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How to Start Your Own Online Consulting Business: A Detailed Guide

By Zeba Yasmeen 26th November 2021

Online consulting business has become a huge industry. Especially after COVID-19, people have shifted from traditional to online consultation. Be it in healthcare sector, career counselling, lawyer consultation, fitness consultation, diet consultation and the list goes on. So what we are seeing here is a massive change in consumer behavior, or if we may call it “a digital revolution”. Consumers are turning to digital channels and businesses to adapt to the new ways of life. 

Suggested Read- Online Consulting: The Future Of Consulting Industry

And when the demand is this huge in the consulting business, it was apparent that the consultants will try to cater to the demand. Hence, consultants are going online with their businesses to best meet the consumer’s shifting demands.

And like many traditional consultants, if you are also not sure how to take your consulting business to the next level, let’s talk how you can scale up your business by going online. 

If you are already a well-established consultant/specialist and looking to scale up your business or if you are an entrepreneur, looking to start a business from scratch, we have got you covered. Here is everything you need to know about the art of online consulting (including some details about different niches) and how to become an online consultant.

4 Steps to Consider While Starting Your Online Consulting Business

  • Step 1: Define Your Expertise

It is essential to know your exact niche when you are considering to start an online consulting business. For example, if you are a healthcare practitioner, you need to specify your area of expertise whether you are a general physician, a dermatologist, a dietitian etc. Defining your niche will help you narrow down the audience into a particular segment and reaching out to them will become much easier.

Once you identify a niche which fits into your area of expertise, the next steps will become much easier to establish yourself as a leading voice across the industry.

  • Step 2: Define Your Target Audience

Now that you have narrowed down your niche, it’s time to understand who are you going to direct your professional advice or expertise towards. Think about what kinds of questions, problems, and pain points your chosen area of expertise have.  Making sure that you’re choosing a target market that NEEDS your expertise. Otherwise, the audience you will be targeting will not help you scale up your business. So choosing the correct target audience is essential if you do not want your business to fail.

  • Step 3: Set Up Your Platform

According to one of Mintel’s report, 33% of US consumers agree they would rather interact with people online than in-person.

Moreover, according to Forrester, 63% of customers are satisfied with getting online consulting services from a chatbot, provided that they can communicate with a person when needed.

In today’s date, there are many consultants who have an online presence, which is the result of a high demand of the online consultation. Digitalization has caused a boost to online consulting businesses because specialists now going global with their work.

So having an online presence for your consulting business will not only give a boost to your existing business, but it also allows you to build an online presence of your brand and earn the credibility that you need to attract more customers. 

But most entrepreneurs find themselves in a clueless position when planning and launching their online consulting business. And at this point, all you have to do is choose the right development method. And by that we mean, choosing the right development company that will cater to your needs at it best. 

Your platform should be built as per the requirements of your niche and the specific industry or business. You have to make sure that all the necessary features for managing your online consulting business are provided. 

Suggested Read: How To Create an Online Consulting Software: Step-By-Step Guide

  • Step 4: Set Your Pricing Structure

Now you have a perfect roadmap of your online consulting business, defined a specific niche to focus on, know your target audience, and have a flowchart of your online platform, it is time to address the most important aspect of your business- the pricing of your service. Choosing the right consultation fees for your services can be challenging, but you do have the ability to try different options.

A viable option is duration based pricing. It can vary from a 15 minutes consultation to 60 minutes of consultation or can be customized according to your requirements. Duration based pricing lets your clients choose the duration that suits them. The advantage of charging on the basis of duration of the consultation is that it is going to be easier to explain how changing or adding work is going to increase the number of hours needed.

Consulting Niches Where Digitalization Has Become a Norm 

We all know that the pandemic has changed the dynamics of the consulting business. While some consulting businesses went out of operations, many other industries witnessed a sharp increase in demand. Let’s take a look at what are the niches that took a leap and how these niches have been transformed in the aftermath of the pandemic. 

1. Healthcare Consulting

According to the Global Market Estimates report, the healthcare consultation market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 26.6% during the forecast period, to reach USD 16.0 billion by 2026.

Online Consulting Business

Now isn’t that a great number and a great opportunity for all the healthcare practitioners to go for online consulting business? 

Here are some examples of how businesses have seen a growth amid the pandemic- 

  • Practo Technologies, an E-health platform tracked a 600% growth in online medical consultations since the lockdown started. The platform also found out that 70% of all users were first-time telemedicine users and 45% from smaller cities. 
  • Another online healthcare service Mfine has grown 3-4 times in recent months. The platform has over 500 hospitals with more than 3000 doctors out of which nearly 250 hospitals were added between April and June 2020.

2. Fitness Consulting

Here is another report by Global Market Estimates, the global online/virtual fitness market was estimated at $6.04 billion in 2019 and is expected to hit $59.23 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 33.1% from 2020 to 2027. And this is a shout-out to all the fitness trainers out there that this is again a great opportunity to showcase your expertise. Because a rise is seen in people towards the urge of leading a healthy lifestyle. Demand for AR & VR based fitness consultation, and shut down of gyms and studios due to ongoing COVID-19 situation has driven the growth of the global online/virtual fitness market. 

3. Diet Consultation

In the last couple of years, people throughout the world have become more self-aware about the importance of health and wellness. 

According to a report by Global Wellness Institute, The wellness market has expanded by 6.4% since 2017 from $3.7 trillion to a value of $4.2 trillion. This growth has been twice as fast as the growth of the global economy! 

And dietitians are not only coming forward and taking their business online, but also gaining a significant profit out of it. Here is a live example how Panther helped Diet Buddy to scale up their business by providing a platform catered to their needs. 

4. Career counselling

A career consultant’s day-to-day work includes assessing the client’s needs, helping them with resumes, cover, other related documents, coaching interviewing skills, assisting in job search, recommending training and many more. 

The global career counselling market is growing at a faster pace with substantial growth rates over the last few years and is estimated that the market will grow significantly in the forecasted period i.e. 2020 to 2028.

5. Mental Health Counselling

According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global Mental Health Market generated $383.31 million in 2020, and is estimated to garner $537.97 million by 2030, witnessing a CAGR of 3.5% from 2021 to 2030.

Online Consulting Business

Now all the figures given only estimates how rapidly the industry is growing and why one should not lag behind in when it comes to scaling your business to the next level. 

Here is how FeelJoy, a mental healthcare app, made it possible to be one of the most customer-preferred platforms in the market by partnering with Panther. 

Case In Point: How FeelJoy Transformed its Mental Health Consultation Platform with Panther

6. Astrology Consulting

Astrology entrepreneurs and companies have seen an unwavering growth during the pandemic. Estimated to be over $40 billion, the spiritual and religious market is booming. Out of this, the horoscopes market in India alone is $10 billion, with about 2 million astrologers practicing astrology.

For instance, one astrology app called Co-Star raised $5 million in Series A funding in April 2021. The app records over $20 million staggering downloads and aims at providing personalized horoscopes to its users by integrating NASA data with AI.

But the question is, how can you, as an astrologer, increase your visibility to the audience? The answer is simple, by launching your own online astrologer consultation marketplace. Starting an online consultation space for astrology practice can be more rewarding than you think.

7. Legal Consultation

Those days are long past when people used to browse through directories to get in touch with lawyers. Today, technology and automation are taking over traditional practices and everything is available at the fingertips. And when technology is transforming business, why should legal services & legal consultants be left behind?

Furthermore, the legal services market reached a value of nearly $713.7 billion in 2020, having increased at a CAGR of 3.4% since 2015. The market is expected to grow from $713.7 billion in 2020 to $908.26 billion in 2025 at a rate of 4.9%. The legal services market is then expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.8% from 2025 and reach $1,145.9 billion in 2030.  

So this proves that there is a great opening for all the lawyer to go online with their consultation as the demand and market growth is on the rise. Here is everything you need to know about how to create an online lawyer consultation platform.

8. Online Tutoring

The increasing demand for online tutoring due to the impact of COVID-19 is driving the growth of the e-learning industry. Education has taken a dramatic change after the pandemic. For example, Byju’s, an India-based online tutoring company, announced free live classes on its Think and Learn app and saw an increase in the number of new students using its product by 200%. Therefore, the increasing demand for e-learning is expected to drive the growth of the online tutoring market.

If we look at the figures, the global online tutoring market is expected to grow from $1.44 billion in 2020 to $1.63 billion in 2021 at a CAGR of 13.2%. The growth is mainly due to the companies resuming their operations and adapting to the new normal while recovering from the COVID-19 impact.

Suggested Read: 8 Business Ideas to Get Started with a Consultancy Marketplace

Ready to Scale Your Consulting Business with an Advanced Software?

Would you like to build your own online consulting platform to scale your consultancy business? As mentioned in the above case studies and materials, we at Panther, help businesses to grow digitally. And if you are looking to grow your existing business or staring a business from scratch, just drop us a line. Panther’s team will help you in developing, launching and maintaining your top-notch consulting platform catered to your needs. 

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