulting
The principal product of a consultant is his time, you base your pitch to do a job on how long it will take to complete and, as consequence, set a rate on that time. When you sell your time, the labor you are hired to do in general falls into three categories: Skills contracting, expert-advice consulting, or departmental outsourcing.
Skills contracting. Normally, when you initiate your business, the easiest type of work to obtain and sell to customers is skills contracting. In a skills contracting situation, you usually work at the client’s location together with client employees and or other consultants and receive direction from the project manager. For the reason of this fact, some consultants considered this more resembling temporary employment than “true” consulting.
Expert-advice consulting. As you make your reputation and turn out to be more skilled at consulting, you will offer more expert-advice type consulting. This sort of consulting is harder to sell, but you can charge more for this sort of work. The work you do as and expert-advice consultant typically falls into one of three types of tasks: analysis, design, or project management. Analysis requires you to evaluate some aspect of the client’s business and generate a report with you conclusions and suggestions. Design work requires you to produce a design report or prototype others will use a model to complete projects based on the design. Project Management requires you to put together a squad of consultants, or take over the management of an existing team, to complete a project. It is not extraordinary for a consultant to perform all three tasks as element of a complete consulting package offered to the client. You might even perform all three of these tasks when you are the only person on the project.
Departmental outsourcing. As a result of company downsizing, many companies get rid of complete departments and outsource the department’s services to a separate company that specializes in that particular service. Many smaller companies, however, may need only one part-time person to provide the services of an internal department. What distinguishes outsourcing from other kinds of consulting is that you are not hired for one precise task but to provide appropriate departmental services on demand for a specified period of time.