Oh twentyten's response made me think. You might find a business coach a worthwhile investment. I had a business idea for a couple of years that occasionally I'd mull over and talk about doing but never really got off the ground. Then a friend of a friend offered me a couple of free sessions (which I continued on a paid basis afterwards). Five months later my business is up and running!
The reasons why business coaching worked for me was that she asked me pertinent questions that I hadn't considered (or was avoiding!) which helped me to consider different solutions. I also liked the structure of regular weekly calls with agreed homework tasks which kept the momentum going.
I know that money is tight when you're trying to set up a business/consultancy, but some investments can more than pay back their outlay in the long run.
Totally support all the advice here-Linkedin is a great place to start. Make a list of 10 people from your old world who can offer you advice/get you back into the loop. Get back in your business clothes and go and see them.Ask their advice. Look at local network /business meetings-often ones for women are good just to get you tuned back in.See what events are on locally-business link/local university. Lots of advice available for women returners- there are lots of coaching websites. What about offering to do some pro bono work for a charity? When things were very quiet for me I contacted the chief exec of a local charity and did some great consultancy work with his team- great cionfidence boost and has been very useful. Good luck!
personally I'd say LONG BEFORE a website that will be largely invisible on google for the first year, use LInkedin connect to all your former colleagues and contacts regularly update your status with what you want to do join groups on there and participate as personal connections allow you to screen clients as well as them to check you out.
I agree - for me a website is a key business tool. You don't have to spend a lot on one, or can even create a simple one yourself. I have won lots of contracts because people were able to read more about me and and my skills/experience on my website. It also makes you look more professional, which is reassuring for a potential client.
I get most of my work now from referrals and word of mouth, so I also agree that approaching people you know/used to work for is a good start. Let as many people as possible know you're available for work.
You need to be clear about your USP - you sound like you have great experience/qualifications so must have plenty to offer businesses. Maybe start making a list of all your skills and what kind of business/person would need them. You may find that some of your skills can be grouped for core offerings. By matching a potential client's needs to your skills you can have a clearer direction of who to approach and how.
I've been a SAHM for a few years now and would ideally like to work as a consultant to small businesses using my process improvement/project management/organisation/admin management skills.
I think that there must be lots of businesses that could benefit from someone like me coming in for a set number of hours or days to review their processes and come up with ideas and a plan for improvements.
I'm confident I can deliver a good service (MBA plus lots of experience) but don't know how to sell my skills and find clients.
Does anyone have experience of this kind of consultancy work that could help me get started?