How I started my consulting business at 22 (£0 – £100k)

Do you need experience to start a consulting business? Read this blog and find out, because today I’m going to be telling you the story of how I started my consulting business a year after graduating, doing something that I had never done before. 

I’ve always wanted to have my own business, but I just never knew what exactly I wanted to do. I actually kind of fell into consulting.

When I left my job and decided to go it alone, I literally didn’t know anyone.

I had no contacts and no connections to speak of. So the very first thing I did is I started networking and I went networking like crazy and because I was brand new. I would literally talk to anybody at these networking events.

And at the same time, I also started building my social media presence because I thought, OK, if I have a personal brand and I have an online presence, then that’s going to be another way that I can make connections and meet people. And what ended up happening without me planning it at all? It just kind of happened that the business owner that I was networking with ended up checking me out online after we’d met.

And so they would come across my social media, and they actually started asking me to do their social media for them. And because I was a skint 22 year old that was just trying to make enough money to pay my rent, I took on these jobs. I didn’t know where it would lead me, but people were asking me to do it.

So I was like, sure of it. And so I started doing copywriting and social media management for clients. So it was like I did for your service and this was really neat because the people and the business owners that I was networking with were all in the property space. So I ended up getting referrals and I sort of became the go to people for copywriting and social media in the London property investing space, which is so niche.

Now, at this point, you might be thinking, OK, how did you manage to find clients without really having any experience? And I really think experience and consulting is a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

You have to start doing the work, otherwise you’ll never get the experience. But you think you can’t find clients without having experience. And the keyword is being, in my opinion, with your first few clients, you’re going to be learning as you go.

And that’s completely normal. It doesn’t make you a fraud. It just means that you need to pull out all of the stops in order to deliver because your reputation is really important. So if you don’t know how to do something either learn it, pay an expert to do it, or give that client their money back as a worst case scenario.

OK, so there is always going to be a bit of an element of you having imposter syndrome when you’re just starting out doing anything new. But don’t let this scare you. It’s completely normal. All right. Because there is something that you are uniquely good at that people will pay you money to help them with. And if you’re still not sure what that is, then have a think.

Like, what do people ask you for help for?

Or what comes naturally to you and easily to you that doesn’t necessarily come easily to others because that’s a good indicator of what type of consulting you should be doing.

So my consulting business was all going great. I had a handful of clients. They were all paying me around a grand a month, and it was all good, right and wrong.

It was an absolute nightmare. I had so many problems at this point in my business, and I call these the growing pains, right? Every level of growth, you’re going to get growing pains. It’s not all going to be smooth sailing. So when it isn’t. Don’t take it as a sign that you’re doing something wrong because it’s just normal.

My growing pains were that I had gone from a 60 hour working week or however long people work and employment. I didn’t know it was literally an eight hour work week and I was getting paid less for it. I had literally created a worse paid job for myself. I was completely burnt out trying to manage all these different clients and create content for them.

And even when I hired someone to help me, I still felt burnt out because I wasn’t very good at delegating. Not only that, I was really bad at managing client expectations. I didn’t have boundaries in place, which meant that clients kept giving me work and I was just doing work that was outside the original scope that we’d agreed.

And finally, I was also not very good at setting expectations and communicating with clients about how long it would take for them to see results. So what ended up happening is the clients weren’t seeing an ROI as quickly as they would have liked to. And so a lot of them dropped me after just a few months

. So at this point, instead of giving up, I thought, how can I continue to do this, but just make it easier for myself?

And the conclusion I came to is that I would start working as a consultant. So taking on more of an advisory role and essentially telling my clients what to do in order to get the result that I was getting instead of actually doing the work for them.

So transitioning to a done with you type service instead of a done for you.

And that’s how I fell into consulting. So I dropped all of my down for you clients. And the next few sales calls I had, I pitched a Done With You program. Another really important thing that I started to do during this time is I got super clear on what the outcome would be for my clients. So I stopped doing all the thinking and taking on any odd jobs, and I really focused on providing one outcome for my clients, and I really concentrated on ironing out all those things that just weren’t working before.

So managing expectations better, creating resources for a client portal so that I wasn’t just repeating myself on calls and I streamlined my sales process. So how I was actually recruiting new clients. All of this allowed me to take on more clients, to charge them more and to get better results, meaning that I got more referrals. And so my consulting business grew.

Anyway, that’s a whistle stop tour of my consulting business today during our really exciting time of growth. So I can’t wait to update you on how it’s all going.

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