What you need:
• A website or blog (optional, but suggested)
• Printer and paper for flyers and brochures
Do you have expertise in a field of interest to business owners such as Internet marketing, advertising, accounting, business writing, affiliate marketing or anything else? If you enjoy helping others succeed, then consulting would be a great way for you to earn some fast cash.
You really don’t need much to get started with this business. The first thing is to decide is if you’re going to work online or offline. You can do either, or both, if you choose, the decision is yours.
Working online has the advantage of being a home-based business where you interact with others through technology such as email, instant messaging and chats. Working offline allows you to meet clients face-to-face and can get you “ouf of the office” if you like. A balance of both is ideal.
Whichever you choose, the first thing you need is to create a website. You can design an actual website or use a blog to get started. You can also use a hosted site (recommended) or a free blog site provided by WordPress.org or Blogger.com so you don’t have to spend much to begin.
Outline any training you have and where your experience and knowledge come from on your site. Also include any testimonies you may have from former clients. If you don’t have any, that’s okay. You can gather them as time goes on.
It’s also important that you add detailed information that explains what people get by using your services. You can add some free articles about your subject area if you choose, but it’s not mandatory. And you’ll want a page with your rates for various services. The last thing to do is add a contact page so people can get in touch with you, including a phone number for best results.
Once your site is up and running, you’ll need to advertise your business both online and offline. Advertising online will allow you to reach huge numbers of people at little or no cost. Advertising offline will reach your local market which could be one of the best things you can do for your business.
Social media is a form of free advertising that you can use successfully if done properly. Join sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others. Share tips, answer questions, and network with those who follow you. This will build trust with them and will encourage them to learn more about you and what you do.
Another option is to advertise on websites that are visited by your target market. You can use banners, buttons, or text links on these sites and link them back to your website or blog.
Start a mailing list and offer a weekly email newsletter to capture prospects’ email address and name. Give them a free ebook that deals with your topic to encourage them to subscribe and the ability to opt-out easily at any time.
You can also use a signature file (a link below your name or slogan) in all your outgoing email messages, and when you post on forums and blogs. This will give others the opportunity to learn more about you and your business when they click on the link.
Offline advertising is how you’ll reach people who may not need or want to be online. Sometimes business owners don’t have the ability, time, or finances to create a website so they don’t search for things on the internet. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help them.
The best way to reach such business owners is to create flyers or brochures and hand them out locally. You can go door-to-door and offer your consulting services. When you do, you’ll want to make sure you have your information handy and make sure you know exactly what to say. You may find they want to talk about your consulting right then and there.
Brochures are perfect if you’re interested in doing a direct mailing, too. To do this, you purchase a mailing list, build your own with ezine subscriber’s addresses, or go through the phone book and find businesses you’d like to work with.
You can send them a simple letter explaining who you are and enclose a brochure that details everything you do, or just send the brochure. But be sure to follow up with a phone call after they’ve had time to receive the mailing.
When you create a business based on things you enjoy doing, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be successful. A consulting business is a great way for you to start making money quickly while helping other people and meeting their needs.