5 things to know about starting a consulting business, Jessica Fearnley



If you’re ready to step out of your corporate career and start your own consulting business, you might be wondering if you really can run a business around your family and other commitments. Where will you find your first clients? What level of income is realistic?


Here are five things to keep you on the right track.



1) Talk about your business goals


Do you know what you want but think you can’t have it? I speak to so many women who don’t lead with what they want. It’s there in their mind, but they may not have said it out loud before or even articulated it to themselves.


It is SO important to feel confident and brave enough to state your business goals - and the money you want to make. To yourself. Out loud. And to other people.



2) Start where you are


You wouldn’t expect to run the full distance on your first day of doing a couch-to-5k. Yet, as high achieving women, we so often expect ourselves to be mastering new systems and challenges immediately. Start with small but strategic steps which will get you to your goal in two steps rather than 12.


It’s easy to get hung up on perfectionism. This is why I love journaling. You simply grab a pen and paper and work through it. Develop that practice of having a place where it’s ok to admit you don’t know, or that you are worried, and allow your solutions to form.



3) Your consultancy business can be profitable from day one


Women can make a huge contribution to the economy and society at large. Up to £250 billion of new value could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as UK men, according to a report by Alison Rose, CEO of commercial and private banking at NatWest.


You might have been told that you should expect there to be a long period where your consulting business doesn’t make any money. Whether you are a solo consultant or building a team of consultants, there is absolutely no reason why your consultancy firm cannot be profitable from day one - and you should start with this in mind.



4) Learn to ‘shrug off’ the rough days


It can be tough being the boss. You often have to have your ‘game face’ on, and the more you build your business, the more the mindset stuff can get in your way.


Each step leads to new possibilities with more questions to answer. You have to make decisions about issues you haven’t encountered before.


Growing pains will happen at every stage of your business, but you don’t need to give up just yet! Always take a moment to celebrate the successes of the week. And remember to take notice of how much progress you’ve made along the way.



5) Your business will make an impact in so many ways


Women are re-writing the rules of business right now. For a lot of women, building a business is not just about the take home pay and nice holidays and paying off the mortgage. It's about the life you want to have when you retire. It's about the life you want your kids to have.


It’s also not all about the money: it's about reaching more people and having an impact for good on the world.


In future articles, I will be talking about consulting businesses, increasing business revenue, creating a better work/ life balance, raising prices, mindset and confidence - all the ingredients you need for a successful and profitable consulting business.


 

Jessica Fearnley is a business coach for women B2B consultants, host of the Seven Figure Consultant Podcast, and LinkedIn Top Voices 2019 for Entrepreneurship & Small Business.