The art of selling expertise, instead of selling labor (coding is labor).
consulting is the co-creation of strategy in equal partnership with those who have the executive power to create strategy. It involves Working with executives, Treating executives as co-workers, and vice-versa, Strategy as the primary deliverable.
It isn't just about the strategy, the real work and skill is being able to collect the right numbers and details you need to provide with your advice.
Upward mobility in consulting is rare, and only possible through a "big stunt", such as writing a book. It's more of a leap of watershed moments than it is slow gradual growth (contrast with salaried work.) - The Art of Gig
Consultants are valued for their outside perspective, when they can use it to provide ways to improve a business. You don't have to have expertise
If you don't know something, "let me do research and find out." is valuable. If a problem is too big to solve, "here's the part I can solve, can't solve it all though!" is valuable. Recalibrating expections is valuable. If you are over your head, "This is over my head you should talk/read/listen to this other expert." is valuable.
Consulting is always an option when you have an indie mindset: its a way for your to gain expertise outside of fulltime employement.
Types of Consulting Engagements
Consulting vs. Freelancing vs. Contracting
Agencies(typically a collection of contractors) focus on the execution of strategy (aka tactics), consultants focus on the co-creation of strategy. If you tell an agency your store wants a new theme, they do it. A consultant works out the purpose of the store and the contours of the problem before coming up with a solution. Without this co-creation of strategy, it is not consulting.
Bootstrapping from Books
Take a well-respected business book or framework, and build a consultancy around that. Think Scrum masters or agile consultants
By reading & considering a decent business book* somewhat deeply you:
- Will be 95% ahead of the game where most people have heard the meme but have no idea what the substance is.
- Have a bunch of thinking done for you -- no need to start from scratch.
- Can leverage the authority & credibility of the authors behind the book... and cover your ass somewhat if it fails.
- Can look at existing case studies where [whatever framework] worked/failed and use that community knowledge.
- Bootstrap your way to your own DIY framework
- Use the strategy + implementation as a one-off, test-the-waters project, rather a whole career-level commitment