Every business needs social media these days. Most businesses, however, don’t have the time or expertise to do it all themselves. With more people than ever using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, starting your own social media consulting business can be quite a lucrative venture. Like any other business, though, it’s important to plan ahead before you start selling your services.

These four steps should help you start your business off on the right foot.

Step #1: Become A Legitimate Expert

Everybody loves to call themselves a social media expert, but the reality is that businesses will be relying on you to help them manage their brand. There’s money at stake here, so you need to make sure that you can actually get the job done. You might have an Instagram account or post a few tweets from time, but that doesn’t make you an expert. Take the time to delve into the inner workings of all the major social media platforms, and build the right amount of expertise before you start signing up clients.

Step #2: Determine Which Businesses You Will Help

It’s tempting to try and be everything for everybody, but that’s a route to going nowhere fast. It’s also a route to making almost no money, as your profits will largely be determined by the clients that you select. If you pick the wrong clients, then your life will be full of headaches that you just don’t need. If you pick the right clients, however, then you’ll be making money hand over fist with far less work than most of your competitors. Look for businesses that have a proven track record, a good reputation, and a loyal customer base.

Step #3: Determine How Much You Will Charge

When it comes to how much to charge, you’re going to have a few important decisions to make. Do you want to charge a flat rate, or do you want to offer a revenue sharing program for your clients? You may need to test a few pricing policies to determine the best fit for your customers, but it’s important to come up with a few strategies that you can test right out of the gate. If you price your services too low, then you’ll be undercutting yourself and leaving money on the table. Worse yet, clients could perceive you as less of an expert than you actually are. If you price your services too high, however, then it will drastically shrink your universe of prospects. Experiment with a few different pricing models and take careful note of the feedback that you receive.

Step #4: Handle Your Accounting Before It Gets Complicated

Accounting might not be the most glamorous topic in business, but the right bookkeeping procedures can often be the difference between coming out on top and going under. Track your cash carefully, monitor your expenses, and don’t be afraid to ask a CPA for help. It’s okay to take out a business loan if you think it will help you get on your feet much faster, but make sure to keep track of your liabilities.

In Summary

Launching a social media consulting business isn’t the most complicated project in the world, but you’re definitely going to need to put some work in if you want to succeed. The demand for these services, however, isn’t even close to drying up any time soon, so there’s no telling just how far you can go.