As the field of education continues to grow, more and more parents are seeking the services of outside educational consultants. Educational consultants can provide a variety of services from assisting students with special needs--and integrating them into a better instructional program at school--to handling behavorial problems such as defiance and drug abuse. Consultants can work with both families and schools depending upon their area of expertise. As former educators, they are both vauled and needed. Becoming a consultant is also an excellent way to create a business that you can do at home; be recognised in your field as an expert; and be highly paid for your services.
Look over your competitors. Make a list of all the educational consultants in the city you wish to work in. Find out if your competition is doing a good job. Research who they are working with and what their expertise within the field of education is. It is important to understand both their strengths and weaknesses, as well as your own
Speak with other educational consultants. Find a mentor if you can. One of the best ways to start a business is to first speak with others who are in that business already. Look outside the area you will be working in, as your competitors may not give you tips on how to be successful as a consultant. It may take you awhile to find a few people to speak with but it is worth the effort.
Take an honest look at your own training, experience and education. Define your particular expertise in the field of education. The field of education is broad so the more you can define your expertise the easier it will be to market and sell yourself. It is important to become an expert to recognise problems and creating solutions for your clients, and you must have excellent time management skills, strong networking and good communication skills.
Set up your office. Part of the perks for being a consultant is that you can work at home. This is far less costly than renting office space, at least in the beginning. Purchase a fax, copier and printer. You will need a desk, chair and file trays as well as a file cabinet, blank file folders, pens and any other office essentials. Set up a separate phone line for your business, unless you prefer to use your cell phone as your business phone. You also may need to look at software for your particular type of business.
Develop professional marketing materials. Have business cards made with the name of your business and your logo. Create one sentence that will highlight your unique skills, as a way to brand yourself. Write the copy for a brochure that will sell your expertise and highlight the benefits of working with you. Make sure you add your credentials and experience in the field of education. You can hire someone or you can do this yourself. Have your brochure printed and make sure whatever marketing materials you have look professional.
Network. The key to success in the consulting business is to build solid relationships with new and prospective clients. Always dress and present yourself professionally. Make calls to local schools and school districts, find out what their needs are and how you can help them. Find the decision makers who can hire you. Take out an ad in the local Yellow Pages for your business. Your prospective clients need to see you as successful and in demand.
Develop a website that will tell your prospective clients all they will need to know about who you are, your experience and what you can do for them. You can hire someone to do this for a nominal cost or if you can afford to, spend a bit more money and higher someone who is great with design as well as the technical aspects of the site. Hire a person with a good client portfolio and who knows how to brand you on your site.
Use social networks like Linkedin to promote your business and to build relationships. Place ads online that work expressly with educational consultants. Offer a free introductory seminar on a specific area of education to principals and teachers and to parents. Attend any networking functions and join your local Chamber of Commerce. Join professional associations like the Independent Educational Consultants Association.
Charge by the hour not by the job. As a consultant you can charge anywhere from £48 to £65 or more per hour. Find out what the going rate is for an educational consultant by calling a few other consultants in your area. In the beginning you may wish to offer an incentive such as a discount if a client works with you for a set amount of hours.