Have you ever someone who says they consult for work and you have wondered how you can become a consultant and work freelance hours from home?
Maybe you already have a good job but you have some extra time and would like to put your skills to work outside of your regular job.
Consulting in your spare time can be a great way to put some extra money in the bank for retirement, send the kids to college, pay down debt, or just have some extra spending money.
Becoming a consultant on the side isn’t complicated, but there are several things to consider if you’re going to be successful.
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Become a consultant – what to consider
Is Moonlighting Allowed?
The more high profile you are within your current company, the more likely you are to run into trouble if your current employer finds out.
Some companies will allow you to work another job in your spare time while others will make you sign a non-compete. The easiest way to become a consultant from home is to consult on something other than your regular job.
If you have expertise in a slightly different field then consulting can be a great way to make extra money without jeopardizing your current employment.
Take inventory of your skills and experience
What are you really good at? Consultants are typically paid well for the time they work, so consider what you can do for someone that is worthy of a decent payday.
For example, if you’re a quality manager for a large corporation, it makes sense that you could consult on quality matters for smaller businesses that don’t have the luxury of employing someone full-time with your expertise.
It would save them money to pay you $3,000 for a few days of your time instead of having another employee on the books full-time.
Are you a corporate accountant? Maybe you can do tax returns or give tax advice on a part-time basis.
Are you a copywriter? There are lots of online opportunities for work on a freelance basis.
Let the appropriate people know you’re available. Consider whether or not you can safely market your services actively. If you’re careful, you might be able to be very aggressive and open with your marketing.
How to get work as a consultant
- To get started, contact businesses and contacts you already have directly. Networking is key.
- Even better, hire someone from Craigslist to make the calls for you. There are a lot of great telemarketers out there that will work for a relatively small amount of money.
- Set your fees. This will be a function of demand and supply.
- Create an online profile either with your own website or social media/Linkedin profiles.
Freelance Work Sites
There are some good sites where you can register and look for consultancy work in your niche. Some of them don’t pay well so make sure to check out each site before you sign up for a job.
Moonlighting is a great freelance jobs marketplace for all kinds of jobs such as writing, handymen and tech jobs.
Browse freelance jobs in all kinds of categories from graphic design to software dev and bid on your chosen opportunities.
Fiverr is more for gigs as opposed to longer term consultancy jobs but it is worth checking out, especially if you are great in the tech field.
How Much Do Consultants Get Paid?
You should expect that your consulting work would pay 2-3 times or more than your current hourly rate.
When you factor in the time and extra expenses for marketing and other costs, this really should be your minimum.
Your rates should be as high as you can set them and still get the amount of work you desire. If you’re overwhelmed with
people that want to hire you, that’s a good sign to raise your fees.
The reason consultants are paid so well is that they work on an independent contractor meaning that the company is not responsible for your benefits or insurance. Likewise, they will probably pay you gross and you will be in charge of deducting the tax at tax time.
Managing Your Time As A Consultant
Even if your boss knows what’s going on, he’s not likely to be happy if you’re running out of meetings, late for work, or leaving early for your new clients. It’s critical that your consulting work doesn’t interfere with your current employment.
Avoid giving the impression that you’re dropping the ball in any way.
Consider using your lunch hour to take or make any phone calls. Depending on your situation, it might be worthwhile to
hire someone to take your calls. There are plenty of answering services that are quite inexpensive and very professional.
Avoid using your company cell phone, computer, printer, copier, and other equipment or supplies for your side jobs. Technically, that’s theft and will not bode well for your current job.
Tips For Being A Successful Consultant
- Continue marketing. Many consultants market until they get work and then they stop. You should still be prospecting for additional work even if you’re busy. Momentum is difficult to re-establish after things go stagnant.
- Avoid upsetting your current employer; you don’t want to be forced to be a full-time consultant at a moment’s notice!
- Assess your skills and the available market in your area.
- Once you get going, don’t be afraid to hire outside help to assist with your marketing and handle the busy work. You’re not likely to have the time to do it all yourself.
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