What is an Independent Consultant?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Independent consultants are professionals that provide evaluation and mentoring services to clients who need guidance with some aspect of a business operation or the management of personal matters. Consultants work with clients to identify strengths and weaknesses inherent in the current operating structure, while offering advice on how to maximize the efficiency of advantages while minimizing the impact of drawbacks.

Consultants should be experienced and experts in their field.
Consultants should be experienced and experts in their field.

Independent consulting is a viable career path in many different industries. It is possible to specialize in specific types of businesses such as manufacturing, financial services, or telecommunications. Clients who have specific needs in a given area are likely to contract the services of an independent consultant to restructure a component of the business in a manner that will help the company move closer to attaining its goals.

Companies may hire an independent tech consultant to help them improve their computer infrastructure.
Companies may hire an independent tech consultant to help them improve their computer infrastructure.

Another approach to independent consulting has to do with a broad evaluation of the operations of a business. Within this scenario, the independent consultant will systematically assess each department, process, and procedure associated with the business. The consultant will seek to enhance aspects that are already working well while redefining, eliminating, or changing aspects that appear to hinder the overall operation. This may include making recommendations for merging departments, adding or eliminating positions within the operational structure, or completely reworking a process associated with one or more areas.

One of the most important resources that an independent consultant possesses is practical knowledge regarding the subject matter of the consulting offered. In many cases, this knowledge base is developed through practical experience and a thorough understanding of a particular subject. For example, someone who has practical experience with the construction and installation of phone systems would be able to offer consulting services to clients who wanted to update and enhance their communication network.

Working as an independent consultant allows individuals to interact with a variety of clients and working environments. This can be especially important to someone who is uncomfortable with working for the same employer over a long period of time. Independent consulting assignments normally last anywhere from a couple of weeks to six months. Depending on the type of consulting services offered, the independent consultant may also work with several clients at one time, providing a great deal of diversity in the work day.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


Sneaker41-I think whatever field you choose to specialize in it has to be something that you are passionate about because it is your passion that will help you through the tough times.

If you are doing this simply for the money then you will not be successful because you will lack the passion necessary to get you to the next level.

You will also tire of the business sooner and probably want to drop the pursuit of that business altogether. Being an independent contractor is a lot of responsibly and it is not for everyone.

For example, during the real estate boom many people became independent mortgage consultants and now most left the industry because they really did have an interest in the field and were looking for fast money.


Oasis11-Another important thing to determine is the independent consultant fees that you will charge for the services.

It is important that you shop the competition and evaluate yourself against the competition to determine what a fair market value is for you expertise.

An independent consulting contract will outline this information, so when you submit a proposal you always have to have a figure in mind that will allow you to offer your client great value, but at the same time it has to be high enough for you to be happy with as well.

If you price your services too low you will not be able to make enough money to succeed, and if you price your services too high companies might not have the budget to hire you.

It is also important that you have six to eight months of living expenses because you never know long it will take for your business to flourish and you really need to focus on your business needs and not have to worry about your personal bills. This is really how to succeed as an independent consultant.


SauteePan-There is a non profit organization called SCORE that offers would be entrepreneurs business counseling from people that have had their business in a similar industry or have worked as high level executives and now are experts.

They function as mentors so that the entrepreneur will not make the same costly mistakes. They also offer monthly meetings and workshops as well.


An independent consultant has a contract which outlines the independent consultant fees for the services rendered.

The independent consulting contract also outlines deadlines for special projects and deliverables.

In order to succeed as an independent consultant you have to first understand that you are operating a professional business.

You will have to market your services and adhered to deadlines. Getting started as an independent computer consultant, for example, will require developing a marketing and business plan.

It also involves determining the area that you will specialize in as well as making sure you have the appropriate business equipment to get you started.

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