4 Things To Do Before You Start Consulting Work

Since some full-time employees often ask us how to move into consulting work, we wanted to give you four items to find out more about before you start consulting. In the video below, Senior Consultant Advisor Christine Woods and Content Strategist Jaime Grimes provide tips on getting used to travel, how to figure out taxes and benefits, researching your skill set and improve your marketability and visibility in the industry.

What should would-be consultants know about a consultant’s travel schedule?
Consultants go where the work is, that can mean a lot of flying and being away from home and family during the workweek, so think through some of the logistics you might face: Do you live near an airport? Do you have someone to watch your home or apartment when you’re away? For most consultants, the travel is an exciting and energizing part of the job—just be sure you’re prepared for it. By the way, you get to keep all those frequent flier miles, which can be a great benefit for consultants.

What about the ways taxes and benefits differ from consulting work to full-time employment?
Anyone going into consulting for the first time should think about the tax and benefit implications. Talk to a trusted accountant or tax advisor, so that you have a good understanding about the differences between being a W2 consultant versus setting up your own corporation. You may have to buy your own benefits, or your withholding may change as consultant. All of these things depend on how you choose to be employed—so know what your options are and get some upfront financial advice.

What should full-time employees pay attention to, to prepare them for consultant work?
Before anyone leaves a full-time job to be a consultant, they should research the market for their skills and understand what they should be charging for their skills. Talk to recruiters, talk to other consultants and check online job boards to see who’s hiring and if there is a lot of hiring these days around what you do. Because you typically get paid by the hour—you should have a pay rate in mind. You don’t want to price yourself out of the market—especially when you’re first starting out.

How do you start making a name for yourself as a technical expert in the industry?
Become active in LinkedIn groups specific to your area of expertise, start your own blog or contribute to blogs in your industry. Secure relevant social media handles and start following potential clients and peers from them, and begin sharing skill-specific industry news on your social media handles. Anything you can do to market yourself as a technical expert is good – and helps others see you as the technical expert you are.

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