For many people, the thought of starting their own home business seems like a dream that may or may not ever come true. In a down or bad economy, the idea of making that hobby or side project into something that will not only bring in some extra cash, but a special kind of self-fulfillment can easily be achieved if you know the steps on how to go about things. This article looks at tips on starting a consulting business from home.
So what exactly is a consulting business? In simple terms, a consultant is someone who offers others their professional advice and services on a topic about which they are knowledgeable. A consulting business can truly be anything from IT services to financial advice. Anyone who has the skills, knowledge and expertise in an area (or many) can become a consult for that profession. For example, if you have a lot of experience in computers, you may want to start an IT consulting business where you would advise clients on the type of operating system they should use, the kind of computer that would be best suited to them, as well as what type of programs would benefit them the most.
The first thing you should do if you are considering starting a consulting business is make a list of different skills in which you have some knowledge. If you have spent many years in the public and/or private sectors of business, you may have accumulated a ton of information and skills. Whether your skills lie in clerical, administrative, management, or any other category, others may need help in succeeding in those areas.
Starting a Consulting Business
Once you have chosen a field in which you feel the most knowledgeable and confident, do some research with your local Small Business Bureau. Depending on the field you pick, you may need to get some sort of certification that states you are qualified to consult others. For example, financial consultants may need to get certification in regards to business, accounting, and even health specialties.
The next step is to open a business checking account, with either your current bank or another bank. Banks sometimes offer special deals when an account is used for business purposes. For instance, you may get cash back if you spend a certain amount of money in a month or you may get free features for a personal checking account if using the same bank. Make sure all of your business purchases go through this account. Anything from purchasing paper clips, cell phones, printers, and other business related items should go through this account. The same is true when receiving business payments.
You should also speak with an accountant, especially one that works with small businesses. An accountant will help you understand how taxes and other things will affect you as a small business owner. They can also help you with your legal structure, that is, what type of business you will be (corporation, LLC, sole proprietor).
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Starting Consulting Business - Cont.
If planning on starting a consulting business within your home, you will need to begin to set up the office. Choose an area in your home which is large enough to store all the things you’ll need for your business. The most important things are getting a computer desk, a computer/laptop, phone, printer, and some storage or file containers.
Working from home may be a big departure if you are used to working in an office with other people. Make sure you consider these changes to your home in a business fashion. If you currently have an internet connection, will you need to upgrade the current speed? Or perhaps you need to switch from a residential account to a business one. There is also the consideration of what you will do to accept calls from potential clients. Will you use a cell phone or will you need to get a land line? Do you need to have both a private number and a professional one? You may need to consolidate phone lines if you have a lot of them.
In starting a consulting business from your home, you may run into issues with keeping yourself productive and learning ways of time management. This may be especially true in the first few weeks, months, or even years of your consulting business when people aren’t knocking down your door for advice. The most important thing is to keep positive; while waiting for the masses, continuing putting together your business. This may be the time to get certifications if your field requires it; even if it doesn’t, learning more about your field is beneficial to you in the long run.
Remember, you never stop learning, and keeping your skills, experience, and knowledge current and up to date will go a long way in helping you reach the top.
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