How To Start Consulting On The Side

Liz Ryan, Forbes

Years ago there was a wide gulf between people who worked for a salary or wages, and people who worked for themselves.

Most people were employees on a payroll, and a very small number of other people were independent consultants.

Then everything started changing. Full-time jobs started to dry up and more and more folks turned to contract work. Companies started outsourcing whole departments.

Employees started to wake up and realize that their value is not conferred on them by employers. They build their value in themselves!

Now, you have to run your business the way any CEO runs their business, even if you work for someone else. You have to run your career like a business — because it is a business!

You are the CEO of your career, and you must look at every job as a project your business has decided to take on.

No employer is going to look out for your career. You have to do that for yourself!

One of the best ways to begin growing your entrepreneurial muscles is to start a part-time consulting business alongside your full-time job, a part-time job or a job search.

I encourage everyone over the age of 18 (and enterprising youngsters who haven’t reached 18 yet) to start consulting on the side.

There is no better way to understand your value or grow your confidence!

It’s easy to begin. In the U.S. you can consult using your social security number. You don’t need to form a corporation, but if your accountant or attorney wanta you to do so, it’s very easy and inexpensive to incorporate.

You can do it online for fifty dollars. Next, you need business cards. Those will cost about fifteen dollars including shipping.

You might think that you need very specific experience or years of work history to begin consulting, but that is false! My old boss sent me on my first consulting gig when I was in my twenties.

I was the full-time HR Manager in my company, but a business owner down the street called my boss and asked him to recommend an HR consultant. My boss recommended me for the job.

I saw him in the hallway and he said “Good news! I got you a consulting job. You can do it after hours. You will love it!”

I was terrified the first time I walked down the street with my notepad and pen to meet the business owner who needed help. The minute we started talking, my fear evaporated.

The business owner was a smart guy who knew nothing about HR and cared about it even less. I got the required posters to hang in the company break room. I wrote the world’s simplest employee handbook.

I made a thousand bucks. My consulting income felt different than the paycheck that arrived in my bank account twice a month.

“Oh my gosh,” I said to myself, “I am an HR consultant.”

My mojo soared, all because I took a tiny step through the veil of fear that keeps us from trying new things. You can do the same thing, and get the same powerful feeling in your veins whether you are working right now or not!

You don’t have to plan out your consulting business in advance, but you can mull it over while you’re doing errands or in the shower.

Think about what you love to do and what you’re good at. Think about the different kinds of Business Pain you’ve solved so far in your career.

Everybody has pain. It is much easier to get a short-term consulting gig than to get a full-time job, and consulting gigs turn into full-time jobs all the time.

Consulting is a fantastic job-search channel, but unlike most other channels it is also income-generating, mojo-boosting and great for your professional reputation!

The weekend is here.

You can launch your consulting business before Monday morning — and why not?

Nothing holds you back except the belief that consultants are more experienced, more highly-educated or more knowledgeable than you are.

That’s not true — and now you get to learn that for yourself!


This article was written by Liz Ryan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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