Are you thinking about starting a consulting business with no experience? Is this possible or realistic at all? What are your odds of being successful? And most importantly, how can you start a consulting business if you have zero experience?
Follow my 7 steps below on starting a consulting business with no experience. At the end I share with you the most precious weapon of every consultant, and that’ll make it clear why actually these 7 steps will always work, giving you the experience you’re craving for.
Step 1: Learn a Few Things
Suppose that you have no experience in your field, before you start doing anything as a consultant, make sure you learn a thing or two on the subject.
There is a saying that just by reading 2-3 books on a subject, you’ll have a deeper understanding than 90-95% of the audience.
By reading 2-3 books on a subject, you’ll have a deeper understanding than 90-95% of the audience.
That’s all what you need to do to start calling yourself a consultant. If you acquire some knowledge that’s actually more than that of 90% of your audience, you can already claim to be an expert for those people.
Learning just a couple of things in any filed is not that difficult these days. Here are a few tips you can start with:
- Go tho the Amazon Kindle eBook store (#ad) and grab a couple of eBooks on your subject.
- Search for your topic in Google. Start following the 2-3 most popular blogs, and make sure to read at least 10-15 posts from each.
- Head over to Clickbank, find the best selling info product in your niche, and master what’s in there. This will also serve as a market research and possible income source later.
- Find one person in your field you can trust, i. e. another consultant in your niche. This can be someone you know, or somebody online. Follow them, buy at least one of their products, and follow along what they’re doing.
Step 2: Apply Your Knowledge In Your Life / Business
Start applying what you’ve learned in step 1 in your own life or your own business. Whatever your field as a to-be-consultant is, simply make yourself your first client. Apply what you already know until you see the results.
This serves a couple of reasons, and you’ll need all of them later to build a successful consulting business:
- Practice makes perfect – you learn by actually applying your knowledge. No successful consulting can be done without actual practical experience.
- It gives you self-confidence just seeing your own results. Forget about being a consultant if you have no confidence in yourself.
- If for any reasons some of the material you’ve learned so far is a crap, you’ll simply find this out without harming your clients or your consulting business.
- Your own results can be your first success story, and this leads us to our next step.
Forget about being a consultant if you have no confidence in yourself.
Step 3: Claim Your Results
When starting a consulting business, one of your biggest barriers in acquiring consulting clients will be the fact that you have no actual results to show.
No one will actually worry about your experience. But one question that you’ll hear often will be: OK, show me your latest works. Show me a few successful clients of yours. I’d like to see a couple of your success stories.
Answering I have no experience yet, or I have no latest works to those question is the bad answer. Guaranteed rejection, guaranteed failure of your consulting business even before having it actually started.
So instead of hiding the fact that you have no experience, be proud of your own results in your own life or business (see step 2). Claim your expertise by publishing constantly about your own results.
I can tell you this from my own experience: Only very few people will actually question your competence if you present them your own results. When I started building my own SEO consulting business, I only had my own website as a “successful client”. Still, no one really questioned my knowledge, and I had no problem acquiring customers.
Step 4: Find Anyone You Can Help
This step is crucial. You need to find a couple of clients, and you need to start acting as a consultant. But this is no time for whining about money, or rejecting clients — that will only come in the next step.
You must understand that at this point nobody knows you, and you have no experience besides yourself. But to solve this situation is actually remarkable simple: You need to do everything in order to get a couple of clients. And smack you’ll have actual experience, and your problem why you’ve come to read this article in the first place will suddenly disappear.
To get your first consulting client with no experience, it’s better to look around where you live, or among the people you know. A personal relationship makes it easier to destroy that wall of distrust, what your being inexperienced will unavoidably evoke.
Here are a couple of ideas where to start:
- Post your newly acquired skill, and the fact that you can actually help people, in all your social media platforms.
- Contact your old business acquaintances. You can call them on the phone, but can even do this in an email.
- Let your family members know what you’re doing. Maybe they’re interested in getting help from you, or they know someone who is interested.
- You can attend local business meetups and let people know there in what areas of life or business you can help.
And don’t forget, this step is not about the money. Of course charge your first clients for your services, but don’t expect to be payed as much as a professional and well established consultant at this stage. In fact, your special introductory price will be one of the very reasons you’ll be able to get your first clients.
Step 5: Learn To Say No
There is one specific situation though you need to say no by all means, even if that would be your very first client.
If you’re asked to be a consultant in a situation where you have no clue what to do, simply say no.
Acknowledge to yourself that you’ve started out recently with no experience, and there are still situations where your knowledge is just not enough. You’ll thank yourself later for saying no in these cases, as it’s better to reject a prospect with your head held high than losing them later as a client by incompetence.
Just one short note here. By saying no to someone, you’ll actually intensify your competence in their eyes. Only a real professional is able to say no, and people really appreciate not being sold at any price.
Step 6: Continue Learning
Continue what you’ve started in step 1. Even if at this point you have a few clients and some success, you’ve only started out recently with no experience, so you still have a lot to learn.
- Continue reading books or eBooks. If there is a particular author you prefer, read all of their works.
- Enroll in more courses. Even if there’s only one thing you might utilize from one program, don’t forget that you can still reuse this one asset with several clients.
- Continue applying your knowledge to your own life or business. The same principles apply as in step 2, you’ll learn a great deal by actually doing it.
Step 7: Watch Your Clients Closely
This is basically step 6 from another point of view. A good consultant will indeed learn from their clients’ cases, and this holds even more true when you’re just starting your consulting business.
At the beginning almost every situation will be new, or there will be at least something new in every case.
So watch every case closely. Take notes of what you’ve done and what your clients have done. Was it successful? Did it fail?
You can even watch if a client is doing what you’re advising or not, so you can learn what type of clients are the most successful, and what you need to do in order to prosper. One of the key strengths of a great consultant is the ability to bring about results, no matter what excuses arise from the clients part.
Your Most Precious Weapon As A Consultant
To really understand how to build a successful consulting business, you need to understand what actually your most precious weapon as a consultant is. And this will also help you understand how to start your business with no experience.
Your most precious weapon as a consultant is people having trust in you.
Build up your trust, let people know that they can believe in you, and you’ll be successful. Destroy that belief however – or for that matter let it be destroyed by someone else – and no matter what marketing tricks you’ll try, your consulting business will at best struggle.
But is there a simple way to build trust as a consultant?
The answer is yes. And although to achieve this you’ll also need some marketing skills, in this article we only focus on your consulting prowess, and your actual knowledge as a professional.
The most stable way to build trust as a consultant is only ever suggest anything that you’re 100% sure is working.
You see where I’m getting at? If you have no experience, how could you expect to give advice that works? You need experience in order to make sure what you’re recommending is actually working.
And if this seems like a catch 22 when starting a consulting business with no experience, you’re right. You need experience, but you have no experience.
And this is why steps 1 and 2 in this list are so powerful. Learning first and then applying that knowledge in your own life or business will give you that experience that you actually need in order to successfully start your consulting business.
It’s that simple. You just need some time to accomplish this, and some persistence to never give up after the first failures.
So when starting a consulting business with zero experience in your field, don’t forget that you have two factors to consider.
- Yes, you can definitely start a consulting business with no experience, and you can even be successful.
- No, you can’t escape the learning curve. You cannot start making money as a consultant before you actually have any experience on that subject.
Follow these steps, and make sure to overcome every obstacle that might be stopping you from becoming a successful specialist.
Good luck with your new consulting endeavor!
Tip: Grab a free copy of this article as a pdf download here: How To Start a Consulting Business pdf.