Online Business Consultant Services - By Niche

Online Business Consultant Services

Online Business Consultant Services

Online Business Consultant Services

Start-up cost: $4,000–$6,000
Potential earnings: $10,000–$30,000
Typical fees: $50–$75 per hour or $150+ per job
Advertising: Online message boards, flyers, publications, word of
mouth, banner ads on general-interest Web sites, your own
Web site with computer tips
Qualifications: Technical knowledge of hardware and software, good
written communications skills, marketing ability
Equipment needed: PC with high-speed Internet access, at least five phone lines
Staff required: No
Hidden costs: Internet service provider fees

What You Do

As an online consultant, you will assist those in need of specific pieces of informa-
tion or directions to a bulletin board service (BBS) or other online services such as
search engines, databases and more. You will troubleshoot for them, providing help
in areas where the user is not as knowledgeable. Charges may be for the service
received (employer/job searcher) or the knowledge gained such as the ability to
use a certain piece of software. Some Online Business Consultant Services charge a flat monthly fee
(typically $8–$10 per month); others have a low fee and add-on charges for time
above a certain amount per month. You may need to send invoices or to obtain
credit card capability to receive payments. The easiest way to be certain you’re paid
for your services is to obtain credit card information early in the process.

What You Need

Your initial investment is relatively high, since this is a very technology-dependent
business. A computer, high-speed Internet access are necessary to begin, and a
wireless hub would be most helpful—so that you can have many different online
services running simultaneously. Of course, if you are very familiar with online
message boards, search engines and bulletin board services, you will likely have a
good start on your equipment already.

Keys to Success

In this fast-paced e-world, you can take your enjoyment of communicating online
and make it into a business. Once you have found a niche, a group of potential
subscribers with a strong interest in a topic and an enthusiasm for learning more,
you can use your skills to guide them on their way. BBS subscribers often expect
immediate, or at least rapid, responses from their sysop (system operator), so you
will need to be available several hours each day. Developing a method of charging
that is competitive while bringing in enough income can be difficult.

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