Being Business Consultant: There are certain myths that are attached to any career. But when it comes to business consulting, it seems that myths run rampant. Some myths make the career path out to be a glamorous lifestyle, filled with first-class flights and five-star hotels. Other myths try to make consultants out to be the equivalent of a slick-haired used car salesman.
Myth #1: You Have to Focus on Business or Finance
Perhaps it’s the fact that the title has the word “business” in it. But the assumption that a business consultant must focus on financial and business management aspects of consulting is just plain wrong. There are as many options for business consultants as there are different types of businesses. From copywriting consultants to HR consultants, if you can find a niche where you can provide needed knowledge and expertise, you can become a consultant.
Myth #2: You Need to Have A Lot of Experience
Everybody has to start somewhere, and that’s as true of business consultants as anyone else. And while some businesses are only going to be looking for very experienced consultants. There will be those who are looking for entry-level consultants. Just search for entry-level listings on websites like Upwork or Monster, and you’re likely to find something. But your best bet is to use your networking skills to build a rapport with business owners in order to land your contracts. When you have a relationship of trust, a little less experience doesn’t matter so much.
Myth #3: You Don’t Provide Any New Information
There’s a pretty popular saying about those in the consulting business: “They steal your watch and tell you the time.” Or, in other words, they only give you information that you probably could have gotten yourself; they don’t give you anything truly useful. Well, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. If it were true, would businesses still be seeking consultants every single day? It seems pretty likely that somebody would have caught onto the scam by now if there was one.
In an article written for Forbes, Muse magazine said, “Consultants solve some of the toughest questions for the biggest companies…. These are often questions for which no ‘watch’ exists, so we have to put in countless hours to find the right data, analyze that data, and then turn it into something that can directly help the client. The amount of thinking, passion, and pure work effort can yield some pretty amazing results. I am constantly amazed at the value my peers provide to their clients.”
Consultants are passionate and hard-working individuals that help business owners tackle challenging problems on a daily basis. They don’t steal your watch; they’re too busy building a better, more efficient watch for you.
Myth #4: You Can Consult with Anyone
While this is, in the broadest sense, possible, it’s not the best strategy for starting a business consulting firm. Nobody wants to hire the “jack of all trades, master of none”. They want someone who specializes in their industry. Who can offer valuable knowledge for their business specifically?
Sam Ovens, professional business consultant, and multi-millionaire asked the following question on his Twitter account: “The man who chases two rabbits catches none, but how does the man know which rabbit to chase… and how does he know that he wants that particular rabbit?” In the accompanying video, Sam points out that it’s okay to chase two rabbits for a little while, in order to figure out which rabbit you really want. But once you know which rabbit you want to catch, you should zone in on that rabbit and catch it.
So if you’re just starting out, it may be okay to be a bit of a generalist. But keep in mind that most businesses want to work with someone who can offer industry-specific knowledge, so you may want to specialize in something in the end.
These four myths will likely always hover around the consulting industry, but make sure you know the truth before letting them influence your decisions about entering this career field.