It's been suggested to me that I get into consulting and I am interested in the possibility of becoming an independent consultant, but I'm not sure where to start and how I would structure my rates. Most of the people I give professional and business advice to usually happen to be startups, particularly of the social enterprise and nonprofit kind, and individuals who don't have that much money to invest. Is this a valid concern or something that isn't as much of a concern as I'm making it out to be? I'm also not sure how to hone in on my expertise and make it obvious. I would love answers that even address any of those concerns, or if you see something else in my comments that I don't yet. Thanks for your help!
STOP!!! DON'T DO IT. GO GET A REAL JOB!! PLEASE!
You don't plan to be a consultant. You become a consultant because the experience and wisdom you have is so obvious that those around you are eager to pay you for your insight. It's a calling -- not a job.
Giving your "business advice" to a startup is like telling a 2-year-old to go "poo poo in th potty" -- anyone can do it. You just have to be a little bit more sophisticated than a baby.
To service people who have money (and who are serious about how they spend that money) you need to take you game to a whole new level. I suggest you intern or partner with an amazing consultant who does this already. Learn. Do the gritty work that no one else is wiling to do.
Everyone is a coach. Right? Drink a beer on game day and you supposedly know more than than the dude on the sidelines with the clipboard. But is that "really" the case? Of course not...
DON'T BE A COACH. BE A LEADER.