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Can startup consulting be a profitable business?

Assume I'm a certified digital marketeer who's had a couple of startups and is fluent in the relevant models and how to apply them. Somewhere down the line I aim to start consulting, I'm torn between:

1) Normal digital marketing consulting services for all sorts of businesses

2) Consulting services directly targeted for startups and helping them grow

11 Replies

Stephen Levin
2
0
Stephen Levin Entrepreneur
Data Analytics Lead at Sestra
Startups are obviously fun to work with, but overwhelmingly they're a lot tighter about money. It's hard to get them to pay the rates that you can get a BigCo to pay, but you can certainly make money anyway.
Lorraine Wheeler
2
0
President at Redstoke, LLC
It somewhat depends on how you define startups. Early stage startups without funding typically will not pay consultants. VC backed consultants will often (not always) use consultants that are recommended by the VC. So, if you have close relationships with VC firms, then option 2 could be viable. Startups that have product and revenue might be open to consultants that would help them grow if you present a compelling case, but they may not pay the same rates that a large company would. Good luck!
Roz Biles
0
1
Roz Biles Entrepreneur
Business Development - Strategic Planning
Do both Roz Biles Business Development Newport Beach, CA Direct [removed to protect privacy]
Chris Gorges
0
0
Chris Gorges Entrepreneur • Advisor
Partner, Strategy at Rocketure
@Lorraine nailed it. My firm works with startups / growth-phase companies, but due to their tighter budgets, we have to get creative around compensation structure (equity, options, referral structures, etc.) -- which obviously is part of the fun / potential upside of working with startups.
Heidi Fortes
0
0
Heidi Fortes Advisor
Growth Hacker, Sales Expert, Communication Maven, Culture Architect
If you're willing to stick it out for the long term and understand that the relationship may take some time to pay off then yes. But in my experience with startups, they usually are very tight and can't really put too much money in supplementary growth services like consulting.
Linda Marshall-Smith
0
0
Linda Marshall-Smith Entrepreneur
Marketing Consultant, Ambassador, Silicon Beach at CoFoundersLab
It would depend on the stage of the start up, as others here have said. Too early, and they are looking for advice, expertise and connections, and have nothing to offer but equity or shares in the company. If you are as passionate about their burgeoning business as they are, then yes, go this route. But if it's got to be more of a pay day for you, then steer clear of these very early stage companies. Bottom line, they offer 10 or 50% equity in their company in exchange for your hard work, but let's face it, 10 or 50% of zero is zero as they are typically not valued yet, and they really have no company in the beginning. So I reiterate, if you share their passion, then by all means do those kinds of deals. But be careful. You may find yourself working very hard and not being able to pay the rent. On the other hand, start ups that are further along, already have secured venture funding, a Series A or Series B, are more likely to pay your standard rates, or close to them, and may even offer some form of ownership in the company. Either way, working with start ups is as rewarding as it is challenging, and I find it very exciting to be in on the ground floor with them. Just choose carefully, and walk away from deals that are too good to be true.
Kevin Cuddihy
0
0
Kevin Cuddihy Advisor
President of Univision Local Media with a record of increasing Revenue and Market Share | Progressive, Inclusive Leader
you could talk to people like Bain Capital Management small cap (Under $50M) who are always looking for some expertise can startup consulting be a profitable business?@media screen and (){#yiv7795943606 #yiv7795943606featured-advisors-left{width:45% !important;padding:0px !important;}#yiv7795943606 #yiv7795943606featured-advisors-right{width:54% !important;padding:0px !important;}} | FD:Discuss | New Discussion on can startup consulting be a profitable business? | Started by Philippe Lobo Kung Previously Marketing Manager, CHEERS Wines. Previously Sales and Marketing, Base7booking. Assume I'm a certified digital marketeer who's had a couple of startups and is fluent in the relevant models and how to apply them. Somewhere down the line I aim to start consulting, I'm town between these two options: 1) Normal digital marketing consulting services for all sorts of businesses 2) Consulting services directly targeted for startups and helping them grow FOLLOW DISCUSSION or Reply Directly to this email to participate in the discussion Manage your email notifications
Peter Kemball
3
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Peter Kemball Entrepreneur
Member Issuers Committee at Equity Crowdfunding Alliance of Canada (ECFA)

Philippe,

Unless the start-ups you target have cash, current income for your efforts is not to be expected making you an investor. The odds of startup success are so low, that even where you able to make good judgment calls you would have to make 20 such investments and have at least 2 of them pay off at ten times your for cash hourly rate to breakeven and wait between a half decade to a decade to actually have cash.

Hope this helps you think it through


Mouhamad Médoune Boye
1
0
Mouhamad Médoune Boye Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO chez Groupe Jeunes Managers
Hi ! The question worth to be asked... Consulting is always a good idea (when there is demand of course). Many Startups are looking for good advices and tips in such domains like growth and digital marketing. I am consulting in Digital Marketing and i can tell you that the demand is great among Startups here in Africa... 2015-07-23 18:50 GMT+00:00 Philippe Lobo Kung < [removed to protect privacy]>:
Fernando Nunez-Noda
0
0
Fernando Nunez-Noda Entrepreneur
Editor of Neorika.com
I agree with Mr Peter Kemball: odds are a startup will offer shares instead of cash. But if you get to be attractive to startups with cash, of course you can be profitable being this a planning and advising job. The big detail is that you have to be very good to comply with a startup?s range of needs and processes. I assume you can be that good.
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