Home Studies Course - How to be a Consultant

  • Learn how to plan, set up, and run your own consultancy business.
  • Be guided by experienced and qualified international experts
  • Increase your awareness; plan your entry into a consultancy business, learn about the risks and improve your chance of success

How to be a Consultant

  • Learn how to plan, set up, and run your own consultancy business.
  • Be guided by experienced and qualified international experts
  • Increase your awareness; plan your entry into a consultancy business, learn about the risks and improve your chance of success

This is the ideal Professional Development Course for anyone who already has qualifications, experience and expertise in any industry!


There are eight lessons in this module as follows:

1. Determining if a Consultancy Practice is for You

    - Attributes of successful consultants
    - Advantages & disadvantages
    - Codes of Conduct
    - Are you ready?

2. Planning a Consultancy Practice: Part 1

    - Methods of getting into consultancy

    - Business structure & name
    - Working from home or an office
    - Insurance
    - Financing
    - Equipment
    - Set up costs
    - Surviving start up 
    - Getting assistance

3. Planning a Consultancy Practice: Part 2

    - A comprehensive Business Plan & Implementation / Pro-forma

4. Knowing What to Charge

   - Your costs
   - Available Working Time
   - Different ways to charge
   - Value based fees & justifying your fees

5. Setting Up Your Consulting Practice

   - Letting clients find out about you/Advertising/Marketing
   - Creating a press kit
   - Internet
   - Image
   - Networking

6. Keeping Accounts and Records

  - Keeping Records
  - Source documents
  - The invoice
  - Time sheets
  - Being organized

7. How to Generate Business & Keep It

   - Using agents/brokers
   - Using other consultants
   - Asking advice from clients & potential clients
   - Asking for a reference
   - Tenders
   - Writing articles
   - Successful client relations
   - Keeping clients
   - What to do if a potential client says ‘no’
   - Principles of acquiring business

8. Maintaining Your Consultancy Practice

   - Professional development
   - Hiring staff to expand your business
   - Creating passive income
   - Pitfalls to avoid


Opportunities for Consultants

What do we mean by being a consultant? Essentially, a consultant is someone with expertise in a particular area who offers advice to others. A consultant may be regarded as having expert knowledge because what they specialise in is beyond the scope of most people's awareness. Usually, a consultant is employed on a temporary basis until a particular task has been completed. They are needed because there is no-one within a company or institution with the type of knowledge which is sought. In business, a consultant may be hired to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a business. In landscaping, a consultant may be hired because they have an extensive knowledge of the symptoms of plant nutrient deficiencies. In mental health, a psychologist may act as a consultant with regards to a particular group of mental health disorders, for instance, autism spectrum disorders. 

There are therefore consultants who represent a broad range of professions and industries. A consultant is basically someone that other people will turn to for their knowledge, expertise and ideas. People with expertise in several different areas, for instance in a number of different facets of business management, may work as consultants in several different capacities or roles. Since there is a wide range of types of consultant, we shall just consider just some in detail here.

Who Employs Consultants?

A consultant may be employed by an individual, or directly by a company, government department, or individual, or they may be employed indirectly through an agency, to fulfill a short-term role.   

Consultants may be required by a variety of employers. Sometimes they may be consulted regularly by the same employer for varying lengths of employment, at other times it may be a one-off contract. 


Certain types of consultants are more likely to be engaged by individuals. For example, Martina runs her own care agency offering care packages for people with disabilities.  Occasionally, social services ask her to carry out assessments on clients to establish their care requirements. When this is needed, Martina will employ a consultant social worker, or independent social worker, to carry out the assessment on an ad hoc basis.

In another situation you might have a horticulturalist who offers private consultancy to individuals in relation to plant pests and diseases. An individual may appoint the consultant to visit their property so that they can offer advice about a particular problem which is affecting a plant or group of plants in their garden. 

Government Agencies and Departments

Government agencies and departments may also use consultants. For example, with changes to the health and safety laws, a government agency may bring in legal consultants to advise them on their own policies and procedures in relation to health and safety.

Small Companies

Small companies may also make use of consultants. This can be a cost effective way of gaining expert advice without having to permanently employ a specialist. For example, a small company may employ a human resources consultant to help them develop a plan for recruitment and interview new staff.

Large Corporations

Some consultants may be employed by larger corporations to be available to provide their expertise to a wide range of individuals or groups employed by that organisation. In some cases these may be full-time consultants; or they may be paid to do consulting work when required. They are therefore employed full-time by that organisation and work 'in house'. In other cases, larger businesses may again bring in consultants from outside the business for certain areas of expertise.

Employment Agencies

Employment agencies may offer work for consultants by matching the needs for consultants requested by companies, individuals, and so forth to the consultancy work offered by clients registered with them.   

Consultancy Offshoots

Sometimes being a consultant can lead to other work opportunities associated with consulting.  

Interim Managers
Sometimes businesses and agencies may need to appoint a manager on a temporary basis. Often this is in a higher management role such as an executive, and may be regarded as somewhere between a manager and a consultant. 

Project Managers
A consultant who becomes involved in the early stages of a project (eg. by doing a feasibility study), will sometimes be an attractive candidate to manage the project in future. Their familiarity with the project specifics, is a distinct advantage and if they have broader skills needed for the task at hand, they may be an obvious candidate.

Expert Witnesses
Anyone with expert knowledge in a given area or industry could act as an expert witness in court, in recent years there has been a trend towards establishing registries of expert witnesses who are willing to make themselves available to provide information in court cases.    

Trainers, Researchers, Writers
Working as a consultant involves delivering advice or information that is deficient in an organisation. Providing teaching services to deliver that information or advice, undertaking further research into a subject, or writing about it can all, at times,  be a natural progression for the consultant.