If you’ve got extensive knowledge in an industry, starting a consulting business could be a great way to leverage your knowledge. By applying what you’ve learned to others’ problems, you can help them succeed.
Examples of Consulting Businesses
There are many types of consultants, both serving consumers and serving businesses. Here are a few examples:
B2C (serving consumers)
- Interior design
- Pet behavior
B2B (serving other businesses)
- General business
How to Start a Consulting Business
Once you’ve determined your niche, it’s time to take care of some admin tasks for your consulting business.
Step 1: Registering a Business Name – The first step is registering a business name to ensure no one else uses is. Start with a corporate name search to ensure the name you want is available.
Step 2: Form an LLC or Corporation – You need a solid business structure that will protect your personal assets. Both corporation and LLC formation are good options for your consulting business.
Step 3: Apply for Business Licenses and Permits – Beyond the general business licenses you’ll likely need, you may need a professional business license if you work in certain areas, like law or medicine.
Step 4: Launch Your Marketing – Now that you’ve handle the legal steps of starting a consulting business, start spreading your knowledge through blog content, social media, and emails. You want to show that you are an expert in your field to attract new clients.
Step 5: Keep Your Business Compliant – Now that you’re up and running as a consulting business, keep your business in good standing by filing your initial report when you first form a corporation or LLC, as well as your annual report. You also need to stay up to date on state and federal tax requirements. CorpNet’s Compliance Portal is a great way to stay on top of your compliance requirements.
How to Charge
Many consultants charge an hourly rate for their time. Others charge a flat rate for a set of services rendered each month. Ideally, you will be able to work long-term with clients and continue to provide value to them.
Decide what an hour of your time is worth. Research other consultants in your industry to see what they charge. For monthly retainers, add up the time it would take you to complete each item and charge accordingly.
Where to Work
Because you don’t always need to meet with clients daily, you’ve got some flexibility in where you work. Working from home is a great option, because it keeps your costs down, and you can’t beat the commute. If you do need to meet with clients occasionally, consider coworking space where you can rent a conference room or office when needed. It beats having your clients sitting at your kitchen table!
If you do want the professional environment of an office, consider whether you need to pay top dollar to be in a popular area or if you could save money and set up your office in a more affordable office park.
Let CorpNet help with that first step on your path: registering a business name. Use our free corporate name search tool to find a unique name no one else is using.