What Exactly Do Consultants Do?

What Exactly Do Consultants Do?
Dustin Lien
January 29, 2020

Interested in starting a consulting business? Not entirely sure what that even looks like? You’re not alone! “Consultant” is used vaguely and often incorrectly, but luckily it’s a pretty simple concept to explain.

The main role of a consultant is to provide advice to achieve a specific outcome. Sometimes a consultant does only that, provide advice, and other times it’s a combination of advice and executing the work required to achieve the outcome.

Example 1: Sarah is a management consultant who provides workshops and resources to help large organizations train their management teams to improve company efficiency. She puts her clients through a strategic 6-week program, and provides productivity resources for them to keep. After the 6 weeks, she is finished with her consulting.

Example 2: Dave is a marketing consultant who helps hotels convert more new customers using Facebook ads. He starts off with each new client by developing a custom advertising strategy, and then executes the work on an ongoing monthly basis as a service.

Whether solely offering expert advice or pairing it with a service, every consultant performs the following duties:

  1. Lead clients to a specific outcome
  2. An important difference between a consultant and a freelancer is that although both can be highly skilled and help execute the work, a consultant also provides a map to a destination. A consultant leads the client to a specific outcome, rather than only providing help with tasks.
  3. Provide specialized guidance based on experience
  4. Not only does a consultant lead clients to a specific outcome, they do so based on experience that can be trusted. A consultant is an expert on the subject matter (even if simply an expert in the eyes of the client).

Because expert advice can lead clients to new revenue-generating or time-saving outcomes, consulting can be very lucrative, and is one of the fastest business models to profitability.

Most consultants provide a variety of offerings, but the thread that ties everything together, is being a strategic partner to help clients achieve desired results.