Establishing and managing your own business can be one of the best options to earn a living. It allows you to be in control of your schedule, create your ideal business plan, and can even pave the way towards financial freedom.
With the way information technology has affected businesses today, a career in IT consulting can be a good line of work worth pursuing. Most business owners are now considering the idea of outsourcing their computing functions from IT consulting firms, instead of employing full-time internal specialists.
Not only can outsourcing help improve their company’s efficiency and productivity, but it can also help reduce their operating expenses. With that said, the chances of getting clients and boosting your revenues are high.
However, before you pursue a career in offering IT consulting services, you must first determine if that’s the right and suitable venture for you.
What Is IT Consulting?
IT consulting is a practice of providing advice to companies on how they can best manage their computing systems. It also involves offering services such as web design, IT assessment, IT strategy, IT security planning, disaster recovery, and much more.
Any person providing these services is known as an IT consultant. For more insights about IT and computing services and careers, you can check out IT consulting by Welsh.
If you’re considering getting a career in IT consulting, here are a few steps you can take to become an IT consultant.
- Acquire The Relevant Qualifications
Unlike other businesses, starting an IT consulting firm requires you to acquire relevant professional qualifications. Some of these qualifications include a degree in computer science, information technology, or any other related discipline.
Having sufficient credentials is important not only because it makes you credible, but also because your business involves information technology, it is highly essential that you have intensive knowledge of the matter.
Studying at a reputable institution can go a long way, in terms of helping build your profile. Some business owners might want to know where you got your IT credentials from before hiring you as their consultant.
When getting your credentials, it’d be a good idea to select a school that specializes in an area you’d like to work in. For instance, if you’re passionate about becoming a data analyst or programming, choose a school that’s well known for offering that program. Likewise, if you want to become a web developer or designer, identify a learning institution that can best help you train for that line of work.
Having competitive credentials and skills can help strengthen your resume, thus increasing your chances of securing a contract.
- Gain experience
Having a professional degree is a good start, but your learning process shouldn’t stop there. Because just like any career, it is important that you gain enough work experience and exposure to the practice first, before deciding to be independent, and in this case, establishing your own IT consultancy firm.
Having experience is important for various reasons. When you immerse yourself in the actual practice, the more you get exposed to how things are being done. This can allow you to have a deeper knowledge and a better understanding of the IT world. This can also allow you to develop other valuable skills, which you weren’t able to learn within the four walls of a classroom.
You can start by applying for internships or searching for job opportunities. You can consider working for a reputable IT consulting company, to help you hone your skills. In addition to that, it is also important to consider a firm that can train you on different aspects of IT functions, as this allows you to have diverse training and be well-versed in the profession.
With that said, having substantial experience can go a long way. It can boost your employability rate since most businesses are more keen on hiring individuals who do not just have technical skills on their belt but also have enough knowledge of how the actual practice works.
- Become Certified
Another important step you can consider before starting your IT consultancy services is to become certified. Aside from improving your credibility as a consultant, being certified can give your resume a boost too, making your application stand out.
Aside from that, belonging to an IT professional body can offer opportunities for continuous learning. Some organize workshops, seminars, and development programs, giving you a platform to further sharpen your knowledge and skills. This can be a good way to build connections, and interact with other IT professionals too. It’s important to note that some IT professional bodies are locally recognized, while others are internationally recognized. Therefore, depending on your target audience, be sure to identify with the right IT professional body.
When getting your certification, it’s essential that you familiarize yourself with the necessary requirements. For instance, some IT professional bodies may require you to take part in voluntary training programs, while some may require you to pass a written examination and pay the registration fees.
- Purchase The Right Equipment
One of the important things you should consider prior to establishing your IT consulting firm is the equipment you’re going to use. It is highly necessary that you have the proper equipment, such as computers, servers, and internet connections tools, with you.
When purchasing equipment, your decision should be based on quality and specifications. Quality doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, but it’s good to point out that when choosing your tools, you are also making an investment in your career. Since you will be dealing with technology, you have to equip yourself with tools that are competitive and durable. You wouldn’t want to constantly have your equipment repaired or replaced. Not only can it be inconvenient, but it can also require you to spend more. You want durable equipment that can serve you for several years.
Aside from that, you also have to consider the quality of your internet connection. Since most of your work has to be done online, a fast and reliable connection is highly essential. Having a good network could also mean that you can accommodate several customers simultaneously. Not only can it improve the experience and satisfaction of your customers, but can also impact the productivity of your consulting firm.
- Improve Your Communication Skills
Just like other consultancy services, working as an IT consultant requires constant interaction between you and the client. In this line of work, you are expected to coordinate with business owners and managers on a daily basis, or depending on your contract arrangement. You should be able to give them updates regularly, or report an issue, should there be one.
As a consultant, part of your role is to understand your client’s concerns so that you’ll be able to propose a feasible solution. Explaining to them why issues happen and how your recommendation can address their concern is part of the whole process. That way, you can be transparent with them, building rapport and trust with your clients in the process. With that said, it is highly important that you know how to carry a conversation with the people you are working with. It’s important to not just communicate your thoughts properly but to be able to explain technical jargon to them as well.
- Register Your Services
It’d be good to note that most states require you to register your business before you start operating. So, to ensure that you comply with the government rules and regulations, it’d be best to obtain proper registration and license first before offering your services. You can register your IT services either as an individual or sole-proprietorship or as a form of partnership with other people.
When registering your services, you’ll have to define the name of your business, prepare the necessary documents, and seek licenses and other permits from the local government. It can be a tedious process, but registering your business can spare you the trouble of dealing with legal repercussions, due to offering unregistered services.
- Launch Your Services
Launching your business is an essential step to your path, as this involves the actual commencement of your IT consulting career. And with the way modern technology has progressed, launching your business online can now be a quick and easy process. Once you were able to set it in motion, marketing and promotion come next. Some of the common marketing strategies you can utilize to advertise your IT consultancy services include social media ads, email marketing, content marketing, SEO marketing, and omnichannel marketing.
- Build Your Profile
Now that you’ve launched your IT consulting firm, start building your profile next. A profile is a short outline of who you are as an IT specialist and what kind of services you can offer to your potential customers. When building your profile, also include your contact information, educational background, and work experience.
Although you can create a profile by yourself, hiring a professional can go a long way. Being in the business already, these professionals may know what businesses are looking for in an IT consultancy service provider. With that said, they’re likely to build a profile that can resonate well with business owners, thus increasing the potential of not just attracting more clients, but closing a contract.
- Build A Website
In the modern digital world, a website plays a vital role in any business, and IT consulting isn’t an exemption. Building a website can secure your digital footprint and presence on the internet. However, to be able to connect with potential clients and boost your sales, your website should be competitive.
That said, there are various things you can do to ensure that your website is generating more leads or clients. For instance, publishing good and informative content can not only help attract more clients but can also keep your current clients engaged. The key is knowing your target audience and understanding their concerns. That way you can curate your content according to their needs and preferences. You can even consider hiring a content writer, to ensure that you’re publishing valuable content.
To help make your site more engaging and interactive, you can introduce features such as a ‘FAQ’ section, where potential clients can easily browse through to get the information they are looking for. You can also consider adding a 24/7 live chat feature. This way, your clients can easily reach you regarding any concerns or questions they may have.
Having a competitive presence online through a website can significantly promote your business and the services you are offering.
- Build A Team
During the first few phases of being an IT consultant, dealing with small-scale businesses and a few clients can be manageable. But as your business expands, you might want to consider building a team of IT specialists to work alongside you.
Recruiting skilled staff into your team can ensure smooth transactions in the future. Working alongside them can be easy and uncomplicated, and not to mention, your clients won’t have a hard time collaborating with them too.
To ensure that you’ll be working with the right team, consider choosing professionals with good credentials. Your staff must hold relevant academic and professional qualifications, such as a bachelor’s degree, certifications, and so on. Better if they have previous work experience too, as this can help you save time and resources for training them.
Although sometimes it can be overwhelming to select specialists suitable for your team, you can simplify the process by utilizing staff hiring and onboarding software. Such applications can help you filter applicants, allowing you to connect with the most qualified and skilled candidates with ease.
Deciding to be independent and venturing into having your own IT consultancy services can be challenging, yet rewarding at the same time. It can offer a lot of possibilities, allowing you to work with diverse teams and various types of businesses.
With that said, if you are planning to pursue a career in IT consulting, you’ll need to prepare carefully and equip yourself with sufficient knowledge and information. Consider these steps above to help you start your journey.