Types of Consultants
Are you considering a career as a consultant? Want to learn about the different types of consultants? You’re certainly not alone. Not only can consulting be rewarding financially, but it’s a great career to pursue if you want to be independent and manage your own income.
In this guide, we’ll break down what consulting is, a few different types of consultants, and how to pick the right consulting position for you.
What is Consulting?
Consulting is a pretty broad term. Essentially, a consultant helps companies do various things by providing advice, proven methods, deployment, etc. A consultant will be responsible for helping companies increase their profits and overall efficiency by addressing challenges in their businesses.
There are consultants for basically any industry, such as marketing consultants, management consultants, etc. However, the key responsibilities of a consultant are as follows:
- Conduct research and interviews to understand a specific business
- Analyze statistics
- Look for issues in different areas of a business
- Assess the negatives and positives of different possible strategies
- Implement solutions
- Work with business stakeholders and leaders to find better solutions
- Continue developing and implementing new procedures
- Provide consultation and advice for different business decisions
Most consultants are independent contractors who run their own businesses. If you want a more independent career and have some experience in a specific niche that could be valuable for consulting, then this career path could be perfect for you.
What are the Positives and Negatives of Being a Consultant?
Positives of Being a Consultant
- If you’re wondering how much do consultants charge, the answer can vary. However, most consultants can enjoy a salary between $50,000 to $90,000.
- You can advance pretty quickly in your career field.
- It’s easy to build a powerful network of peers and colleagues.
- You’ll be able to learn something new all the time.
- You can focus on separating your work from your personal life, rather than the other way around.
Negatives of Being a Consultant
- You’ll have to be in charge of your own consulting agreement , consulting contract, or independent contractor agreement . This can be tedious, as terms to include in consulting agreements can be complex and easily worked around.
- Turnover can be common.
- Traveling, depending on the type of consulting work you do, can be extensive, expensive, and demanding.
- There is a lot of pressure to succeed.
Image via Unsplash by Amy Hirschi
Types of Consultants
This broad form of consulting involves helping high-level decision-makers make the right choices for their business. If you tend to think of the bigger picture and have worked with directors and senior managers in the past, this type of consulting work could be perfect for you.
Marketing consultants will help assist businesses with everything from email to paid acquisition to content marketing. Typically, a marketing consultant will look at how to increase conversions and runs ads as efficiently (and cheaply) as possible.
As with strategy consulting, operations consulting can be a fairly broad thing. Typically, an operational consultant will use data and research to assist a business with streamlining its operations and improve its overall performance. They will typically take on marketing operations, sales operations, and even HR operations. Those with experience in management will do well in this position.
This type of consulting work will involve working with businesses, nonprofits, and individuals alike. Essentially, financial consultants are responsible for managing the finances of others by identifying possible cutbacks to improve ROI, protecting and maximizing profits, and restructuring a business’s bottom line. Since small businesses won’t often hire finance managers, a financial consultant is a great alternative. If you have a history in accounting, this type of work would suit you.
Human resources consultants will help organizations with everything from training to development to employee satisfaction to conflict resolution. HR consultants with a background in human resources or even just crisis control will thrive in this position. HR consulting can take place in a wide range of industries, such as healthcare and recruitment.
The leaders in an organization, especially one that is scaling, are constantly looking for ways to improve their leadership techniques. A leadership consultant will help these individuals assess their leadership style, implement a strategy for success, and help with teambuilding.
If you’ve worked in law as an attorney but want to take on a different career, becoming a legal consultant can be a great choice. Generally, an attorney who is experienced in a specific aspect of law can be hired on a short-term basis to help a company with a specific legal issue. Legal consultants can also assist with other areas of law and even work with attorneys or legal teams.
Compliance is a big deal for a number of different industries. It’s vital for organizations to adhere to their local and federal regulations and laws in order to keep their business afloat. However, sometimes laws and regulations can be a bit difficult to understand. A compliance consultant will take on the task of exploring and identifying different relevant regulations, breaking them down for stakeholders, and helping the business build a compliance strategy that sticks. If you know a lot about business administration or law, give this job a chance.
Small businesses tend to have difficulty building their IT teams. For tech startups, making the right choices for an IT team or strategy is vital. IT consultants can be hired to help identify if software or technology in a company is hindering the success of an IT team. From software management to analytics to cybersecurity, IT consultants will help businesses break down their tech pain points.
Public relations consultant will work to help a company improve its presence, both online and offline. They’re the pros that companies will seek out to improve the public’s view of their brand, which can occur after a scandal or if a business is brand new. PR consultants will write press releases, build campaigns, connect with media and influencers, and network for the brand they represent. If you have a public relations degree or have worked in a similar niche before, a PR consultant position can help you gain more control of your career.
What Type of Consultant Should I Be?
When it comes down to it, you should consider just a few things when choosing a path as a consultant:
- Your existing experience and expertise.
- What you actually want to do.
- Why you want to become a consultant.
Maybe you want a total career change. Maybe you want to do something with a bit more freedom. Perhaps you have a lot of skills, but don’t want to necessarily be in your current field anymore. Really think about your reasoning for becoming a consultant and what expertise in other niches you can bring to the table. Once these are established, it’ll be a lot easier to choose a path!