By Peter Muturi
Long ago, when you wanted to become a consultant in any field, you had to have superior knowledge in the field you wished to offer consulting services. Today, the knowledge bit is still important but technology has simplified the path to becoming a consultant. The easiest and shortest route to consultancy is being the first one to familiarize with emerging issues in technology. You can however still choose to become a consultant in the field that you have concentrated in over the years. That is why you find that most consultants are not young. The companies or individuals that will come seeking your assistance may not necessarily be beginners in that field, but may want to improve what they are already doing. That is why a deep understanding of your area of specialization is a plus, and a big one for that matter.
You can start a career as a consultant by working for a consulting firm or you can start your own company. Whichever the case, the bottom-line is that you will me meeting people needing your assistance and you need to be able to help them. To succeed as a consultant, you will need the following.
Have a list of a number of people that you have worked for in the past and are pleased with your services. They will not only become your first customers, but will spread the news to their friends who will come looking for you for similar services and before you know it you are already building a broad customer base.
The need to convert your knowledge and expertise into a resource that the customers will find worth to invest in, is very important. You can easily do this by accessing the prevailing challenges that your prospective customers are facing. Then you need to develop simplified, easy to follow, and yet very effective ways of solving these problems. You need to assess the number of people that will need your services. Will they provide you with a good income?
To make your career as a consultant flourish, you need to be ready to work alongside other consultants. Don’t claim to know everything, it can be damaging and even ruin your career. Referring is a skill by itself and it shows you are a professional. You will also receive referrals from your colleagues.
Generally you need to be able to see the big picture. You need to have good interpersonal skills, to listen to your clients so that you know where they are stuck. Only then will you know how to help them out.