● Who is a Freelance Consultant?
● Different Freelance Consultant Roles
● How to Become a Freelance Consultant
● Skills Required to Become a Freelance Consultant
Are you looking to start your journey as a freelance consultant but don’t know where to begin? This article will help you understand what a career in freelance consulting offers, how you can choose your domain, and the skills required to get there.
A freelance consultant is someone who works independently with clients and businesses. As a freelance consultant, you can choose your rates and flexible working hours based on your marketable skills.
You can become a freelance marketing consultant, a freelance management consultant, and various other types. In order to do so, you need to build your network and find clients who want to engage you in an advisory or managing capacity.
Freelancers can work from any location, but there are some engagements where you are required to be in a specific geography. In today’s digital age, where teleconferencing technology is easily accessible, it is very easy to find work as a freelance consultant that allows you to work from anywhere.
As a freelance consultant, you can easily enjoy the benefits of
● Fixing your work schedule.
● Negotiating rates based on the demand and nature of engagement.
● Expanding knowledge and skills.
● Easily switching between domains.
No matter the type of consulting, a few standard expectations are attached to the freelancer’s role. These include,
● Billing your clients on time, according to a prescribed format.
● Time investment in building a client base.
● Having an office set up.
● Adhering to tax liabilities.
● Submitting work within the agreed-upon timelines.
● Drafting contracts and proposals.
Before starting your freelancing career, be careful to choose the right domain and role. This has to be based on your current skills and domain expertise. So, if you are an expert in social media, then a role as a freelance social media consultant is apt for you.
But if you have worked in the field of education for several years, then a freelance education consultant role might be more suited. To find out which type suits you the most, consider the following roles you can choose from.
- Strategy consulting: This broad umbrella involves strategic and advisory roles in various sectors and domains. If you have a background in business management or project management, you can choose this field of consulting. You can become a strategy consultant across domains – freelance business consultant, freelance management consultant, etc.
- Marketing consulting: From email marketing to content creation, you can do a lot as a freelance marketing consultant. Ideally, if you have an educational background in marketing or communications, the job becomes that much easier. And since every business relies on one form of marketing or the other, the demand for this type of freelance consultant is exceptionally high.
- Social media consulting: Although this is part of the larger marketing domain, social media management requires a very niche set of skills. Thus, freelance social media consultants are very much in demand. Social media engagement requires a specialized understanding of analytics and algorithms.
- PR consulting: A PR consultant is usually engaged by a company to manage the brand image and media relations. They typically help increase the reach of the brand by managing different stakeholders.
- SEO consulting: Another marketing branch, SEO also requires very specialized skills. This is why businesses often engage a freelance SEO expert to improve their performances.
- Leadership consulting: Leadership consultants typically act as mentors and advisors to a company’s core team that is responsible for its growth. A freelance consultant of this sort has extensive knowledge and work experience in domains such as strategy and growth, corporate communication, and leadership building.
- Design consulting: Design consultants can work on design thinking, program design, and the like. They may also be experts in interior designing, arts, or brand designing.
The world of freelance consulting can be extremely widespread. And thus confusing. Where do you begin? How do you start? Which field do you choose? How do you land your first project? These are questions any first-time freelance consultant invariably ends up asking themselves. Thankfully, the answers are uncomplicated and can be broken down into clear steps.
The first thing to get out of the way is to understand what you are good at and what you can offer as a service. Think about all the skills you have, and then see which ones stand out.
So, if you already have a background in marketing, for example, you can narrow it down further to PR or social media skills. And then attach an outcome to it. For example, if you want to become a freelance social media consultant, you can market yourself as “Increase your cost-per-click with expert offering on social media management.”
Take a close look at the market you are about to enter. And analyze what’s already taken and available in abundance. Then, identify the areas with high demand but comparatively low supply. Try to pitch your offering there to build your niche.
There are different ways to approach pricing. You can either set up hourly rates or quote a lump sum amount on a project basis. Some critical factors to consider will be your own time, skills, the client, and the volume of work.
This is a very crucial step that may often get overlooked by freelancers. It is almost impossible to keep finding work regularly as a freelance consultant without leveraging current relationships and building new ones.
Social media and other digital platforms like blog sites and web pages are a great way to showcase who you are. Make your presence on these platforms by building a solid portfolio that lets your work do the talking.
As a business uses funding proposals to attract donors, similarly, as a freelance consultant, you have to start writing solid proposals. These should clearly lay out what you are offering and rates and timelines. You can personalize your pitch further by researching the company you are pitching to. This can make a great first impression.
If you follow these basic steps, you should be good to go as a freelance consultant. But choose wisely. As a beginner, it might be very tempting to say yes to every assignment or project. But it may not always be good for you both in terms of value and return.
As a freelancer, there are two broad types of skills that you must possess:
- Technical or domain skills: This is the subject matter expertise that you must possess to land a project in the first place. Some of the best ones include,
○ Web app development: This is a highly demanded skill since all businesses rely on a website, application, or both. It is also an extremely desirable skill if you want to build your webpage to showcase your work and become a brand yourself.
○ Cloud computing: Amazon Web Services, Azure, and others are great tools to learn to enhance your portfolio manifold.
- Soft or intangible skills: These are skills that can enhance your freelancing experience and are good to have. Some essential soft skills include,
○ Project management
○ Entrepreneurial mindset
○ Time management
○ Administrative skills
It is desirable to have a balanced combination of these two skill types to progress as a freelance consultant.
Today, becoming a freelancer is not very difficult, especially when the gig economy is booming. Becoming a freelance consultant is relatively easy, with so many opportunities available. The flexibility to work from anywhere also adds to the rising demand for freelancers. So, pick up the pace, and start your journey today!
If you follow the details in this blog, you will be able to build a roadmap to become a freelance consultant soon.
● A freelance consultant has managerial and strategic skills and can work independently with clients.
● There are multiple domains of work to start your freelance career – management, marketing, social media, and others.
● As a freelance consultant, you must define your niche skills and USP.
● A freelancer must build strong networks to ensure meaningful work keeps flowing in regularly.
● You can focus on building certain technical skills commonly in demand, like web app development or cloud computing.
● A freelancer must strive to build other essential skills, including strong communication, effective time management, project management, and an entrepreneurial mindset.
Freelancing is an independent work mode where you can find short-term or long-term projects directly with clients.
A freelance consultant can find jobs by leveraging networking platforms like LinkedIn or through personal relationships.
Some of the top skills that a freelance consultant should have include project management, web app development, cloud computing, time management, and leadership.
You can easily become a freelance consultant if you have expertise in a particular domain such as strategic thinking, leadership, finance, technology, etc.