If you’ve ever wondered how to become a consultant or how to start a consulting business, you can quickly learn the skills you need to launch your dream career. The world of consulting has many consultant specialties to choose from, so it’s a good idea to learn about all the options before becoming a consultant.
The main benefits of a career in consulting are flexibility to be your own boss along with getting to work with a variety of interesting clients and companies. No special education is required become a consultant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 28% of consultants do not have a university degree of any kind.
Let’s take a look at seven profitable niches for specialty consultants that can help you decide your path to becoming a professional consultant.
When you work as a business consultant, executives and managers turn to you for direction in running their businesses. You will help businesses and other organizations identify problems, and you will recommend solutions to those problems. Business consultants are respected and relied upon in every industry in every country, admired for both their expertise and their independent external views.
As a business consultant or management consultant, you might choose to specialize in areas such as: communications consulting, e-business consulting, human resources consulting, marketing consulting, organizational development, small business consulting, strategic planning, operations consulting, technology consulting, or any other areas in which organizations need professional advice.
Even during economic downturns, companies need business consultants to help them increase revenues and cut costs. It is no wonder business consultants are among the most highly paid professionals. According to research from Harvard Business School, the business consulting industry generates about $100 billion in annual revenues from U.S. consultants.
Etiquette consultants teach people the types of behaviors and skills they need to succeed in both business and in life. Clients will know the right thing to say or do, as you share your love of good manners with adults, professionals, children, or companies. From the corporate world to the school classroom, etiquette training programs are in tremendous demand.
When you become an etiquette consultant, you might offer personal coaching or group training programs in all areas of etiquette, or you could choose to specialize in an area such as: business etiquette, children’s etiquette, communication etiquette, dining etiquette, international protocol, social etiquette, or wedding etiquette. By becoming an etiquette consultant, you can specialize in coaching adults or children on proper etiquette. While many individuals hire etiquette consultants, you might also be hired by corporate clients, schools, or other organizations.
For example, a company might hire you to help a junior manager learn proper business etiquette or teach a senior executive to make a good impression meeting with clients from different countries where customs can vary. Etiquette consultants are also hired to present training seminars or workshops on topics related to protocol, such as phone etiquette for customer service staff.
As a human resources consultant, you will help businesses or other organizations manage and govern their staff. Employees are one of a company’s most valuable resources. Therefore like other consultant specialties, human resources consultants are respected and hired in industries all over the world.
As a link between management and employees, the HR consultant’s goal is to foster positive relationships, to increase job satisfaction, and to make sure employee needs are met.
When you become a human resources consultant, you might specialize in a specific area of HR or help companies with a range of human resources matters including recruitment and hiring, training and development, human resources administration, salary and benefits, or employee relations. These activities may involve attracting qualified employees and matching them to jobs within the organization.
Human resources consultants might also specialize in creating or conducting employee orientation and technical training and professional development classes for staff members and management. An HR consultant can also specialize in developing company policies and procedures, employee surveys, and other administrative policies or procedures.
Working as a human resources consultant often can include recommending or administering employee pay and benefits, or working with employees and management to address staff member concerns, administer performance appraisals, and recommend employee assistance programs.
Our image is the way other people view us. Image consulting has become a booming industry thanks in part to the popularity of television shows such as What Not to Wear, Extreme Makeover, and Queer Eye.
A variety of different terms are used to describe image consultants or image consulting such as perception or appearance management, personal branding, or personal presentation. Image consultant specialties are also referred to as fashion consulting, image management, and visual branding. Other popular terms for an image consultant include fashion stylist, makeover consultant, and wardrobe consultant.
Image influences whether people will agree to our requests, hire us, and pay us the salary we want. When you become an image consultant, you can provide people with advice that will help them achieve their goals, whether it is to get a new job, to make a good first impression, or simply to feel more confident.
Image consultants often give feedback to improve their client’s overall image, specific aspects of their physical appearance, or their vocal and non-verbal communication. As an image consultant, you may decide to assist anyone who wants image consulting services, or choose to specialize in working with particular types of clients. These various clients might include with women who want a new look, job seekers, lawyers and their clients, cancer survivors, television personalities, transgender individuals, executives and their spouses, politicians and their families, or singles seeking a partner.
Image consultants are also hired by corporate clients to work with executives or present training programs geared towards helping the company’s overall public image. For example, a company might hire you to help a new supervisor communicate effectively with employees, or to coach a senior executive to make a good impression during public relations interviews or events.
Companies or other organizations may hire you to present seminars or workshops on topics such as dressing in a professional manner, effective communication skills, and other relevant topics for the best image both internally and externally.
When you become an image consultant, you might choose to offer services such as image analysis or makeover consulting, fashion styling or wardrobe consulting, or makeup analysis. This might entail giving someone feedback on the overall image they are projecting and helping them develop a new image.
A personal image consultant could be hired to review someone’s current wardrobe to determine what should be discarded or purchased, coordinating outfits, and closet organizing. Part of image consulting can also include providing advice on other specific aspects of physical appearance such as colors, skin care, makeup application, or hairstyles.
An image consultant knows that image is more than physical appearance. In addition to how someone looks, people also form impressions based on how that person talks and behaves. Therefore, as an image consultant, you might also consult with clients about vocal communications, non-verbal communications, or etiquette. This means that image consulting can provide specialized advice in voice, grammar, and vocabulary, handshakes, posture, and eye contact, along with business etiquette, social graces, and dining customs.
The main goal of a public relations consultant is to face a communications challenge and come up with creative solutions to inform, influence, or persuade people. Public relations consultants provide communication services for all types of organizations ranging from politics, entertainment, finance, health care, high tech, publishing, sports, retail, and tourism to name a few.
A public relations consultant’s clients might pose challenges such as how can we persuade people to vote for our candidate, get our book onto the bestseller list, or encourage people to donate to our charity or invest in our company? In response, PR consultants often provide services such as press releases, interview coaching, publicity, fundraising, lobbying, crisis management, media relations, event organizing, and strategic planning.
By becoming a PR consultant, you will likely work with a variety of interesting and important people who all need help in communicating their message to the masses. Some public relations consultants work with celebrities or public figures, while others are hired to consult with executives or spokespeople for corporations or non-profit organizations. This is why working as a public relations consultant is often viewed as a glamorous, rewarding career.
Public relations consultants can gain a huge sense of satisfaction while planning a public relations project, seeing the results, and being an insider behind the scenes. In this modern era of instantaneous all-day media coverage together with viral videos and images, PR consultants are more significant than ever at helping clients manage their public communications and perceptions.
The relatively new role of social media consultants is a rapidly expanding field as companies and organizations realize the importance of social media to their strategic marketing plans. Faced with rapidly changing technologies and shifting world economies, brands of all types need social media consultants to help them connect with their customers while also increasing traffic and revenues.
So it’s no surprise that those who decide to become a social media consultant are among the most in-demand specialty consultants today. They use tools like smartphones and laptops to get the word out across the web through campaigns for clients.
Industries of all types are increasingly adding social media consultants to their promotion budgets. According to a study co-sponsored by Duke University, companies are expected to spend 20% of their marketing budgets on social media over the next five years.
Social media consultants are sought after by entrepreneurs and organizations alike. Whether it is local business owners looking to drive foot traffic or non-profit organizations seeking to get out the word about their cause, there are many ways to specialize when becoming a social media consultant. Well-known individuals, politicians, and celebrities also need social media consultants to manage and moderate their public accounts on online platforms.
As a social media consultant you can choose to focus on a diverse range of activities on behalf of your clients. One key emphasis of social media marketing is content creation and publishing which might involve blogging, SEO (search engine optimization), video content, and public relations activities. Platform management and advertising is another key area for social media consultants who are experts at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and other emerging social platforms.
When you become a travel consultant or start your own travel agency, you’ll be advising clients on top vacation destinations, worldwide accommodations, exciting tours, and cruise lines to fit their budgets and needs. If you have just as much fun planning vacations as you do taking them, then becoming a travel consultant might be an ideal dream career. Travel consultants also get insider tips about the latest trendy travel destinations, gain exclusive access to discounted travel offers, and get the best deals and rates for their own travel adventures.
While there are still traditional job openings for travel consultants at travel agencies, recent changes in the industry have allowed many travel consultants to start home-based travel businesses where they can work flexible hours while still earning valuable commissions.
Becoming a travel consultant means you can choose to specialize in any kind of travel that interests you. Options include adventure travel, eco-tourism, cruises, Disney vacations, winery tours, national parks tours, African safaris, and European vacations.
Successful travel consultants are also the recipients of a number of industry benefits, ranging from discounts on travel products to free vacation experiences. You can save money on your own travel plans along with shopping around for the best deals that only industry professionals get wind of.
The number of people taking vacations is on the rise due to increasing disposable incomes, smaller families, and affluent baby boomers entering retirement age. While it’s true that the Internet has allowed consumers better access to travel information, many still look to travel consultants to ensure reliability and accuracy, as well as save them time and money.
Travel consultants help clients choose from an increasingly overwhelming selection of travel products. There are thousands of vacation packages, hotels, and airfares to choose from, multiple client schedules to accommodate, and a massive amount of travel information out there. Most leisure travelers use a professional travel consultant to take the stress out of traveling.
Whatever path you choose, there are many successful roads you can take as a specialty consultant. IAP Career College offers comprehensive online certificate courses in all of these consultant specialties, so you can begin your journey by completing a course in just four to twelve weeks from anywhere online.