After more than twenty years at Michelin, Muriel Jorigny decided in 2012 to set up as a management consultant. "I wanted to create my business, to no longer be a drop in a large group and be able to manage projects from A to Z." She now supports its customers in their development strategy and prevention risks.

Like her, a number of executives, about forty, think to settle down as consultants, for want of independence, because of unemployment … "But be careful, this is not an El Dorado, warns Elizabeth Vinay, consultant at the Agency for the creation of enterprises (PACE). This job is a dream, but it is sometimes hard to understand the reality. "And Yves Perez, Director of the Institute for the Development of Counseling and Enterprise (IDCE), to push the point:" The first contracts may not be conclude that after six months and it takes about a year to start living on the board. "With nearly 50,000 companies in business, standing out is not easy. To win, you have to respect some golden rules.

Determine your expertise

One of the keys to success is to heal one's position. "To differentiate yourself, target a niche of activity in which you will be unavoidable," recommends

Patrice Stern, professor emeritus and director of the Executive Master Specialized European Business Consulting at ESCP Europe. So, not to be a marketing and communication consultant among many others, Valérie Lebourgeois has used her training as a horticultural engineer and her passion for new technologies: she advises the actors of the plant world (from the florist to the producer through horticultural societies) in their use of new technologies.

To find out where your added value is, nothing better than an introspection and consultation exercise (with your former colleagues, consultants already installed, friends, customers …). Also be attentive to the demands of the market: which are the sectors and companies most likely to benefit from your interventions? Are they easy to approach?

Your offer defined, you still have to implement it. "Few job candidates are aware that they will have to change their posture, notes Patrice Stern. You are no longer in the role of the manager who commands and decides, but in that of the counselor who guides and accompanies. Humility and listening become your watchwords. "Some need help with this repositioning work. Training is provided in business schools or engineering, at the IDCE, in the CCI or Afpa or Apec. Another path: to be supervised by professionals (trainers, coaches or consultants) to learn faster best practices.

Make yourself known

"Prospecting is often the pet peeve of consultants," says Elizabeth Vinay. Either they do not like soliciting or they do not know how to do it. This is a must: at the beginning, 40% of your time will be spent! And it will still be 20% in cruise mode. Because, even on a mission, it is important to prepare the future, otherwise you will have to start from scratch at the end of each contract. "For those who do not have the commercial fiber, an internship of sales techniques can be judicious .