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Consulting: Expanding the Definition
Think you can't consult? Think again! Consultants come in all sizes and with all manner of backgrounds.
In my book Anyone Can Consult!, it has been brought to my attention that I use the masculine pronoun "He" in my writing. That's because it was traditionally a male dominated industry, but that has changed now!
As women have broken the glass ceiling in almost every industry and enterprise over the last 30 years, so has the consulting business become more accessible to the fairer sex. I wouldn't dare proffer the case that ANYONE can consult and leave out half of the population!
Until about a decade ago, the title "consultant" was more or less limited to retired diplomats and top corporate officers, recruited more because of their "contacts" rather than their practical knowledge. In other words, until recently, the consultant's position was more honorary than actual.
But that has also changed dramatically.
The number of consultants for almost any problem in life has increased tenfold or more during the past ten years and the field of consultants is continuing to grow. In fact, independent consulting is one of the fastest growing businesses in the country today!
Let me give you a simple and easy to understand definition of a consultant:
A consultant is an expert at recognizing problems and shaping solutions to those problems. The need for problem solvers among large and small businesses worldwide has never been greater. The ever-changing moods of the buyer plus the myriad of crisis situations that business people face almost daily, have created a "seller's market" for the alert consultant.
So, in expanding our definition of what a consultant is and what he does we come to the inevitable question:
What area of work have you been involved in over the years? Remember, you don't have to have a quarter of a century of work behind you in order to consult. Consultants come in all sizes and with all manner of backgrounds.
My mission has been to convince my readers that it's true; anyone (YOU) can consult, using what you already know to help others and make a substantial extra income!
You can consult on any subject that you have top-notch experience in.
Maybe you know how to sew with great precision; you have tons of tips and tricks that other seamstresses can take advantage of. You may start to consult clients on a part-time basis. You could offer a booklet of those sewing tips and tricks to clients.
In other words, if you're an expert in any field, you can "farm out" your expertise and gather increasing amounts of revenue in the process.
Reaching for a consultant when problems arise is as natural as looking for the sun to come up every morning. When you're not feeling well, you call for the services of a doctor. If your car isn't running right, you take it to a mechanic. And so it is with a businessman when he encounters a problem--whether it is in the field of accounting, legal, sales or customer relations.
Your field of expertise is valuable to some person or company right now!
Let's stretch the commonly assumed boundaries of what a "business consultant" is and realize that experts are needed for almost everything a person tries to accomplish in life:
Another side of this need for consultants is in the case of the over-enthusiastic entrepreneur who rushes headlong into a business where he has little or no experience. Many such dreamers invest their life savings in questionable projects without even considering the idea of bringing in a competent business consultant to analyze and evaluate their plans.
Even experienced people are prone to over-rate their own ideas. The image of the end result, and dedicated enthusiasm toward the attainment of one's goal are prime requisites for success; however, un-merited enthusiasm and dedication can also be very dangerous; if it is not based on solid research, it may cause people to chase headlong after non-existent rainbows.
And that's where you can fit in as a business consultant.
Please accept that it is not necessary for you to have owned or operated a successful business to become a successful business consultant. Nor is it imperative that you have been in management or have a titled position. You will, however, need the ability to sell yourself, and an up-to-date understanding of the area in which you intend to assist others.
Finally, I'd like to paint a picture of what the consultant's life can be like. Though each consultancy is unique, just as each human being is different, there are some things that you can look forward to experiencing.
Another title for a consultant is: an Independent Professional.
Let that title troll around your lips for a moment, say it out loud. It has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
That all-important independence is delicious. You are truly your own boss.
While others may have to punch a time clock, adhere to many frivolous company policies and find themselves in a rut of sameness, the independent professional never does!
You don't have to play "office politics" because you're independent.
You never have to go against your own inner truth to placate some "boss."
In fact, you will be PAID to "speak your mind." You can shock, surprise, and discover whole new areas of development for your clients. You never get bored because you're always finding yourself in a fresh environment with new faces, new personalities and new projects.
The independent professional finds deep satisfaction in the work he or she does because each idea, projection, and solution comes from within them and has his or her unique style and content stamped to it.
Finally, as we expand our definition of consulting, it is important to know that it can be taken as far, or as little, as you decide to go with it. You may find yourself on the international stage traveling extensively, or you may work right in your own backyard a mere stone's throw from your client base. You will set the perimeters of your lifestyle; no one else will control your destiny.
Victor K. Pryles is a working consultant of over 30 years in the field of broadcasting, talent development and executive travel. His book: Anyone Can Consult! is available at http://www.paupertravel.com/library/consult/.
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