Are You Taking Advantage of the “Business Within Your Business”?

Your first business is your main one — the one you know you are in. Your second business is the one you automatically qualify to be in as a result of the knowledge you have to possess in order to deliver your main product or service. You can tap into that “hidden profit center” and make it a second, lucrative business by becoming a consultant. The first business of a personal trainer, for example, is to help clients lose weight and get fit.

In order to do that, he has to know a lot about exercise and nutrition. In other words, he has the skills to, for a handsome consulting fee, show local corporations how to manage and run an effective wellness program for their employees. While he might be able to charge his training clients no more than $50 to $70 an hour, a corporate client might pay him $10,000 for just a couple of days of his time. Big companies have deeper pockets than individuals who are paying for their own training — and the benefits of a program like this to a company (increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, etc.) can be enormous.

Let’s look at another example. The first business of a chiropractor is to treat patients. But in addition to knowing how to improve health through spinal adjustments, he also knows how to run a medical practice. And, if he is successful, there are plenty of other chiropractors who would pay him handsome consulting fees to share his proven, practice-building techniques with them.

Take a look at your business or job. Do you know something that others want to know? Of course, you do. Well, don’t let that knowledge go to waste. Share it with others by giving speeches, running seminars and workshops, producing information products, and providing one-on-one private consultations.

Here are the steps you need to take to convert your knowledge into a lucrative second income:

1. Identify the skill or expertise you have that others would be willing to pay for.

2. Identify your audience. Will you market your services to individuals or businesses? If to businesses, what kind? Local or national? Small companies or large corporations?

3. Decide how you will deliver your information to those clients. Will you teach public seminars? Conduct on-site training classes for corporate employees? Coach individuals over the Internet? Have private consulting sessions with CEOs in person or over the phone?

4. Figure out how you will market your new consulting business. By word of mouth? By using search engines to drive traffic to your website? By networking at Chamber of Commerce meetings?

5. Decide how much you will charge. You’ll discover what the market will bear as you progress. But what should you ask for when you’re just starting out? Fees vary, but $1,000 a day is a safe starting point for many beginning consultants. (Experienced consultants can earn two to four times that amount.)

(Ed. Note: Bob Bly is the editor of Mailbox Millionaire, ETR’s program to help you start your own successful direct-mail business. For information, click on