The greening of America is underway, and families, businesses and individuals are seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint and live in an environmentally sustainable way. Going green helps the business owner attract an increasing number of similarly-minded customers, and more and more individuals want to go green for the health of their families.
Eco-consultants help people evaluate their lifestyles and living spaces, and advise them on how they can go green. To become an eco-consultant, you’ll need to ask yourself some questions and develop a plan before stepping into this lucrative field.
1. Define your goals and area(s) of expertise. What, specifically, do you want to do with your business? Do you want to advise corporations, families, small businesses, or someone else? Do you prefer to speak with individuals or hold corporate workshops? And where is your greatest interest and knowledge – water conservation? Solar energy? Green building materials and techniques? These are important questions to ask yourself before embarking on your business.
2. Get educated and/or certified. Just loving the planet and being concerned about the environment are not enough to endear you to clients. Consider becoming LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified or continuing your education on eco-friendly living. Being an eco-consultant requires a specific knowledge base.
Do your research so you can speak knowledgably to your clients about all the potential benefits of going green, as well as competent implementation of green lifestyle choices. You’ll also need to have a list of reliable sources and manufacturers of environmentally-friendly building supplies from whom your clients can buy the appropriate materials.
3. Be realistic. While going green is good for the planet, it’s not realistic to expect that your consulting business is going to alleviate global warming and save the environment overnight. And some homes and businesses can’t be 100% green. That’s okay; every step toward going green is a step in the right direction, and as long as you are frank with your clients and heading toward your goals, then you are running a successful business. And your clients will appreciate your honesty.
4. Develop a marketing plan and budget accordingly. Some of the best ways to promote your business are to point out the benefits of green living: it saves money (lower utility bills), it’s healthier, and it increases business. You’ll need to set up a website and print business cards (on recycled paper of course – or better yet, make your own creative cards with scrap paper), and leave your contact information with eco-friendly businesses or public places that might attract potential clients (such as your local health food store or a natural health practitioner’s office).
Paperless promotion is appropriate, too – use the internet to start or join an environmental blog, and consider using social networking to get your name out.
Eco-consulting is a growing field, and as America continues to move in an environmentally-conscious direction, many people are going to need help meeting new environmental regulations and acting on their personal convictions. You can meet a need by providing expert advice and make a living at the same time – everyone wins, including the planet.