It appears on every list of “best work from home jobs”. It’s possibly the vaguest job title in the history of careers. Can you guess what it is?
Do a Google search for best jobs to start this year or best side-hustle to start this year and on nearly every list will be the term “consultant”.
Wow. That’s awesome! But…what do they do?
We decided to dive into this subject a bit more to find out what exactly is a consultant, what exactly they do, and how much they really make. Keep reading. The results are interesting, to say the least.
What is a Consultant?
By definition, a consultant is someone who provides expert advice on a professional level. So, to simplify it a bit more, their job is to be a solution. Your business has problems, they have the answer.
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Where this kind of career gets a bit tricky is what they do to fix it and how they do it. Keep in mind, Consultants don’t do the work for you. They tell you how to fix the problem.
To do this, they do a ton of research, consult with other experts, and once they’re done, will give you a full report on where and possibly why your business is failing and what you can do to turn things around. And if it’s too far gone to fix, they’ll tell you that as well. If you’re still a bit confused, check out these videos that do a great job of providing information on what consultants actually do.
Consulting firms and people who work independently as consultants typically have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in their chose field. Consultants exist for practically every industry in the world.
What matters the most is being an expert. This is how consultants have their own firm. As an example, let’s say you work in food service. You started washing dishes under the table at your uncle’s restaurant when you were 12 years old. Then you started cooking in high school.
You then went to culinary school and worked for some of the best chefs in the world for ten years. You became a chef and worked at a few successful places and you’re really good at your job. You’re so good that you have gone into multiple failing restaurants, turned them around, and they became profitable businesses.
This makes you an expert in the foodservice industry. And you can use former employers as references. Your previous work experience isn’t just a resume, it’s a portfolio. So in some cases, decades of experience will make up for not having a degree and this is true in many industries.
However, a degree does help. If you’re a younger person and just getting out into the world, you aren’t going to have much experience in your chosen field, right?
According to this post from Chron, independent consultants earn close to six figures a year. Payscale lists self-employed business consultants at a median of $125k a year.
You likely won’t get paid by the hour, but by the project. You’ll provide a standard contract to make sure you can get paid and take legal action if the client tries to withhold the money you agreed upon in said contract.
There are other ways of getting paid, such as commission. You will raise sales by x and receive y percent of the profits in exchange for your services.
Let’s say you’re contacted by John Harris Body Shops. They need help with Marketing and you’re a marketing consultant.
What will you do for them?
While this isn’t what everyone will do, this should give you a basic idea of what could be done by a consultant.
You’ll meet with the marketing team, provided they have one. Not every business has marketing professionals. Often, it’s cheaper to outsource.
But let’s say this particular business has a brand new marketing team. They’ve begun expansion of the business and are looking to bring in more clients. They want to get the word out that new shops are open in various places and that they’re the best body shop around.
The new marketing team hasn’t been together very long. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have any experience, it just means that as a team, they’re pretty green.
You’ll talk to the marketing team and see what they’re doing, what they want to do, and how their vision correlates with that of management.
The Next Step
You have a few people in your professional network who are experienced with marketing for mechanics and auto body shops. You give them a call and see what has worked well for their clients.
After speaking with other consultants you know, it’s time to start putting together a report. You advise the body shop to do some A/B testing with traditional and inbound marketing methods to see which ones have the best ROI.
Being that many people trust people more than businesses and marketers, you also suggest a referral program.
You’ll put this information into a deliverable. In the consulting world, this usually comes in the form of a power point presentation but can also be a written report. As a professional, you know that management and ownership may not understand marketing jargon very well, so you make sure to make your report or presentation easy to digest and to the point. You aren’t there to woo them, you’re there to help.
Six months later you get a call from the auto body shop. They put some of your ideas into place and they’re seeing a lot of new customers coming in thanks to your advice. You tell the owner thanks for the work and that you were happy to help and ask if he would mind being used as a reference and if you can use your report as part of your portfolio.
Final Thoughts on Consulting Jobs
The above example is complete fiction, but it should give you an idea of what, how, and why consultants do what they do.
The two best ways to make money are:
1. Helping people
2. Find a problem and then providing the solution
While these two ideas are similar, they aren’t the same. But consultants have to hit both points to be successful and good at their job.
This is one of those work from home jobs that’s kind of like being a real estate agent. Your home base might be your who office, but you should expect to be on the road fairly often. This probably isn’t the best career for an introvert but some might find it enjoyable. You really don’t know until you give it a try.
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