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22 tips on how to get consulting clients in 2024 [Ultimate Guide]

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Launching your own consulting business is both exhilarating and terrifying.

Once the initial thrill of this decision is over, reality hits… How on earth do you find clients?

As a consultant, you have a lot to offer to businesses but you also have to compete in a very crowded market. With so much noise, it can feel impossible for a new consultant to get noticed and start landing clients.

But just because it’s challenging doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover the full spectrum of things you need to do to get consulting clients.

You’ll learn how to harness the power of collaboration, speaking opportunities, and building partnerships. And we won’t just regurgitate fluff advice you’ve heard before.

This guide goes deep into the topic with 22 tips and real-life examples from other consultants who made it.

22 ways to get clients as a consultant

When it comes to getting clients as a consultant, there’s no silver bullet solution. It requires a strategic, multi-step approach that combines networking, lead generation, personal branding, and prospecting.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore 22 proven tactics for finding consulting clients.

But rather than just rapid-firing tips, we’ve organized these strategies into seven cohesive clusters:

  • Figuring out your unique value proposition
  • Leverage your professional network
  • Building a strong online presence
  • Using marketplaces, like Product Hunt, and freelancing platforms
  • Networking
  • Collaborating with others
  • Doing cold outreach

In each section, we included not only actionable tips but also real-life examples from other consultants.

  • 1
    Tell stories
  • 2
    Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
  • 3
    Share your struggles.
  • 4
    Reach out to existing connections.
  • 5
    Build a strong online presence.
  • 6
    Develop a professional website.
  • 7
    Start a blog.
  • 8
    Use social media strategically.
  • 9
    Double down on SEO.
  • 10
    Use Upwork or Product Hunt.
  • 11
    Choose new clients strategically.
  • 12
    Overdeliver to build reputation.
  • 13
    Attend industry events.
  • 14
    Participate in online communities.
  • 15
    Get published in publications.
  • 16
    Look for speaking opportunities.
  • 17
    Look for speaking opportunities.
  • 18
    Build strategic partnerships.
  • 19
    Build rapport with clients.
  • 20
    Craft personalized client outreach.
  • 21
    Ask for referrals.
  • 22
    Follow up persistently.

Step 1. Figure out your unique value proposition

Starting a consulting business in an industry saturated with others offering similar services can feel daunting. If everything’s been said and done before, what’s the point?

While the basics never change (and they do seem repetitive), your unique take on these basics is what’s going to bring in new clients.

There are thousands of consultants out there dishing out the same business advice. Some you vibe with, some you just scroll past. What makes the difference? It’s that special sauce they bring to the table—their personality, their fresh takes, and their ability to connect with their audience.

1. Tell stories

For example, if others rehash the old business advice like “move fast and react fast”, analyze the potential pitfalls of that mindset. When is it better to move slowly? Play devil’s advocate on conventional thinking (but only when appropriate, don’t dismiss good ideas for the sake of coming across as being original).

While others might say “focus on providing exceptional customer service,” try to illustrate that priority through a memorable story.

Maybe you recently had a pleasant interaction with a sales assistant at Target… or maybe your favorite delivery brand disappointed you with your latest order… or maybe you can share some stories from your professional experience about what difference good customer service can make.

Here’s a great example of how to weave personal stories into your consulting narrative:

People connect with stories far more than polished AI posts. Sprinkle your stories with humor and lessons learned.

In the article titled “I Wish I Received This Advice as a Young Entrepreneur”, Hilt Tatum IV, CEO of Dale Ventures Group of Companies, writes about the importance of creating a story that people want to hear.

2. Don’t try to be someone you’re not

Are you into skiing and financial consulting? Draw parallels between the skiing mindset and strategic decision-making required in financial matters.

Share your challenges from the slopes to illustrate financial lessons, create ski-themed videos about financial topics, and don’t shy away from skiing analogies from time to time.

3. Share your struggles and imperfections

Struggles and imperfections make you more relatable.

Right now, your clients are struggling with what you used to struggle with in the past. So don’t hide your past mishaps and adventures! We are all on a journey.

Step 2. Leverage your professional network

Many of you who are starting your consulting business don’t start from a complete zero. You already have a professional network from your past. It can be a goldmine when launching your consulting business.

These are people who already know and trust your skills and experience. They might be your former colleagues, clients, managers, or anyone else who’s acquainted with the job you do and the value you provide.

Here are some practical tips to leverage your network effectively when starting your new consulting business.

4. Reach out to former colleagues, clients, or business contacts

First things first: Let your network know you’ve gone solo. Nobody is a mind-reader. At the very start of your business journey, you are your first and only brand advocate.

Send personalized emails updating your contacts on your new consulting venture. But go beyond just announcing: ask insightful questions to understand their current needs and pain points. This positions you to potentially offer solutions.

For example, you could say: ⁤”Hey, ⁤⁤I’m starting a consulting gig and wanted to reconnect to see how things have been going on your end. ⁤⁤How about catching up over coffee? I’d love to hear more about how you’re doing and also explore ways how we could potentially support each other.” ⁤

Pro Tip. The key is making it a two-way conversation while subtly introducing your services. You can also offer free consultations or audits as a way to open more doors.

Step 3. Build a strong online presence

The beauty of having a powerful online presence is that your lead generation efforts can run 24/7 on autopilot. Your website, content, and social channels become an always-on digital salesforce.

But before we dive deep into these tips, let’s clarify one thing: not everyone should have an online presence. It’s a non-negotiable in some industries whereas other industries or consulting gigs don’t require it.

For example, if you provide services in digital marketing, management consulting, freelance writing, or career coaching, you definitely need an online presence.

But if you work in a highly specialized or niche industry, you might be better off with reaching your target audience through industry-specific networks and recommendations. Nevertheless, even in this case, it’s still better to have at least some online page you can always refer your potential clients to—be it an Instagram page, a Facebook group, or a simple website.

Your online footprint is often the first impression people will have of your brand, so it’s important to get it right.

Here’s how to build an online presence that showcases your consulting expertise and brings new clients.

5. Develop a professional website

It can be something very simple (you don’t need a fancy website with lots of animations and moving parts).

The main goals are to…

  • clearly outline the services you offer,
  • showcase your portfolio of successful projects,
  • highlight testimonials from past clients,
  • provide a way for prospects to easily get in touch.

6. Start a blog

To get consulting clients, you need to demonstrate your expertise. One of the ways to do this is to consistently publish content that positions you as a thought leader.

Don’t just settle for a standard blog, if writing is not your strongest suit. Get creative with content formats! For example, a video blog series on YouTube might be just the thing for you.

The key is to make your content resourceful and engaging—avoid dry how-to posts.

Here’s a great example of how to share insights with your clients (with a personal touch and without sounding repetitive):

7. Use social media strategically

For consultants, social media is a marketing and lead-generation channel. But you have to be strategic in which platforms you use and how you use them.

For example, if your consulting business helps B2B clients, having an active LinkedIn presence is a must. If you’re a fitness coach, you’ll have an easier time finding your audience on platforms like Instagram.

8. Double down on SEO

While paid ads have their place (and you might try to use them too to get new consulting clients), the holy grail for consultants is ranking organically on Google and other search engines for relevant keywords.

There’s a whole skill to search engine optimization (SEO), but it’s good if you master some basics. Over time, as you publish more content, your website’s visibility and traffic should steadily increase. Just be patient and persistent.

Here’s a great example of how founders who understand the value of SEO outperform large corporations:

Step 4. Use marketplaces and freelancing platforms

When you’re just starting as a consultant, freelancing platforms and online marketplaces can be just the right thing for you to build your portfolio and generate income.

While not a long-term strategy, effectively using these platforms will help you gain experience, exposure, and positive reviews.

9. Use Upwork, Product Hunt, or similar sites

Where do your clients go when they look for someone to do a job for them?

Sites like Upwork can be perfect for your services… but try thinking outside of the box.

For example, if you’re consulting for startups and product businesses, being part of the Product Hunt community can help you get in front of the right clients. Product Hunt is the go-to online platform where founders and investors talk about newly launched products and startups.

Pay close attention to the new products and startups gaining traction on Product Hunt. You may discover newly funded startups that are looking for ways to ramp up their marketing efforts or companies hitting scaling pain points.

Here’s a great example from Olena Bomko of how Product Hunt can help you get more consulting clients:

10. Choose new clients strategically

With platforms full of freelancers competing on price, it can be tempting to just bid on every project to get work. Don’t! You’ll spread yourself thin and struggle to deliver quality.

Be very selective and strategic about the projects you go after. Look for opportunities that closely align with your niche. Personalize each pitch to show how you personally can drive results for that client.

Don’t get blinded by a project’s budget, either. An opportunity to work with a hot startup can pay dividends through experience and future referrals.

11. Overdeliver to build your reputation

When you land a new consulting gig, treat it as your calling card. Don’t just deliver the bare minimum. Look for every opportunity to delight your new client with your communication standards, delivery quality, and attention to deadlines.

Provide detailed reports or walkthrough videos along with your final deliverables. Check in frequently to gather feedback. Ensure you’re exceeding their expectations. The goal is to create raving fans who leave you glowing testimonials and refer others.

Step 5. Network

Networking is a must for any consultant looking to grow their client base.

It’s important to become visible, credible, and helpful in places where your potential consulting clients spend time.

At the end of the day, people hire consultants they know, like, and trust. The tactics below will help you cultivate long-lasting business relationships.

12. Attend industry events, conferences, networking meetups

Building your online presence is powerful, no doubt. But you also need to venture out into the real world.

Attend relevant conferences, meetups, and networking events for your niche. Come prepared with new business cards, a short elevator pitch about your consulting services, and thoughtful questions to spark conversations.

The goal isn’t necessarily to make a hard sell on the spot but to plant seeds that you can nurture down the line.

13. Join relevant online communities and actively participate

Social capital is real capital. Make a habit of being active in online spaces like LinkedIn/Facebook groups, Slack communities, or Reddit forums related to your consulting niche.

Don’t just lurk—contribute! Comment and answer questions. This is your opportunity to establish yourself as a helpful and knowledgeable voice in your industry. Focus on building credibility and familiarity with your name.

When appropriate, you can share content you’ve created or case studies to illustrate points. But don’t just overtly self-promote—focus first on genuinely engaging with the community.

14. Update your LinkedIn profile and connect

Your LinkedIn profile is a key piece of your personal brand as a consultant. So make sure it’s optimized.

Update your headline, About section, services provided, and anything else to communicate your consulting expertise.

Then, work on expanding your network by connecting with people in your target industries and roles. Engage with their content and leave comments that open doors to conversations.

LinkedIn is not just about sending out connection requests, it’s a tool for nurturing connections over time.

Step 6. Collaborate with others

For new consultants, collaboration is a powerful tool for raising visibility. By teaming up with others, you can get in front of potential consulting clients and build credibility. It’s an incredible way to fast-track your success!

Here are some practical tips for making collaboration help you find more consulting clients.

15. Get published in other publications

Guest posting is an old tactic but it’s still very relevant today, especially among the AI-dominated content. By (successfully) submitting your opinions to different publications, you get the much-needed exposure.

But don’t just settle for any website or publication. Identify the sites and platforms where your ideal clients spend time. Come prepared with a few topic pitches that provide value and a unique stance.

Showcase your expertise in a way that makes readers think, “Whoa, they really know their stuff!”

16. Look for speaking opportunities

If you are not into writing, have you thought about securing speaking gigs? Do a quick Google search—and you’ll get a list of relevant conferences, webinars, or events.

Start small by pitching yourself for smaller local meetups. As you build your speaking portfolio, you’ll find it easier to go after larger conferences.

The key is to focus on providing value—not just self-promotion. Your potential clients come to events to get educated, entertained, or both.

Here’s a great example of how to promote your event by making it relatable to your clients:

17. Leverage social proof

If you want to find more consulting clients, you need to leverage your existing testimonials and case studies, if you have them. In consulting, social proof is everything. Clients are making a major investment (and commitment) in hiring you. That’s why they want proof that you will deliver.

From day one of your consulting business, make it a habit to collect testimonials and case studies from every client engagement.

If it feels right, ask clients to record short video testimonials. Showcase this social proof on your website and proposals.

18. Build strategic partnerships

You can be the best consultant for [insert a service] but you can’t be all things to all your clients. You are not the only consultant they work with and you won’t be able to solve all of their pain points and needs.

That’s why it’s wise to build strategic partnerships with other consultants or agencies that offer complementary services. For example, if you’re a financial consultant, you could partner with business lawyers, CFOs-for-hire, or even career coaches that serve the same client base.

Find partners that enhance your value rather than compete with you directly. This will open doors for cross-promotion and more client opportunities. It’ll also allow you to offer end-to-end solutions while having a built-in referral network.

Step 7. Do cold outreach

When you’re just starting as a consultant, doing strategic cold outreach is a great way to find your first clients.

It can feel daunting, but with the right approach and mindset, cold outreach can yield impressive results.

In consulting, cold outreach is a numbers game and marathon, not a sprint. By personalizing your approach, adding value upfront, and patiently persisting (while respecting boundaries), you can gradually fill your sales pipeline.

19. Build rapport with potential clients

Before going for a cold pitch, consider warming up prospects by engaging with their content and establishing familiarity first on platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter.

Many cold emails fall flat because there’s a demand set upfront. Instead of going for the hard sell straight away, have your primary goal as simply starting a dialogue. Ask questions about their current challenges or priorities to kickstart a meaningful back-and-forth exchange.

To win a sale, you need to play the long game.

20. Craft personalized client outreach

Once you’re ready to reach out, keep in mind that the key to effective cold outreach is making prospects feel like you’re speaking directly to their unique situation—not just blasting generic messages.

For example, “I noticed your new product launch around XYZ and the marketing challenges companies often face in that space. I have in-depth experience helping firms like yours develop a solid go-to-market strategy to maximize launch ROI…”

Share numbers to pique their interest and have a clear, compelling call-to-action, like booking a brief discovery call.

21. Ask for referrals

While straight cold outreach has its place, an even better approach is to find creative ways to get inbound warm introductions instead.

Leverage existing clients, partners, or network connections for referrals to key prospects.

It’s okay that in the beginning, your outreach may get mediocre results. So aim low with more modest targets initially—friends, acquaintances, smaller businesses with tight budgets. Nail those first few client experiences to generate positive reviews and testimonials that can be used later as social proof to get more consulting clients.

22. Follow up respectfully but persistently

Too many consultants make the mistake of giving up after hearing crickets from their first outreach attempt.

In one of his articles, Ramon Ray, Founder,, writes about the importance of follow-ups in selling and growing your business.

On average, it takes 8 follow-up attempts to get a response. So develop a follow-up cadence that combines persistence with adding value.

For example, your follow-ups could share a helpful industry article or offer a free consulting audit. Position yourself as a knowledgeable consultant… who also respects their boundaries.

best follow up tool

The secret to finding consulting clients

Finding clients as a new consultant requires a multi-faceted approach.

Consistency, persistence, and providing value are key to building a solid client base over time.

Use these tips, deliver exceptional work, and nurture your professional relationships. With dedication and a strategic approach, you can gradually build a solid client base and establish yourself as a trusted consultant in your industry.

Anastasia Chechkova
Anastasia Chechkova

A former Content Marketing Consultant with a degree in corporate finance, Anastasia focuses on providing both actionable and practical advice. She covers a wide range of business-related topics and explores the latest trends in entrepreneurship with a focus on small consulting businesses.

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