Internet consultants help clients use the Internet. They introduce clients
to the Internet and show them how they can use this technology to improve
their profits, sell more goods, or service their customers better. These consultants
may also train a customer's employees how to use e-mail and other software.
"Lots of our clients don't have a clue about the Internet, and come to
us to get on it," adds David Hughes, a consultant in Texas.
A consultant has to match the client's needs with the technology. Some
companies may need simple Internet services, while others might need more
complex ones. "I focus on down-to-earth tools that a company can use to harness
the power of the global connectivity the Internet provides and use it for
their benefit," says consultant Russ Littau.
Some Internet consultants combine their technological knowledge with specific
business skills. For instance, besides just showing a client how to set up
a website, a consultant may also show the client how to use the Internet to
expand business or find new buyers for their product. "I offer companies assistance
in finding export markets as well as offshore suppliers for their raw materials,"
Some Internet consultants not only advise, but also design and manage websites.
"We design web pages and develop the programs behind the site," says Internet
consultant Annie Yam.
Internet consultants can work in an office setting or they can work out
of their home. Because of the nature of the Internet, they can attract clients
from around the world. "We get business from practically every country," says
Hughes. This also means they have competition around the world.
Internet consultants on contract can work as little or as much as they
like. Small consulting firms will often work extra hours in order to drum
up business or meet deadlines. "I've never worked 9 to 5," says Hughes, who
usually puts in a 10- or 11-hour day. More established businesses operate
on regular business hours.
Internet consultants work in clean, well-lit offices. However, because
they work at a computer station all day they're susceptible to a few injuries,
including repetitive strain injury and eye fatigue. In order to prevent this,
they take frequent breaks from their work.
Consulting isn't physically demanding. "The corporate value of the global
economy is making an exodus from the power of our muscles to the power of
our minds," says Littau. "With new breakthroughs in computer hardware, it
will soon be possible for individuals to interact with a computer no matter
what their physical limitations might be."
The Internet is always changing, with new looks and new "killer apps."
Consultants have to be prepared to keep up with all this change, or else they're
not going to be very good consultants. "Bringing the Internet to people means
that it's not a job, but a way of life," says Littau. "The only way to maintain
an advantage is to be constantly learning....You've got to be on the look
out for promising new technologies, business and social trends, [and] new
ways of accomplishing old tasks."
Even though this is a computer job, consultants have to be able to deal
with people. "This is such a fast-paced industry that often we need to be
the technical supporter," says Yam. "We desperately need good communication
skills to help clients."
Advise clients on the best way to profit from the Internet