Consulting online: How to share your expertise with the world
Whether you are looking to start your own business or you would like some extra cash on the side, an online consulting business is a great option.
Using the knowledge you already have, you can start without any money upfront, and, if done correctly, can start making money in less than a month. By following these simple steps, I started generating incoming in my consulting business in less than 4 weeks:
- Find your area of expertise for your consulting business
- Create your offers
- Put your offers online
- Share your consulting business with the world
Step 1: Find the area of expertise for your consulting business
The first step in starting a consulting business is to create your first offer. You want to start by thinking what value you have that others will want to buy. It could be in either personal areas (such as parenting, eating healthy, organization, exercise), or it could be more business related (career coaching, marketing, product development).
Most likely there are multiple areas where you could consult online - however it is important to only pick one area. Otherwise you will spread yourself too thin when getting the word out about your offers.
Exercise: Find your area of expertise for your consulting business
Set a timer for 5 minutes. Make a list of every area in life that you could consult on. Think about areas that your friends, family or colleagues already ask you to help with. Think about areas that you are good at and you would like to help others become good at.
Once you have the list, you will want to pick out ONE topic to focus on. Ask yourself: What am I most passionate about? What would I enjoy helping others the most? In what area can I help people solve real problems? What area do I think people will pay money to get help with?
Step 2: Create your offers
Now that you have the area of expertise you want to start your consulting business in, the next step is to create your offers.
How many offers should you create?
Generally, consulting is done either with 1:1 or group sessions. You can have a variety of both with your offerings. We recommend setting up 2-3 different offers. This gives your potential clients a price range to choose from.
For example, Valerie Halter offers services for 30 minutes for €50 or 60 minutes for €100.
For longer sessions, give a discount on the hourly rate. For example, if one 60 minute session with you is $100, and someone wants two 60 minute sessions, charge only $190 and give them a 5% savings.
Group sessions are another great way to allow people to learn from you, and you can lower the cost since you can serve more than one client at once.
You can have up to 42 people in a group session with Introwise, however these may be too large for some areas of expertise. Decide how many people you feel are a good fit for your group.
A 90 minute session with me is around $180. I lower my group sessions to $17 and aim for 10-15 people.
After my group session, I offer specific upsells for people who are interested in working with me further. Sessions range from 15 minutes, up to 2 hours. Group sessions are a great way to allow people to get to know what you offer and give you the opportunity to show them why they should work with you further!
Research has shown that prices ending in 9 convert more than prices that don’t. That is why items cost $9.99 and not $10. Even if it is just a cent off, people think the price is much cheaper.
It may be worth experimenting with your pricing this way too. Instead of charging $100, charge $99.
Once you create your offer, it isn’t set in stone. When you start talking to more clients and hear about their needs, you will want to adjust your offers. That is ok! Be flexible, decide what works best for you, and what works best for your clients, and adjust accordingly.
The idea is to create something now to get your consulting business off the ground. Once you start getting clients and realizing what their needs really are, you can adjust.
I’m just starting out. Should I create really cheap offers?
I think it is quite common for people just starting out to think that people won’t pay for their expertise. This is rarely the case! You need to keep in mind your market (for example, if you work with executives, they will be willing to spend more than teenagers). But generally speaking, cheaper is not always better!
If you would like to get some testimonials, it is better to set your pricing based on the value you are offering and offer it for free to a few clients than to lower your pricing completely. People tend to value items based on their price. If your prices are too low, people will not value your service.
Discovery calls or clarity calls
Discovery calls, also known as clarity calls, are a great way to show your value to potential clients. Offer a free 15 or 30 minute call and help start to solve your potential clients problem. This is your opportunity to show your value. At the end of the call, you can ask the potential client if they want to work with you further and tell them about your packages. If you showed value on the call, most likely people will want to work with you further!
Step 3: Put your offer online
You know the value you want to share with the world. You have your offers. The next step is to put your offers online.
Generally, in the past, this took a lot of work. I used to create websites for clients, and integrating a payment method, calendar and video conferencing software to hold the 1:1s in a smooth way wasn’t easy (and usually cost my clients a fortune!).
This is where Introwise is perfect. It is 100% free to set up, and you only pay Introwise once YOU get paid. So you don’t have to worry about a monthly fee if you are finding it is harder to find your ideal client.
Introwise makes it as low friction as possible for people to pay you. Which is extremely important. Whatever system you use, you want to make sure it is not a hassle to pay you. Make it as easy for the client as possible or you may lose them if they are on the fence about working with you. This means having only the minimum information needed for purchasing. Do not have a long form with a lot of questions they need to answer.
If you do have a website, but you don’t want to pay a developer to integrate a payment system directly, you can easily link to your Introwise page from your website.
Step 4: Share your consulting business with the world
Now that your offers are available online, you can start to share your new consulting business with the world! This is also known as marketing, and it can be one of the hardest parts of building a business.
But do not fret! I will share with you some strategies to start growing your consulting business online.
Tap into your current network
If you have a lot of experience working with people in your area of expertise, the people most likely to work with you are the ones that already know you! Their referrals can be of great value as well.
Reach out to your friends, family or colleagues regarding your new consulting business. Post your offer on your personal social media accounts and ask your network to comment or share your posts (or better yet, make their own post about your new business!)
I started with an affordable group course on blogging. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and a lot of people know that I have an expertise in blogging. So asking colleagues and friends to share my posts was easy. They were happy to, and I ended up getting sign ups both from friends and friends of friends.
Build a network on social media
If you don’t have a network (meaning people haven’t worked with you in the past, you aren’t active on social media), it is still possible to build one!
First, you want to pick out ONE social network to be active on. The biggest mistake I see is that people try to be active on all the networks. It simply isn’t possible, and you will end up growing none of them. So pick one, where you think your target audience hangs out.
Start following/connecting/liking other people’s posts and initiate a conversation in the comments section. Find speaking opportunities to get in front of a larger audience. Set up meet & greets, also known as coffee chats, to get to know other people who compliment your skills. See where you can collaborate and help each other’s business grow.
The idea behind all of these actions is to build relationships. Don’t try to sell people your offer. Instead, build relationships with them. If you find that they need what you are offering, then you can mention your offer. But don’t do these actions with the idea of selling. Instead build relationships!
By engaging with others, through speaking opportunities and through coffee chats, I found more people who weren’t in my network that were interested in attending my group session.
Create a free giveaway
A free giveaway is something you giveaway, connected to your offers and area of expertise, in exchange for an email address.
This is a great way for people to learn about you and the value you have to offer.
Creating your free giveaway
A freebie could be a free ebook, a checklist, a template, a list of assets, or a short guide.
For my offers, I created a free guide for writing blog posts. I used Google Docs to create the guide and then exported it as a PDF. This guide was a few pages long. If I was building a one page checklist, I would have used something like Canva.
Sharing your giveaway
Once you have the free giveaway, it is then time to… give it away! Announce on social media regarding your free giveaway. Ask friends, family and coworkers to share the free giveaway if their network would be interested.
I posted my free giveaway in a Facebook group of over 450,000 women entrepreneurs for $97. I got over 100 people interested in the giveaway.
Giving your giveaway
Now that you have people who are interested in your free giveaway, the next step is to give it to them. There are two ways you can do that.
Manually give away your freebie
This is when you send people your free giveaway via private message. The pros to this is that it requires no set up from your side. You simply give them the free giveaway, and then in a few days you follow up and ask them if they are interested in your group course or a free discovery call. The cons is that this manual work can take a lot of time, and it is easy to become disorganized and forget people.
Use email marketing software
You will want to set up a form people can fill out asking for their first name and their email address. Then you want to set up an automation that will automatically email people who fill out this form your free asset. How to do this varies from the different software.
This does take some time to set up. But the great thing is, once it is set up, you are emailing people automatically!
Once you email everyone your free giveaway, you want to follow up with more value. This could be a blog post, a video you created, or just some helpful insights via email. After you have followed up with value, then you want to offer your paid group session or free discovery call.
Find your area of expertise, create your offer, put it online and share it with the world. This is how I started getting paid clients through Introwise in less than 3 weeks and you can too!