How to Start a Business as a Marketing Consultant

Personal Branding Podcast

How to Start a Business as a Marketing Consultant

How to Start a Business as a Marketing Consultant

Marketing consultants are in high demand, and businesses of all sizes are interested in hiring them. As more people search for new tactics to attract customers, they turn to marketing experts for help. If you choose to become a marketing consultant, you can start your own business and work with top companies around the world.

High Demand for Marketing Consultants

Businesses need marketing consultants to help them generate leads, which leads to higher revenue and sales. Maryville University explains that a hiring survey from McKinley Marketing Partners found that 39 percent of companies were hiring new digital marketers, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects higher than average growth in this field.

Many companies need marketing help, but they may not be able to hire a full-time employee. This is the perfect opportunity to start your own business and work as a consultant. Businesses are desperately looking for marketing consultants who can help them.

Degree Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in marketing is a minimum requirement for this position. Although you can also pursue a master’s degree, you should at least get a bachelor’s to show prospective companies that you are serious and qualified. Having a degree will also help you stay competitive in a growing field.

In addition, while you are getting a degree, you may have the chance to do internships with companies. Not only will this help you network for future consultation work, you may graduate with an offer to continue working with the company.

Portfolio Requirements

When you are working as a consultant, companies are more interested in your portfolio than a resume. They want to see examples of previous work that was successful. For instance, they may want to see how you implemented a marketing strategy for social media or created a plan to increase organic traffic on a website.

If you have a college degree, you may be able to use some of the work from school to start building the portfolio. Research projects and internships often provide strong examples of your abilities. You will need to create a portfolio online and offline, so more companies can have easier access to it. You want to showcase your best marketing work in the portfolio and fill it with relevant samples.

Work Strategies

Many marketing consultants start their careers as employees for companies to get experience. Then, after a few years or longer, they open their own businesses and offer consulting. Some people skip the step of working as employees and start consulting right away. There is more than one path to success as a marketer. If you are confident you can succeed without working for someone else first, then you can do it, but it may be more difficult.

Branding Ideas

Even if you are a solopreneur, branding still matters. You need a business name, logo, tagline and other branding elements. You will have to create consistent branding across social media and your own websites or blogs. Some marketing consultants start as independent contractors and later bring on a team to open an agency. If you plan to do this, then think about how to brand long-term and make sure it grows with your company.

Personal branding can help you attract more customers. As a marketing specialist, you probably do not want to turn this over to another business to handle, especially when you are just starting out, so it is important to take the time to do this well. For example, you might want to become familiar with sites like Canva or Snapseed to make sure everything you produce is on brand.

Starting Small

Most marketing consultants start small and work alone at first when they launch their businesses. It may be tempting to start hiring staff right away, but you need to build the business first. You need many leads coming in to make sure you can afford to pay the people you hire and yourself. Consider working alone at first until the company grows to a safe size. Then, you can start to bring in more people such as assistants.

Networking and Clients

A marketing consultant needs a steady stream of clients to stay in business. You will have to network and stay visible to make this happen. Consider joining local networking groups, but do not ignore online opportunities. You can join the Association of Network Marketing Professionals (ANMP) and travel to meetings or conferences. You can also get involved in the community by volunteering or joining charities.

You can start a successful marketing consultant business. A college degree and experience will make it easier to find success in this field. You also want to have a strong portfolio and personal branding, so clients come to you. Start small and keep networking in the community and beyond, and your business will expand over time.


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