How To Start A Consulting Side Hustle In 2023

If you like helping others succeed by offering advice derived from years of experience, a career in consulting is worth considering.

Starting a consulting business not only offers potential income opportunities, but also the flexibility and independence to work on your own terms.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the steps to start and market your very own consulting business.

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What is a Consulting?

Consulting is the process of providing actionable advice at a fee. A consultant is an expert in a certain area of specialization. When you are a consultant, you are a specialist who possesses valuable information often gathered from years of experience in your field or area of specialization.

consulting side hustle

As a consultant, you provide services like problem evaluation, coming up with a hypothesis, offering feedback, building strategy, and sometimes implementing strategy.

A consultant is a highly lucrative position because businesses and individuals are willing to pay a lot of money for an expert opinion. Plus, you offer them an unbiased perspective.

As a consultant, you get paid for your years of experience rather than how long you work on a problem. This explains why you may get paid a high fee for seemingly little work.

What is a Consulting Side Hustle?

If you’re willing to provide businesses with solutions as a consultant, you can start a consultancy side hustle. Ultimately, it can become your full-time job if it pays well enough.

However, in this article, we will cover what it takes to start a consulting side hustle, how you can start it, the different types of consulting, the challenges you will have to deal with when running a consulting, and steps you can take to grow your consulting side hustle into something bigger.

In the last few years with side hustles growing in popularity consulting could be the one that ultimately enables you to break away from the 9-5 grind.

Let’s look at several reasons why the consulting gig could be a great small business to start:

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Benefits Of Consulting

Starting a consulting side hustle can bring numerous benefits, including potential income opportunities, flexibility and independence to work on your own terms.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits it brings:

Relatively Little Capital Needed Upfront

First and foremost, it allows you to be your own boss and take control of your earning potential with little money involved in the start up.

Potential Income Opportunities

One of the main reasons people consider starting a consulting business is the potential income opportunities it provides.

potential income opportunities in consulting

Depending on your skill set, expertise, and market demand, consulting services can be highly lucrative. Whether it’s a side business you want or something to replace your job there’s numerous benefits. You have the opportunity to earn extra money outside of your day job or even turn the consulting gig into a full-time business.

Consulting offers opportunities for passive income through creating digital products like online courses or downloadable guides. Digital marketing has been a huge part of the content marketing strategy for consultants.

As an independent consultant, you have complete control over pricing and rates for your services offered. This means that with hard work and dedication, you can potentially earn more than what you make in your 9-5 job. Additionally, by growing your own client list and providing excellent service, referrals from satisfied clients can lead to even more income opportunities in the future.

Overall, starting a consulting side hustle can provide financial freedom while allowing you to pursue your passion projects outside of your day job or other obligations. The more clients you get, the more extra cash you’ll be generating.

Flexibility And Independence

One of the major reasons to start a consulting side hustle is the flexibility and independence it offers.

As an independent consultant, you have the freedom to choose your own projects and clients, which means you can work on projects that interest you or align with your skillset. With a consulting business, you can also set your own schedule and work from anywhere whether it is during spare time or on lunch breaks from an existing job.

In addition, owning your own business gives you control over how much income you earn. With a consulting career, you can set your own rates and how much work you will take on.

Depending on how much time and effort you put in, consulting side hustles have great potential for generating additional income beyond your full-time job. This extra money can be used to pay off debts, save up for something special or simply increase financial freedom.

Overall, starting a consulting side hustle allows for both personal and professional growth by giving individuals the chance to build their expertise in their chosen field while earning extra money on their own terms.

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Types of Consulting

There are many types of consultants as they exist in practically every field.

Let’s talk about some of the consulting opportunities you can specialize.

Financial Consulting

Financial consulting involves working with individuals, families, and entrepreneurs. You help with things like investments, taxes, insurance, and financial legalities.

Marketing Consulting

You evaluate a business’s marketing strategy to give guidance on how to improve it to meet goals. For example, you can help a business define its target audience.

You can specialize in social media content creation, content marketing, or other aspects of marketing.

Environmental Consulting

If you are familiar with environmental laws and regulations, you can advise companies on how to reduce their negative impact on the environment.

Brand Consulting

As a brand consultant, you assess a brand and help improve its standing in the market. You may have to collaborate with marketing and sales consultants.

Business Consulting

Business consulting broadly covers consultants who assess general business challenges and offer advice. You will typically work with small to mid-size companies.

Sales Consulting

As a sales consultant, your job is to help improve the performance of sales teams. You can be involved in sales training and development, improving the sales process, or boosting team morale.

Management Consulting

Management consulting is a broad type of consulting and it’s what you get with firms like McKinsey, Bain & Company, and Deloitte. It is highly lucrative because you typically deal with corporate leaders of big companies to help their businesses run smoothly. You assess problems and provide solutions. You can offer general advice affecting the organization or specialize in a department or field.

If you want to start a consulting side hustle in management consulting, you have to be supremely talented and experienced because you will be coming against big consulting firms that have their reputations working for them.

Operations Consulting

When you are in operations consulting, you deal with operational processes in a business such as procurement, outsourcing, supply chain management, and more. You will also help in the implementation of new processes.

Career Consulting

People turn to career consultants to help them grow in their career. If you work in this niche, you will help with resume building, job applications, interviewing, and navigating the job market in general.

Healthcare Consulting

You will work in the healthcare industry and your job will be to analyze the personnel, finances, and processes in a healthcare organization and provide advice on how to deal with pressing challenges.

Financial Strategy Consulting

As a financial strategy consultant, you help businesses make better financial decisions. You can work in corporate finance, risk management, and even real estate. You may need certain licenses or credentials to qualify to offer financial advice.

Human Resources Consulting

As a human resources consultant, you help companies hire and retain talent. You may also help a company with employee training, legal and ethical personnel practices, conflict resolution, and employee satisfaction.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consulting

This is a branch of human resources consulting that deals with overcoming implicit and explicit bias in an organization. Your job as a DEI consultant, is to help a company achieve equity in terms of both personnel and culture. A background in HR or psychology will help you in your quest to become a DEI consultant.

IT Consulting

Organizations hire Information technology (IT) consultants to help implement and manage new technologies. You may be tasked with helping a business decide what software to invest in and how to use it to improve operations. It is highly lucrative since it is highly specialized.

Public Relations Consulting

As a PR consultant, you will mostly help plan for crises before one occurs or you may be brought in during the middle of a crisis to help a company navigate it.

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How To Start Your Consulting Business

If you have decided to get into consultancy, you can follow a series of steps to get your side hustle up and running:

Identify Your Skills And Expertise

When starting a consulting side hustle, one of the most important steps is identifying your unique set of skills and expertise.

Begin by taking inventory of what you have to offer potential clients. Are you an expert in digital marketing?

online marketing, internet marketing, digital marketing

Do you have experience in small business management? Perhaps you were a freelance writer and now you want to offer consulting to other freelancers on how to win new clients. Or offer a virtual assistant great advice on creating their own products.

Identifying these areas of expertise will allow you to offer valuable services that cater specifically to the needs of your target market.

Once you’ve pinpointed your skills and expertise, take some time to research the needs and pain points of your ideal client.

This will help you determine which services to offer and how best to market them. Remember, as a consultant, it’s crucial that you’re able to provide real value for your clients – so understanding their specific challenges is essential for building trust and long-term relationships with them.

Research The Needs Of Potential Clients

It’s essential to research the needs of potential clients when starting a consulting side hustle.

Do they need help with social media management? Content creation? SEO optimization? Once you know their pain points, you can tailor your services to meet their specific needs.

Dig deeper by conducting surveys or talking directly to potential clients to get insight into their challenges and goals. You’ll want to know what solutions have been tried in the past and whether they were successful or not.

This information will give you an edge over other consultants who don’t take the time to research their target market thoroughly.

By understanding what your potential clients want and need, you’ll position yourself as a valuable resource that can help them achieve success in their business or career endeavors!

Define Your Services And Rates

One of the crucial steps in starting a consulting side hustle is determining the services you’ll offer and their corresponding rates.

To define your rates, research what other consultants offering similar services charge for their work but don’t forget to consider factors such as experience level, quality of service offered, and industry standards when setting your rates.

Avoid undercharging or overpricing as both can be equally damaging to your business reputation. Be clear on how much time each service takes and include this information in every quote so that customers know exactly what they are getting for their money.

In conclusion, defining your consulting services’ scope and rate helps set expectations with clients while ensuring profitability for yourself. Make sure that you provide excellent customer service that exceeds expectations so that satisfied customers will come back for more business in the future!

Determine Your Marketing Strategy

Identify where your potential clients are and create a plan to reach them effectively. This could include building a website or online portfolio, creating social media profiles, attending networking events, or offering free consultations/trials.

Your marketing strategy should also include how you’ll stand out from other consultants in your field. Highlighting your unique selling points (USPs), such as specialized skills or impressive results from previous clients, can help attract more customers to your business.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with marketing tactics that align with your brand personality and target market preferences – this will make it easier for potential clients to remember you and choose you over competitors in the long run!

Register Your Business And Obtain Necessary Licenses And Permits

Now that you’ve defined your services and laid out a marketing strategy, it’s time to make things official by registering your business and obtaining necessary licenses and permits.

Each state or country may have different requirements, so be sure to do thorough research on what is required in your area. This step is crucial as operating without proper documentation can lead to legal issues down the line.

Once you have identified the necessary licenses and permits needed for your consulting side hustle, take the time to register your business with the appropriate authorities.

Depending on where you are located, this could include registering with local or state agencies, filing for an EIN number with the IRS, or getting a sales tax permit. By officially registering your business, you can start invoicing clients under your company name rather than just using personal accounts.

By taking these steps early on in starting a consulting side hustle, you set yourself up for long-term success. Not only does it provide peace of mind knowing that you’re operating legally but also gives potential clients confidence in working with someone who has gone through all of the necessary steps to establish themselves as a professional consultant.

Create Your Website And Social Media Presence

Having a website and social media presence is crucial when starting a consulting side hustle.

Your website will serve as your online portfolio where potential clients can learn more about your services, skills, and experience.

Make sure it looks professional, easy to navigate, and showcases impressive results from past projects.

Social media is also an effective way to reach out to potential clients by building relationships and offering valuable content that demonstrates your expertise.

Choose the platforms that align with your target audience and business goals – whether it’s LinkedIn for B2B consulting or Instagram for creative services.

Consistency in posting and engaging with followers is key in growing your online presence. With a solid website and social media strategy in place, you’ll be one step closer to building a profitable consulting business!

Set Up Your Bookkeeping And Invoicing Systems

As a consultant, setting up your bookkeeping and invoicing systems is crucial to keep track of your finances. First, choose an accounting software that suits your business needs and budget. Some popular options include Quickbooks, FreshBooks, or Xero.

Next, establish a process for creating and sending invoices to clients. Determine the terms of payment, such as due dates and late fees. Set up automated reminders to ensure timely payments from clients.

Lastly, keep track of all expenses related to your consulting business for tax purposes. Save receipts and make note of any deductible expenses. By establishing solid bookkeeping and invoicing systems early on in your consulting side hustle journey, you can ensure financial success for years to come.

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How To Build And Grow Your Client Base

In consulting, you need to build a client base. Here are a ways to do that:

Network And Market Yourself Through Your Existing Connections

Networking and marketing yourself is key to building your consulting clientele. Start by utilizing your existing connections – let friends, family, and acquaintances know about your new venture in case they need or know someone who needs consulting services.

Additionally, consider reaching out to former colleagues and classmates who may be able to provide leads or referrals.

Provide Excellent Service

One of the most crucial aspects of starting a consulting side hustle is providing excellent service to your clients.

Your reputation as a consultant will depend on the feedback and reviews you receive from satisfied customers. You need to go above and beyond in delivering exceptional results that exceed your client’s expectations.

Ask For Referrals From Clients

Asking for referrals is also an effective way to grow your client base as a consultant. It goes hand in hand with providing excellent service because satisfied clients are more likely to refer you to their network, increasing the chances of gaining new business opportunities.

Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals or positive reviews, especially after successfully completing a project for a client. Building strong relationships with your clients by providing excellent service and asking for referrals can lead to long-term success as a consultant, both financially and personally.

Offer Free Consultations Or Trials

To build your client base, offering free consultations or trials is a great way to attract potential clients. This allows them to try out your services and see the value you can provide before committing financially. It’s also a good opportunity for you to showcase your expertise and communication skills, which can lead to long-term client relationships.

During these consultations or trials, be sure to ask questions about their goals and needs so that you can tailor your services accordingly.

Make it clear what they will receive during this trial period, whether it’s one-on-one coaching sessions or a sample of your work as a consultant. By providing high-quality service during these free offers, you’ll increase the chances of gaining new paying clients down the road.

Utilize Social Media And Online Marketing

In today’s digital age, social media and online marketing are essential in building an online presence for your consulting side hustle.

Identify which platforms align with your target audience and focus on creating quality content to showcase your expertise.

Leverage the power of social media by engaging with potential clients through personalized messages and commenting on relevant posts.

Create a professional website that clearly outlines your services offered, rates, and contact information to make it easy for potential clients to reach you.

Don’t forget to track analytics from your website and social media profiles to measure success and make informed decisions in improving your online presence.

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Tips For Success For A Consulting Side Hustle

You can improve your success probability and grow your side hustle in the long term by doing these things:

Continuously Develop Your Expertise

To be successful in the consulting industry, it’s crucial to continually develop your expertise. This means staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in your niche, attending conferences and seminars, and reading industry publications. By doing so, you can become a thought leader in your field and offer more valuable insights to your clients.

In addition to expanding your knowledge base, cultivating strong soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and time management is also essential. As a consultant, you’ll work closely with clients from diverse backgrounds who have varying needs and expectations. Being able to listen actively and communicate effectively will help you build rapport with them while delivering excellent service that keeps them coming back for more.

Manage Your Time Effectively

As a consultant with a side hustle, you are undoubtedly juggling multiple responsibilities. That’s why effective time management is crucial for your success.

One practical tip is to create a schedule that clearly outlines your priorities and the amount of time you plan on dedicating to each task.

Set Boundaries to Maintain Work-Life Balance

It may also be helpful to set boundaries when it comes to work hours, so you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.

In addition to managing your time effectively, setting clear boundaries can help ensure that you don’t become overwhelmed or burn out. For example, if you have a full-time job in addition to your consulting side hustle, it’s important to establish limits on how much work you’re willing and able to take on.

By prioritizing your own well-being and your own time and being assertive about boundaries, you’ll be able to sustainably grow your consulting business over time.

Effectively Communicate With Clients And Employers

When running a consulting side hustle, communication is key for building trust with clients and employers. It’s important to always be clear and concise in your messages, whether it’s through email or phone calls. Make sure to ask questions about their needs and preferences so you can tailor your services accordingly.

Another aspect of communication is setting expectations from the start. Be upfront about your availability, rates, and turnaround time for projects. This will prevent any misunderstandings down the line and build a foundation of mutual respect between you and your clients or employers. Remember that good communication shows professionalism and helps establish long-term relationships with customers who may refer you to others in the future.

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Balancing Your Consulting Side Hustle With A Full-Time Job

When starting a consulting side hustle, it’s important to find the right balance between your day job and building your new business. One way to do this is by managing your time effectively. Set aside specific hours for both your full-time job and consulting work, prioritizing tasks that will generate income first.

Communicating with clients and employers is also essential in balancing these two roles. Be transparent about your availability and limitations in order to manage expectations on both ends. By setting healthy boundaries early on, you can avoid burnout and maintain a productive workflow. Remember, building a successful consulting business takes time and hard work – but with dedication and a clear plan, it’s possible to achieve financial freedom while pursuing what you’re passionate about.

Legal And Financial Considerations

When starting a consulting side hustle, it’s important to consider the legal and financial aspects of running your own business. First, make sure you have all necessary licenses and permits for your particular industry or niche. This will help ensure that you’re operating legally and avoid any potential fines or penalties down the line.

Next, take steps to protect yourself financially as you earn money with your business is by setting up separate business bank accounts and properly tracking expenses and income. It’s also important to understand how taxes work as a self-employed individual, such as paying quarterly estimated taxes instead of annually like traditional employees do. Taking care of these legal and financial considerations from the outset can help set you up for long-term success as a consultant.

Building Relationships And Providing Value

Building relationships is crucial to the success of your consulting side hustle. It’s important to establish a strong connection with potential clients and maintain a positive relationship with current ones. One way to do this is by providing value – consistently delivering quality service and going above and beyond their expectations.

When you provide value, you build trust and credibility with your clients. They’ll be more likely to refer others to your services, leading to an increase in your client base. But it’s not just about the business aspect – building relationships can also lead to personal satisfaction and fulfillment as you help others achieve their goals through your consulting expertise.

Remember that building relationships takes time and effort, but it’s worth investing in for the long-term success of your consulting side hustle. Make sure you communicate effectively, listen actively, and always aim for mutual benefit in every interaction with clients.


Starting a consulting side hustle can be an exciting and rewarding opportunity to pursue your passions, develop your skills, earn extra money, and achieve financial freedom. With the right mindset, strategy, and hard work, you can build a thriving consulting business that allows you to be your own boss, serve your own clients, and live life on your own terms.

Whether you’re looking for a profitable side hustle idea or a way to transition from your day job to full-time entrepreneurship, consulting offers great potential for success. So why wait? Start building your online portfolio, social media profiles, and client base today and become the consultant you were meant to be!

Before you leave

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It’s helped me earn over $300,000 in the last 12 months alone:

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How To Start A Consulting Side Hustle In 2023 3

David Fortune has been the editor since 2019. He is an expert at writing content on stock advisory services, side hustles, reviewing online business opportunities and many more topics. You can learn more about David on our about us page.

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