Do you have what it takes to be a consultant?

You might be surprised to learn that you can both run a small business and do consulting work on the side. On the other hand, maybe it is time to pass that small business along to someone else and lend your years’ of experience running such a business to one or more people in the consulting world.

If you have good knowledge of your small business niche and enjoy working with people, time spent in consulting could just be for you.

Working as a consultant provides plenty of variety, and opportunities to flex your problem-solving muscles. Those who have run small businesses know all too well of the many issues that come to the surface over the years.

But just what makes a great consultant?

Here are the six top traits you’ll need to cultivate if you want to thrive in the consulting field:

  1. Confidence

Confidence is a must for a consultant.

You need to know your field, and you need to demonstrate your confidence and knowledge to your clients. Your confidence will be infectious, inspiring confidence in the people you work with and fostering productive working relationships.

You’ll also need confidence so you can hit the ground running with each new client, taking stock of the situation and getting to work on making improvements right away.

  1. Discipline

Part of your job as a consultant is to get the best results possible in the quickest and most effective way.

You’re going to have a lot of problems to solve, and your clients will want to feel that you are a good investment for their business, giving them a lot of truly helpful answers for their money.

To get the results your clients want, you will need the discipline to manage your time, work hard, and work smart. Discipline and confidence are a powerful combination that will ensure you make your mark as a consultant.

  1. Resourcefulness

As the article, “Are You Really a Consultant?” points out, consultants need to look at all aspects of a problem and do everything in their power to determine the best path forward.

It’s your job to decide what your client’s best options are and how they can best achieve change.

That means you’ll need the ability to take a fresh view of a problem and leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting answers.


  1. Passion

Your clients will quickly sense whether or not you are truly passionate about their small business. The ability to cultivate genuine passion for your clients’ businesses will serve you well in your consulting work.

Passion for both your industry and your clients’ success will help you to become a successful consultant.

For the right people, time spent finding and implementing solutions so your clients can experience small business success can be very rewarding.

  1. People Skills

One of the most exciting parts about working as a consultant is the potential to work with a huge variety of people every day.

You’ll be going into new organizations and helping their team to get better results. To best do that, good people skills are a must.

A confident, approachable and reassuring demeanor will go a long way, as will the ability to talk to people at all levels.

Strong listening skills will help you to really understand the people you are working with so you can pinpoint and solve their core issues.

  1. Studiousness

Your clients will be looking to you for expert knowledge and advice in your field.

Part of your reputation as a consultant will stem from your ability to share the most relevant and up to date knowledge with your clients. To truly stand out, you’ll be able to take the latest developments and apply them to your clients’ individual situations.

If you love to learn and can get enthusiastic about staying up to date with all the latest developments in your line of business, years focused in consulting could just be for you.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on topics including social media, running a small business, and how to become a successful consultant.