If you're a business expert--you're a whiz at marketing, reorganization, setting up franchises, retooling the company image, or any number of other specialties--then you've got the right stuff to be a business consultant. Instead of reporting to the office every day as a company man or woman, you'll work as an independent contractor on special projects for a number of clients. The advantages to this business are that you can work at home and you get the excitement and pacing of the corporate world without having to live it on a 9-to-5 basis. You'll need a strong background in your area of expertise coupled with stellar marketing skills to convince potential clients of your worth. You'll also need excellent communication and people skills--you'll be going into the company as an outsider, which can be good or bad, depending on the interpersonal culture of the company.
Network among professional and civic organizations in your area and among present and former colleagues. Write articles for the business section of local publications. Give talks to business groups and seminars or workshops at local colleges. Place an ad in the Yellow Pages. Put up a website.
You should have top-notch credentials in your specialty--you've held prominent positions, can cite professional certification, belong to pertinent organizations, have written books or articles, or taught courses or workshops. You should also have a reference network--colleagues or other businesspeople who can attest to your expertise and business smarts. Besides what's in your head, you'll need the standard office setup--a computer, a laser printer, a fax machine and the usual office software.
Peer advisory boards, business coaching