Starting Your Online Marketing Consulting Business in the Real World
You’ve worked hard and have built a name for yourself as an independent consultant. Now that you're about to get your MBA you're ready to make the leap from part time freelance consulting to opening your own consulting firm. Congratulations! Try not to freak out!
The first thing that you have to do is find a space. It's tempting, when you're first starting out, to rent or lease a cheap space and hope that nobody notices the fact that you're working out of a strip mall. Don't give in to this temptation. Pony up and lease a space in a professional office park. Remember, your surroundings say a lot about you. Sandwiching yourself between a hardware store and a dry cleaner won't say a whole lot.
Living By the Code
When you buy a house you can do pretty much whatever you want with it. The same is not true when you buy a storefront. When you buy shop space you have to make sure that any changes you want to make to it (or the building) are in compliance with local building codes and zoning laws. You can’t just start painting and swinging sledgehammers. When in doubt, ask someone who works for you city or county about what you want to do. They’ll help you make sure you follow the law.
Now that you're going full time, you're going to have to hire some help. As much as you might want to take care of everything all by yourself, it just won't be feasible when you're consulting full time. You're going to need, at the very least, an assistant. As you take on more clients, you're going to need more consultants under your umbrella. Make sure that you know how to find the best employees. Make doubly sure that you're following the hiring rules and regulations for your state.
The Money Stuff
It’s expensive to buy or lease a space, pay employees to do their various duties, etc. It’s important that you work hard to keep your expenses as low as possible without forcing yourself to cut corners. There are a few ways that you can do this, but one of the easiest is to control your utilities. If you’re lucky enough to be opening your firm in a state in which the energy industry has been deregulated (like Ohio or Texas), you can compare the rates of companies like TXU Energy online and pick the one with the best rates and energy source you want.
It’s also worth noting that building your firm to be a “green” firm is a great way to keep expenses low (and endear yourself to the local community). If you aren’t sure what all to do in this respect, you can follow the lead of other “Green Women” who have come before you and copy the things they’ve done.
Finally—don’t forget to have fun! You’re working professionally and on your own terms! That’s something that not many people get to say, let alone actually do!