A common thread in business advice you hear for people trying something new or who are just starting out in general is that there is no substitute for experience, that only with years of working in the business world can you have what it takes to succeed at a position.
Well while experience is a powerful thing I'm hear to tell you that experience without knowing what you're looking for out of it can be much less effective than a pointed strategy and utilizing resources around you. Below are my tips for those looking into consulting, as either a second option or an entirely new career path.
KNOW YOUR WORTH AND THE WORTH OF YOUR WORK
This tip is pretty straightforward. Be confident in what you bring to the table with every opportunity you look at and never say no for them, leave that to them and you may be surprised by how often they DON'T say no. The other part of this is knowing the market for what you're offering; when you're just starting out it is crucial to know what other people in the position are making so that you don't lowball and do yourself a disservice.
DON'T TAKE SHORTCUTS
Consulting and being self-employed means you've got a business, and with that comes all manner of legal worries. Do yourself a favor and read up on what it takes and then don't take shortcuts when executing the plans around those worries.
NETWORK! NETWORK! NETWORK!
Even in this day and age word of mouth and who you know is a fundamental part of making it when cutting out on your own. Take every opportunity that presents itself to get to know potential business partners and clients, and also treat opportunity-adjacent situations as opportunities, because once you're in someone's head it's one step away from being a recommendation.
EMBRACE THE GRIND
Work hard. This will not be as easy as you think it will be even if you're thinking it will be difficult, but I assure you that it can be one of the most rewarding efforts you ever undergo. So, work hard at it and nurture it as you work that grind and one day that hard work may just pay off big time.