Traditionally, working as a consultant meant meeting with companies and individuals who need their expert advice. Thanks to advances in software and the internet, online consulting jobs are now available to experts in various fields and industries.
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Businesses and brands that want to grow and improve their products, services, or company processes are willing to pay consultants to make suggestions, recommend changes, and provide expert advice.
Consultants are paid for their expertise as well as their time and effort in talking with company executives, studying their processes, and providing the best solutions for their problems.
Today, modern tools are in place so that consultants can do all these online from their homes or anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
If you’ve conducted research, taught in a specific field, built a successful company from scratch, or simply have extensive experience in a certain trade, you may be on the right track to score high-paying online consulting jobs.
In today’s article, you’ll learn how you can start being a consultant and where to find online consulting jobs.
How to Build an Online Consulting Business
By definition, a consultant is “a person who provides professional or expert advice in a particular field.”
It is as general as it sounds, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage; it means that anyone can be a consultant, but also that competition can potentially be great.
To navigate your way around this new path and become the authority in your chosen field, here’s how to build an online consulting business from scratch:
1. Identify your niche and prove your worth.
You can be good at two or more things, but find something that you’re exceptional at, then prove it with real-world examples (e.g., case studies, portfolio, certification, awards, and other credentials) that would sell your talent to clients.
Building expertise in one niche takes time. Sometimes, consultants spend their entire careers mastering their craft.
Open up to the idea that although you’re superior at what you do, you still have to hone your craft continuously.
2. Maintain an online portfolio.
Creating a portfolio and making it available online makes it easier for potential customers to know about you, your career, and your consulting business, sometimes even before they send you a message or hire you as a consultant.
You have two choices here: maintain a LinkedIn account and keep it up to date, or build a portfolio website that would serve as your modern-day résumé and calling card.
Whenever people Google your name, the main search results should include your LinkedIn profile or your website.
Aside from your basic information and contact details (don’t include sensitive information, though), your website or LinkedIn profile should have a list of services offered, credentials, and awards.
If you can collect client testimonials, make sure to showcase them, too!
3. Find online consulting jobs.
Here’s where it gets interesting:
When you begin your consultancy business, you’re lucky to get more than two clients at a time.
It is totally OK.
Many consultants begin with no clients at all.
But you shouldn’t just wait for people to go your way. You must actively find projects, at least at the beginning of your career.
There are plenty of websites (see below) that connect consultants with potential clients for a specific job, campaign, or project. These websites are your best starting points to find consulting jobs online.
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You don’t have to pay membership fees for most of the sites, but you often do need to register as a member and provide some information.
Make your profile interesting and include as much information about your specialization as you can since clients will be deciding whether to message you based on this profile.
Note that depending on the site you joined, some inquiries may not be forwarded to your registered e-mail address, so check the sites regularly.
4. Price your skill appropriately.
Consulting rates vary significantly depending on factors like the field of industry, size of the project, the company size of the client, your own expertise, the platform where you found your client, and more.
For this reason, many consultants do not publish a rate card on their websites or job board profiles.
However, it’s important that you set up a fee structure for specific tasks that are frequently requested.
For example, if you’re a personal finance consultant and a client needs help in dividing his income into investment and savings, you should be able to quickly give this potential client a quote for this service.
You’ll need to learn how to price your services appropriately based on your skillset and how much value you can bring to the table.
Be prepared for clients asking for discounts—these things happen all the time. Stick to your rate and respect your own skills and expertise.
If you notice your calendar is getting too cramped, consider increasing your rates. It means that your advice is in demand and that people are willing to pay higher consultancy fees for it.
5. Market your services.
Proactively spreading the word about your online consultancy service helps you turn this freelance gig into a full-fledged business.
If you’re confident that your expertise is sellable, invest in yourself through marketing. You don’t even have to leave your home to do this.
Take advantage of online networking and marketing.
Create email campaigns and send them to your friends, family, colleagues, and other contacts.
If you don’t already know how, learn social media marketing and engage with other people in your industry or field through LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
6. Know when to say no.
Saying “no” to jobs can be hard, especially if you’re new to freelancing and still experiencing that anxiety of having nothing to work on the next day or the next week.
However, indiscriminately saying “yes” to everything can result in you committing to projects you don’t have the heart or time to do.
Learn how to stick up for yourself and decline projects that you know you won’t be able to do.
How Much Do Online Consultants Make?
On average, those new to online consulting jobs charge around $175 per hour. Some consultants charge as low as $50 an hour, while others have $500 per hour or higher rates. As you might guess, online consulting jobs do not have uniform rates.
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Consultants compute their fees by doubling their hourly wages, using daily rates, quoting per-project, quoting per-performance, going by industry rates, and so on.
10 Sites to Find Online Consulting Jobs
Now that you know how to start freelancing as a consultant, here are 10 legitimate websites that either list online consulting jobs or connect clients to providers.
I strongly advise starting your consultancy job search at FlexJobs.
When you go through FlexJobs, you can rest assured that the job opportunities you find are real and legitimate. Each and every one of the companies that submit jobs for posting has gone through FlexJobs’ checks to verify if they are legitimate companies.
Starting your search with FlexJobs saves you the time and the headache of doing the research and the checking yourself.
Launched in 2012, this website focuses on start-ups, so the experts they need must have knowledge in entrepreneurship, start-ups, business processes, and so on. Here’s how Clarity works:
- Experts create a profile with a per-minute and hourly rate included ($60 per hour is the minimum hourly rate and experts can control this rate)
- Clients find an expert and set up 3 calls (specifying 3 different dates and times when they’re available)
- If an expert thinks they can handle the question/inquiry, the expert chooses a meeting schedule ideal for them and accepts the job
- The client confirms the conference schedule, connects with the expert, and pays the per-minute rate
Clarity charges the expert a 15% fee for successful jobs.
To start your application, you’ll need to sign up and complete your profile first to access the application page.
This New York-based company is always looking for experts in the fields of healthcare, life sciences, technology, media, telecommunications, industrials, policymaking, legal affairs, accounting, business services, finance, real estate, consumer goods, and retail.
- Experts join (for free) and fill out your profile, attach your résumé, and other credentials. As an expert, you can also import your LinkedIn profile instead and set your hourly rate.
- ExpertConnect will contact you (or other experts) when a client requests a consultation. You will be notified via e-mail.
- The job details the project, compensation, and other information.
- Experts have the last say—they can accept or decline the consultation.
Your compensation will be based on the hourly rate you set and the projects you accepted. Experts have to send ExpertConnect an invoice to receive consultation fees incurred.
Maven calls itself the world’s largest microconsulting company, with thousands of experts (or Mavens) from all walks of life and fields of industry from 200 countries.
From scientists and doctors to farmers, barbers, auto mechanics, and truck drivers, there’s a home here to become a Maven as long as you know a lot about a subject.
To become a Maven:
- Sign up using your LinkedIn, Google, or Facebook credentials
- Fill out a profile and set your hourly rate. (Note that Maven accepts $25 per hour as the lowest possible rate you can set). If you’re unsure, you can check the rate calculator to see potential rates for your field and experience.
- Wait for clients to contact you for projects. If you receive an invitation to a phone consultation via email, you can either accept or decline the job.
Maven’s consultations are not just limited to phone conversations. Aside from online consulting jobs, you can also be invited to face-to-face sessions or a more long-term consulting position that may last weeks or months. Note that these extended consultations require pre-screening and extra interviews.
If you want to earn more, refer people to Maven and earn 10% of all your referral’s earnings.
GLG’s clientele comes from different industries, including life sciences, technology, consumer goods, investments and private equity, and market research. It boasts a 1,400-strong client base that has successfully been supported by over 650,000 GLG experts from around the world.
It has a network of academics, CEOs, subject-matter experts on every topic imaginable, policymakers, and more.
GLG experts can set their own rates, depending on their experience, designation, and practice area. On average, GLG experts in a non-tech field can charge somewhere between $200 and $1000 an hour to talk to clients.
Zintro connects clients posting projects of various sizes, from microconsulting requests to long-term projects worth thousands of dollars or more.
Clients fill out a form with details of their requirements, Zintro matches these requirements with Experts in their network, matched Experts contact clients back with their qualifications and why they’re a good fit for the project, and then clients choose which experts to engage with.
Aside from your fee as an Expert, you can earn additional cash for referring other consultants to sign up on Zintro as Experts.
GrowthMentor prides itself on vetting its mentors so their clients can have the best possible advice.
To be even considered as a growth mentor, you’ll need to have 5 years of demonstrable experience in their chosen field, listening skills, and the ability to empathize with their clients.
When you apply, you’ll go through a culture fit interview, a practical assessment, and a final interview with the founder of GrowthMentor before you can finally get online consulting jobs through their website.
Mentors need to have three reviews before they can charge for their services and ten reviews to charge more than $100 per hour.
Membership fees for clients start at $75 per month, paid quarterly
Conrati is a platform for people (Advice Receivers) who need mentorship to receive advice from experts (Advice Providers) to connect with each other while taking care of bookings and calendar integrations, phone and video consultations, as well as invoicing and payment processing.
Conrati charges their Advice Providers 10% of the hourly fee paid by Advice Receivers as a platform fee.
With more than 3,000 management, business, and digital consultants, Consultport is one of the popular consulting platforms online.
Similar to other websites on this list, once you’ve applied and then accepted to be a consultant, you can start being notified of projects that fit your expertise.
You can then submit a pitch that highlights why you’ll be a good fit for the project and when approved, you can start working on it.
COMATCH is a Germany-based global consultancy marketplace with state-of-the-art matching of projects with independent consultants from all over the world.
You’ll need to have either 2 years of experience in a high-class consultancy environment (e.g., management consultancy or financial consultancy) or at least 10 years of professional experience in your field if you don’t have consultancy experience.
The Bottom Line
Online consulting jobs offer some of the best-paying work-from-home jobs we’ve ever seen.
If you have extra funds and want to kickstart your business by landing more online consulting jobs, you can also purchase a spot (pay for a listing fee) to be featured as an expert on one of the sites above.
You don’t have to be an inspirational speaker, CEO, or successful entrepreneur to share your knowledge.
If you have extensive experience in writing, business, finance, advertising, human resources, computer science, counseling, sewing, teaching, driving, or other specific jobs, you can land online consulting jobs as long as you’re willing to help and assist individuals and companies with their problems.
How does online consulting as a career sound? Did we miss out on other consulting companies you can apply to? Tell us in the comments!