I’ve noticed more and more sports science students are asking questions about setting up their own consultancy. Here’s some of the common questions they ask and some answers;

How much does it cost?

Setting up as a sole trader costs about £12 online*, but you can start charging before that up to £1,000 in a tax year.

What do you need to get started?

You just need;

  • A national insurance number
  • Keep a business record (what you pay out and what you earn) and expenses
  • Register for self-assessment to pay taxes

What shall I call my consultancy?

You have to name your consultancy. You can’t register as a sole-trader without a business name. The two main approaches are;

  • Use your name as THE name, e.g. “Steve Ingham Consulting”. It’s better to use both names as this identifies you easily, e.g. “Steve’s Services” – that’s daft (and maybe a bit weird).
  • Use a brand or concept name, e.g. “Perform-Hero” – that creates an image in someone’s mind or something vague, e.g. “Striver”

There are strengths and weaknesses (which we explore in our Setting up your own Consultancy course) to each approach but the main thing to remember is not to overly concern yourself with this and that you can change it later down the line if you want to

Some exceptions;

  • You can’t use the word ‘Limited’
  • You can’t use something offensive as the title

What shall I sell?

The million (or hundred) dollar question. Here are some suggestions;

  • Coaching! The simplest easiest thing you can offer is your advice and time. You need some years on the clock for this to be credible
  • Your services. Data analysis, nutrition support, training advice, mental skills, lifestyle support, etc. Simplify your offer so that you don’t need a multi-million dollar facility behind you or even a pair of skinfold callipers to start with. Offer your consulting support with recommendations over an ongoing period.

Any other investments I should think about?

If you want to set up as an independent practitioner, supporting athletes and coaches but not working for a team or institute, I’d recommend setting aside some budget for the following to set yourself up well;

  • Professional Indemnity Insurance. Towergate are great, but there are many others who will provide you with cover
  • Professional body registration. UKSCA, BASES, SENr, ESSA, ACSM, NSCA, BPS. Some are mandatory, others are discretionary. I’d recommend this investment for CPD, peer support and networking and quality assurance of your practice.
  • Some professional development. Independent practitioners can be isolated. Listening to podcasts or reading the literature is all very well but, setting aside some money to invest in skill development is important
  • (Possibly) An accountant. If you don’t want to concern yourself with the fiddly nature of tax returns – pay a professional to do it for you.

Best of luck starting up your own gig!

I hope you found this useful. If you are interested in learning more about setting up your own consultancy then take a look at our course that expands on all of the points above and walks you through each step

Modules Of The Course

Employed or self-employed

Components of a business

Establishing a business

Essential investments

Naming your business

Creating your offer

Setting up your website

Selling, pricing and getting paid