From Forbes, Abdullahi Muhammed offers his 5 step approach to becoming a successful freelance consultant. Abdullahi writes:
If you want to start or reboot your career as a freelance consultant, here’s a step-by-step strategy to make sure you’re paid well.
1. Pick your niche
There are a lot of people today selling knowledge online on subjects they don’t actually know much about. If you want to become a successful freelance consultant, you need to pick a niche where you actually have real expertise.
Just because you have an interest in marketing doesn’t mean you’re equipped to become a successful marketing consultant. You’ll need to take the time to build extensive knowledge on the topic. That said, you don’t need a BA in marketing to do it either. There are plenty of e-courses and webinars out there to help you broaden your skillset.
Alternatively, you can also choose a niche where you’re already considered an expert because of your day job.
2. Set up your platform
Next, you’ll need to set up your platform to attract clients to your business. Usually, this is a website. Setting this up is actually one of the easy parts – see my how to make a website tutorial. What should your website include? At a minimum, you’ll want an explanation of your services, credentials and some testimonials to back you up.
Also, freelance marketplaces are a good place to set up your profile and let clients discover you. These marketplaces often get the bad rap for being mills where freelancers get paid ridiculously low rates but if you’re not the famous Neil Patel (who reports charging $5,000 an hour for consulting), I wouldn’t rely only on your website to get leads.
“Freelancers need more marketplaces to create leverage and increase earnings,” says Jeff Tennery, CEO of Moonlighting, a mobile, on-demand app that connects people looking to work and earn more money with people ready to hire through its platform and scores of media partners. “The more places that freelancers can be discovered, the more clients they can secure, increasing demand and higher rates. Moonlighting is now available in over 150 news media outlets like the Chicago Tribune, LA Times and USA Today, plus is being preloaded onto 100,000+ Verizon Mobile devices nationwide giving freelancers more opportunities to work and more selection of higher paid gigs.”
3. Choose your rates
Once you have your platform set up, you’ll need to choose your rates. You may or may not want to publish these on your site. Keeping them private will give you the option to adjust them for certain clients when necessary.
How much should you charge? This is the biggest factor that determines how quickly you can become well-paid. Set your rates too low, and you’ll likely spend a long time busying yourself with work that doesn’t pay well.
To get an idea, Kennedy Information did a survey of consulting fees for a partner small management or IT consulting firm. They charge $294 per hour on average. In comparison, an independent entry-level consultant charges on average $175 per hour.
To command higher consulting rates, Moonlighting CEO, Jeff Tennery, says you have to treat your freelancing like the legit business that it is and invest in marketing via various channels so you can generate more interest than you can fulfill, and be more selective in the projects you accept, “which could include price, or overall contentment in the project.”
Read the full story at How To Become A Top Freelance Consultant