Few people start out their business lives with the goal of becoming consultants. (although this may be changing as consulting is now perceived as a growth industry.) None, to the best of our knowledge are beamed down as intact, ready to go consultants. Most become so, as a result of a variety of circumstances. Few ever receive any training in it. What’s more, there is a dearth of literature on the subject. Most people have to learn by experience. Experience can be a cruel teacher.
Many people have the skills and knowledge to become consultants but few succeed.
Consulting, for many, can be a very rewarding career. You can often work to your own pace, within the hours you choose. You are your own boss and you can make the key decisions that influence you. Your income will be directly attributable to your own ability. Your success will be because of your own abilities and skills.
Consultant, n: One who consults another; one who gives professional advice or service.
Consult, vb: To ask the advice or opinion of; to deliberate together; to provide advice or services. (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary)
Consulting is a ‘helping’ or ‘facilitating’ process emerging from a relationship between a person or persons trying to deal with a problem/opportunity (the client) and another person or persons trying to assist these efforts (the consultant).
The simple fact is that everyone is a consultant at some time. The simple act of giving advice in response to a need is an act of consultation. Regular, every day consultants include:
The more regular understanding of the term refers to professional consultants. That is those people who specialise in the act of consulting as a major element of their occupation. Such people include:
It takes no special knowledge or skill to set up as a consultant (as a look into the Yellow Pages will affirm). It takes a lot of skill and knowledge (and probably luck) to succeed.