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A Dream Come True The ins and outs of starting your own consulting service

By Nichole L. Torres

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Whether you've been laid off from your corporate job oryou're just ready to strike out on your own, you're notalone if you dream of starting a consulting business. To make thatdream a reality, Joseph Riggio, CEO and president of JS Riggio International Inc. inMahwah, New Jersey, has developed a program to help aspiringentrepreneurs launch consulting businesses.

First, says Riggio, pick a point of entry where you already haveexpertise and familiarity. What are you passionate about? "Themore specific, the better," he says. "Think about it asthough you're entering a funnel from the small end." Betightly focused and position yourself in that small area-youcan't be all things to all people. Use your specific expertiseto persuade your first few critical clients to take a risk on you;only then can you expand your horizons a bit.

Second, present benefits that are recognizable and tangible toyour potential clients. Whether you're a weight-loss consultantor a small-business consultant, make it personal. "If I cansay to [a client], 'I'm going to show you how to loseweight or how to stop smoking or how to make a milliondollars,' [the client] can understand that," saysRiggio.

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