What are you good at? Seriously, think about your talents, your areas of expertise, the things you do better than anybody else that you know. Have something in mind? If not, you’re not alone. The fact is, it’s hard for us to admit that we think we’re better at something than others.
When it comes down to it, though, you almost certainly have a strength that sets you apart from the rest. It could be in programming, writing, music, art, sports, or whatever area you’re drawn to. Believe it or not, you have legitimate strengths that make you special.
This post isn’t just to boost your mood, although that would be a good side effect. The real purpose here is to show that you can utilize your talents in such a way that they pay the bills. The name of the game here is “consulting.”
Now, being a consultant isn’t for everyone, because if it was, we’d all be consultants! If you have a genuine interest in doing consulting work in your chosen field, however, there is definitely a viable path forward for you.
The problem arises in the initial few steps, though. Once you start thinking about what actually goes into a consulting job, you realize that there’s no possible way that you, of all people, could answer any and all questions lobbed your way. There’s no way that you could always steer your clients in the right direction and lead them invariably to success.
Now, what if I told you that you don’t have to do those things? The fact of the matter is, consulting is not just for gurus and tenured professors. It really can be for you, provided you are willing to work tirelessly, learn quickly, and can adjust on the fly.
Just look at Peter Szabo, a good buddy of mine who’s quickly become one of the world’s most sought-after (I’m serious) digital marketing consultants at just 18 years old. In fact, though noticeably young, not only does he guarantee his clients real, measurable ROI, but because of it, he’s making more money than the president of his home country — Slovakia.
All this from consulting.
Truth be told, though, Peter’s success isn’t only limited to him — you’re much more qualified to be a consultant than you think. Still not sure? No worries —- allow me to try and convince you:
Just like everyone else, you’ll learn on the fly
As a consultant, you’ll learn one thing very quickly: things are always changing. What your client wants one day will likely not be what he or she wants the next. That’s just the way people are. If you have the ability to roll with the punches and adapt what you had in mind as circumstances change, you’re already in a very good spot in your journey to becoming a consultant.
Being able to learn and adapt quickly is probably something you’ve already picked up on the job. Although no two situations are analogous, the skills they teach you can be applied across the spectrum. When you plan, allow for some wiggle room so that you can change when — not if — your client springs a surprise on you.
You have a stronger network than you think
Strength is not found in knowing everything, it’s found in knowing a lot of people who know something. Odds are, during your pre-consulting days, you worked with a lot of people and formed some good professional connections.
Take advantage of these connections when faced with projects or questions on the job. If you’re advising or overseeing a project that falls slightly outside of your subject matter expertise, get in contact with someone who you know could knock this project out of the park. Glean from them what direction they’d go, and add your own personal expertise to your solution. Being a consultant doesn’t mean you’re on an island.
You always have Google at your disposal
A craftsman is only as good as his tools, and luckily for you, you have the best tool in the world sitting right in your pocket. Should a problem arise that you’ve never seen before, feel free to do a couple of quick searches to find out all you need to know.
To be clear, a search engine will never be able to replace your own ingenuity and expertise (not yet, anyway). Rely primarily on your knowledge and instincts, but don’t be afraid to fill in the gaps with a few reliable articles you found online. Answers are out there, and nobody has to know how you came to find them.
Nervous about launching your career as consultant?
Don’t be — all you need is some successful experience, some productive failures, a lot of sweat equity, and the willingness to scrap a plan on a minute’s notice. If this sounds like you, congrats — you’re already qualified to be a consultant.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.