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Ant

What are the necessary steps for opening your own consulting business?

A family member needs some assistance around starting up a consulting business. Wasn't sure of where to start advising here so was wondering if any folks on QnA have tips or information based on personal experiences to share... Does he need to open an LLC? Does he need formal legal contracts to be drawn up by a lawyer? What are the risks and learned lessons I need to warn him about here? Any links or references for more information are truly appreciated!! Thanks!
MaggieD:

This appears to be a great link...appears many of the tools are free: http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/businessideas/startupkit​s/article41384.html It appears to have an "Ask an Entrepreneur" forum as well.
I think your family member should rent a lawyer for an hour or so (haha!) and before the meeting put together a list of questions...some of which he'll already have; some of which he'll develop from friends/family/the website link here/and other websites. An attorney is best to advise him on the LLC...the protections afforded and reasons FOR them vary by state. An umbrella liability policy is advisable and pretty reasonable -- $1 million minimum. I'd advise he bring an accountant into the loop fairly quickly so that he can keep the proper records for the IRS.

Of course it goes without saying that the most important part of his new adventure is getting customers. All of the planning and organization in the world means nothing without those. Every once in a while, an entrepreneur forgets that....gets so wrapped up in the mechanics of starting out that he forgets his very MOST important job is to develop a client base. Hope some of this is helpful. He's about to embark on a very exciting, and most likely rewarding, adventure!!

He's about to

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