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Why now is the best time to start your consulting business

Put the doom and gloom news narrative about the big tech layoffs on mute. There’s another more optimistic trend that is reshaping work, business, and the economy, and driving a new wave of entrepreneurship that could bring a surge in innovation and economic growth.

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While large-scale layoffs have become a familiar theme in the tech industry since the onset of the pandemic, the trend continues with over 50,000 tech workers losing their jobs since the beginning of the year, following the 260,000 lost jobs in 2023.

Though the news may be disconcerting, there is room for optimism. Highly skilled workers faced with this predicament have two options:

1. Re-enter the corporate world; or 

2. Turn their skills into their own independent business, particularly in consulting.

Proficient and experienced, these former full-time employees have robust professional and personal networks. Combined with their skillset, they may find this the perfect time to take the entrepreneurial leap, particularly in consulting, especially if it’s an option they’ve entertained in the past. 

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Why? The democratization of powerful digital tools. Once exclusive to large companies, these platforms now empower independent professionals to run their businesses efficiently and deliver exceptional service to clients. Today, it takes just a few minutes to build a website and start marketing one’s talents.

Taking the entrepreneurial plunge isn’t new. The economic upheaval in 2020 spurred a surge in independent business starts. New business applications skyrocketed, with over 5 million applications filed each in 2021 and 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The trend only accelerated in 2023, with a record-breaking 5.5 million new business applications filed.

Many unemployed professionals leveraged their corporate experience into consulting roles, while others transformed their side hustles into full-time endeavors.

Then, as now, a career challenge presented an entrepreneurial opportunity. 

Look like a pro from the get-go

Impress clients at every turn with professional proposals, contracts, payments, and more.

The new wave of entrepreneurship 

Changing economic conditions in 2024 are driving the latest wave of entrepreneurship. 

Now, with inflation at half of what it was this time last year and consumer confidence on the rise, the question arises: why are tech companies undergoing another round of layoffs? What factors are behind today’s downsizing trend? Companies are reassessing their priorities and directing resources toward specific areas. AI is frequently mentioned as a driving force behind this shift in company strategy.

In response, we’re seeing a shift towards more flexible and independent forms of work and a revitalization of entrepreneurial spirit. Clarity Capital’s survey of 4,188 tech employees laid off during the pandemic finds that 1,007 reported starting their own independent business post-layoff. The top motivations for doing so were:

  • Professional growth (58%)
  • More money (52%)
  • Opportunity to create something new (49%)

The survey also found that most respondents made the decision within a year of being laid off and that the ideas they chose to pursue were most often closely related to roles they had at their former companies.

Most revealing from the survey is that 58% of tech workers who started an independent business after a layoff feel better about their new job security. In addition, 56% reported having a better work-life balance when compared to their previous full-time position and 53% reported better mental health.

A recent HoneyBook study conducted by The Harris Poll surveyed independent business owners in the U.S. as well as employed U.S. adults who are not currently independent business owners. It found similar views regarding the positive aspects of starting one’s own business:

  • 72% of independent business owners say they did not initially aspire to become independent business owners; however, the benefits won them over.
  • 68% of employed adults believe they would earn more money by working for themselves than they currently do in their jobs, while 66% think their overall quality of life would improve.

Overall, the study suggests that many individuals see entrepreneurship as a pathway to financial and lifestyle improvements compared to their current jobs.

Starting your consulting business is easier than ever

Leverage the wealth of experience, expertise, and skills you’ve honed in your corporate role—whether in PR, social media, digital marketing, brand consulting, or content creation, for example—along with the robust network you’ve cultivated over the years, into a successful independent business.

All you need to support your path to independent business success is access to the tools that can help you: 

  • Establish your digital presence – to market your skills and attract your ideal clients 
  • Develop your business processes – to build efficient workflows that lead to high-quality client experiences

Success starts with great client relationships 

Client relationships are the foundation of all successful independent service-based businesses, especially those in consulting fields like marketing and branding. In these fields, services are often highly customized to meet the unique needs of each client. Building strong customer relationships requires:

  • Communicating clearly and frequently with clients on project updates, challenges, and results, utilizing communication formats that facilitate feedback and prompt, professional responses.
  • Managing expectations by setting clear parameters from the outset and maintaining agility and adaptability as projects evolve.
  • Delivering value and quality in every aspect of the project, from research and analysis to presentation and implementation.
  • Ensuring organized and professional project delivery from start to finish, employing tools such as project proposals, contracts, statements of work, client reports, and professional invoices.
  • Personalizing and enhancing customer experience by utilizing data and appropriate tools, including personalized emails, opt-in forms, thank-you pages, and personalized sales follow-ups.

Seize the day: Why HoneyBook is the best platform for consultants

HoneyBook is an end-to-end clientflow management platform that empowers independent professionals to quickly start, scale, and nurture strong client relationships—all in one place:

  • Providing end-to-end clientflow management: Bringing all of the tools you need to manage your clients and projects into one centralized platform. From communication and inquiry management to contracts, invoicing, processing payments, and more. 
  • Supporting a professional presentation at every stage and every customer touchpoint via customizable templates, attorney-reviewed contracts, and tools like the AI Composer that allow you to respond instantly to inquiries and client emails in your authentic tone of voice.  Your brand is also front and center in all documents and communications so that you look polished in every interaction.
  • Creating a frictionless client experience: From the moment of inquiry to booking, project management, and offboarding, HoneyBook offers automations, integrations, e-signing, and online payment processing that seamlessly support clients throughout the working relationship. In particular, the client portal offers an efficient and effective way to stay connected with your clients at every step.
  • Accelerating new and recurring growth: With tools that enable you to respond instantly to inquiries in a personalized and professional manner, you’ll close more sales opportunities, build customer trust, and create recurring revenue opportunities.

Amidst the challenges and setbacks presented by the tech layoffs, there emerges a narrative of resilience and optimism propelled by a new wave of entrepreneurship. Skilled former employees, as well as those currently employed seeking greater career autonomy, now have the opportunity to harness their experience and utilize powerful digital tools like HoneyBook to establish thriving consulting businesses.

Grow your business with HoneyBook

Everything you need to start and scale. 

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