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What Is a Creative Consultant and What Do They Do?

Becky BenshoofBecky Benshoof
Becky Benshoof
Becky Benshoof

What is a Creative Consultant?

The term creative consultant is pretty broad. It can mean different things across various industries. In general, creative consultants are often contractors who are hired by companies to improve an area of concern from branding, marketing campaigns, business plans, projects, products, or services. They also offer creative input in their area of expertise.

While the term can be used in conjunction with specific services like writing, presentation development, or design work, creative consultants often provide a combination of project management and training to their clients. They usually help businesses define issues, identify opportunities, and create or improve new products or services by finding innovative solutions.

Creative consultants can work across many industries including but not limited to graphic or web design, industrial design, interior design, fashion and beauty, marketing and advertising, the entertainment industry, or general corporate consulting. 

For example, a creative consultant can offer branding and web design services to businesses or they can be hired by a production company to improve a screenplay. They can also work as independent contractors or with larger agencies.

What skills do Creative Consultants need?

A formal degree is not always required but creative consultants often have an academic degree or professional background in one of the following areas: design, marketing, communications, art, or creative writing.

Depending on their area of focus creative consultants may also need experience with design software like Photoshop or Illustrator.

Since creative consultants work with different clients as contractors they also usually need the following skills:

  • Excellent collaborative and communication skills
  • Great at finding creative solutions, pitching ideas, and submitting proposals 
  • Conduct research and identify problems
  • Great time management skills and the ability to meet deadlines

How do you become a Creative Consultant?

If a career as a creative consultant sounds like it’s the right fit for you. Here’s how you can get started:

1. Develop the foundation of your business 

Make sure you have a clear idea of your mission. Some questions to ask yourself when developing this are:

  • What is your niche and area of expertise? 
  • Where do your interests and skills align?
  • Who are your ideal clients? 
  • What are your client’s pain points and how can your skills benefit them?
  • What problems are your solving for your clients?
  • What sets you apart from others in your industry?

Once you have the purpose of your business flushed out, you’ll then want to create a website as a marketing tool where you can effectively tell your story. On your website you’ll establish your services, pricing and put together a portfolio of your work.

2. Get the word out

Once you have the foundation of your business established you’ll want to start spreading the word.

Start with your current network including friends, family, and former colleagues. You never know who may need your services or will be able to refer you to potential work.

Use social media - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn - to connect with others in your industry. On these platforms, you can start making connections, building relationships, and learn about job opportunities.

Check out job boards like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr to get some experience under your belt.

Read more about getting started and tips for beginners.
Interested in hearing from a range of creative consultants? Check out stories from our This Freelancer Life Series.

Becky Benshoof
Nikki Wisher has been writing professionally since January 2015, and she's written about just about everything from plastic surgery to accounting. She took the plunge into full-time freelancing in July 2018 and she hasn't looked back since. As much as Nikki loves hopping from one topic to another throughout the day, her top specialties include health and wellness, marketing, home decor, and career development (especially for freelancers and entrepreneurs). Originally from Ohio, Nikki lives in Atlanta with her husband and their two floofy cats. When she steps away from the keyboard, Nikki loves knitting, crocheting, hiking, and enjoying her adopted city.

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