Whether in the healthcare industry, counseling, or virtual workouts with a toned personal trainer, online consulting has grown to be a massive industry. In the past few years, we witnessed a profound shift in consumer behavior, setting the stage for a “virtual revolution.” As a result of this shifting climate, consultants took their businesses online to satisfy their customers’ changing needs.
Whether you are an experienced consultant, a business professional trying to grow your company, or an entrepreneur looking to launch a new virtual venture, we have you covered. We have broken down the process to make it more palatable and easier to swallow with six bite-sized pieces of information.
To start, what exactly is a virtual consultant? Simply put, a virtual consultant is a professional with specialized knowledge who provides advice to clients via digital platforms. Virtual consultants run their business primarily online which makes this type of business easier to start and operate. Now, let’s dive into the steps you can take to help launch your virtual consulting business.
Find your niche
The first thing to do is identify what service you will offer. What issue can you help others with? What can you teach with ease? Start by carefully examining your skillset to choose the one that best adheres to the following equation – we know math may not be your favorite subject, but this is an easy equation to understand.
- What you’re passionate about + what you’re knowledgeable about + an industry with a problem you can help solve = your virtual consulting sweet spot.
For example, let’s say you have a background playing college sports, are a certified personal trainer, and want to help single mothers of toddlers get in shape. Your “sweet spot” could be offering online group training sessions for single mothers. The group setting would allow the mothers to foster a support group and work out with like-minded individuals.
One of the beautiful aspects of virtual consulting is that there is no limit to what can be offered. If your skills and experience can meet a need and help others, there is an audience for your services.
Test your idea
Start with your family and friends. If it is the personal training, as mentioned above, find a few single mothers willing to let you give them a complimentary virtual training session. If you offer an IT consulting service, work through some of the kinks by writing a business plan and sample questions for prospective clients.
Get your ducks in a row
It can seem like a daunting to-do list when first embarking upon your journey of establishing your consulting firm. The truth is, one must follow no set guidelines and rules, so the beauty comes in setting up your virtual consulting business in a manner best suited to you. Things we recommend taking into consideration include the following:
Decide how you want to set up your consulting business legally. For example, will it be a sole proprietorship, LLC, or joint venture? Those terms may be foreign to you and seem more complicated than they are, so don’t feel overwhelmed. Your company can be set up in various ways – you can learn more about the types of business models and then determine which is best suited for your business.
Now that you have identified your virtual consulting sweet spot and tested your ideas, you need to create attainable goals. Yes, it would be great to make $1 million the first year, and maybe you will, but be realistic about your plans. Are you going to do consulting part-time or full-time? What will you charge per hour? Do you need to hire an assistant? Consider as many angles as possible and then create time-based goals. For example:
January 7 – the website is live
March 1 – booked at least two clients
April 13 – review the previous month’s work and improve weaknesses, ask a client for a testimony for the website, and provide a referral for a potential client.
You likely don’t have a marketing team, so you need to get your boots on the virtual ground. Join LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Focus on places, virtual and otherwise, where your target audience frequents and consistently get your message in front of them. For example, publish short blogs on your website, highlight your subject knowledge, attend local conferences and workshops, etc. Talk to everyone who could be a good fit for your service and begin to network.
Creating a website or other platforms like Linktree, where prospective clients can learn more about you, your background, and the services offered.
Set up a system where clients can schedule appointments with you and submit online payments. There are many excellent affordable options, such as HoneyBook and Paperbell.
Get to work
The next step is to begin. It can be nerve-wracking to put yourself out there, but remember to tap into your unique background, natural skills, and experience with your topic. Your story and consulting can help your clients. There is only one you – your clients need YOU!
Virtual consulting is an exciting and gratifying journey. You can create a rewarding career by building relationships, being authentic, and sharing your knowledge. The actions listed above are the ideal place to begin, so what are you waiting for?