I meet many people today who are using their expertise in a certain area to help others and at the same time creating a business opportunity. Usually these consultants are focused on a particular area that they have exprerience in. I think it's a great time to consider consulting as the job market is not quite back to where everyone hopes it will be.
If you enjoy helping people and your knowledge base is up to snuff then consulting might be for you. Everyone seems to have strengths and experience in many areas but in particular very specialized areas. Classes are always available to fine tune or get up to date information on some lucrative areas that might be considered.
The most important thing is to run your consulting business as a professional organization. For example, have you considered what area you will focus on? Who will be your target market? How much will you charge? Do you need to rent or share office space? Do you need administrative help with billing and answering phones? What type of billing system will you use? What are the needs of your customers and how will you satisfy these needs better and more efficiently than your competition?
If you haven't been on your own before and don't have sales experience, you'll need to learn these skills quickly. Networking and building new business is vital to success as a consultant. Referrals are a great way to bring in new business but differentiating yourself and providing quality and professional work is also key.
What types of networking groups will you join? Will that group provide you as a referral to prospective clients? Social media is a popular way to market your services and it's easy to learn once you get started.