Turn Your Knowledge Into a Consulting Business

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Get Paid to Share Your Expertise

Consultant in meeting
PeopleImages/iStock

Consulting is one of the best ways to turn your knowledge into a business. A consultant is an expert who advises others in a specific field. In an effort to improve results, individuals and businesses hire consultants to assess issues and provide solutions. Consultants can be in just about every industry. While income varies depending on the industry and how the consulting business is set up, PayScale reports that the median income of business consultants is $68,982 with a range from $44,473 —​​​ $109,488.

The advantages to consulting are many including flexibility and income.

Consulting differs from coaching, which is another way to help others with your expertise. Consulting is usually focused on a business or group, although individuals sometimes seek consultants. Consulting usually involves assessing an issue and preparing a solution with a focus on processes. In most cases, after an explanation and assistance in implementing the solution, the consultant’s work is done. 

Coaching is more often done one-on-one, focusing on building a client’s personal strengths. Similar to counseling, a coach is usually involved regularly (i.e. weekly) over a period of time until the client has met their goals.

While you can turn any bit of knowledge into a consulting business, here a few of the best industries to consider now. 

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Career Consultant

Career Consultant
Help others find a job or further their careers. muharrem ├╢ner | Getty Images

When the economy is down, the need for career consulting grows. But even in good economies, many people, from recent college grads to baby boomers looking for a new retirement career can benefit from a career specialist. A career consultant does many things including assess the clients’ needs, prepare resumes, cover letters and other career-related documents, coach interviewing skills, assist in job search, recommend training and more.

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Leadership/Team Building Consultant

Team Building
Help managers inspire others. Credit: Dan Dalton | Getty Images

Businesses are all about the bottom line, so they want employees who are efficient and work together toward the good of the company. But many businesses have policies and people that get in the way of productivity. A leadership and team building consultant works with management to give them skills that inspire those that work under them, including problem-solving and decision-making skills, building trust and rapport, creating a supportive work environment, and more. 

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Marketing Consultant

Marketing Consultant
Help business maximize their marketing strategies. Credit: muharrem ├╢ner | Getty Images

Marketing is the key to business success. But many businesses, especially home-based and small businesses, often don’t have the background in sales and marketing, or understanding of the psychology of getting people to pay attention and buy. A marketing consultant assesses the current marketing plan and strategies of a business, and then makes recommendations on how to increase results with more effective messages and/or methods. 

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Organization/Efficiency Consultant

Efficiency Consultant
Help businesses become more productive and efficient. Credit: Portra Images | Getty Images

If time is money, then inefficient use of time means wasting money. Knowing this, many businesses hire consultants to assess how the business is running in an effort to find ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency. Some things they look at include available resources and how well they're utilized, how the business is structured, and how to best maximize the skills and experience of the people involved in the organization. 

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Other Types of Consulting

Image Consultant
Image consultant is one of many other types of consulting businesses. Credit: Nick Dolding | Getty Images

The options listed in the previous sections focus on business consulting because it offers the most opportunity and best pay. However, many other types of consulting exist. In fact, many individuals hire consultants to help them in everyday life. Here is a list of some other types of consulting you can consider:

  • Green Living Consulting
  • Health and Wellness Consulting
  • Financial and Retirement Consulting
  • Personal Organization and Efficiency (instead of looking a business, you help individuals get organized, efficient and productive)
  • Image Consulting
  • Stress management Consulting

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Designing Your Own Consulting Career

Consultant Business
Design your own consulting business. Credit: Ariel Skelley | Getty Images

Still don’t see something you’re an expert at that you can turn into a consulting practice. The truth is, there are many different types of consulting practices, and odds are you can turn your knowledge or passion into a consulting business.

Make a list of what you are good at. Are you a social worker with marriage or parenting training? Consider starting a relationship or parenting consulting business. Can you buy a week’s worth of groceries for a few bucks? Start a coupon or frugal living consulting practice.

Once you know your expertise and how you can use it to help others, you’ll want to do market research to determine if there are people who are willing to pay you for your expertise.

Along with consulting, there are other ways to turn your expertise into profits, including coaching, blogging, information products, writing, speaking, and more.