You've probably heard someone in real life or on tv say "I'm a consultant" and thought cool, what a vary generic term which probably means you are a drug runner or money launderer. If you ask the person, what do you consult for and they say "various things", then they probably are.
But seriously, what is consulting?
The answer to this question lies in the definition. The following is taken from Oxford Languages.
con·sult·ant 1. a person who provides expert advice professionally.
engaged in the business of giving expert advice to people working in a professional or technical field.
WHO CAN DO CONSULTING?
I know you read the definition above which means literally ANYBODY can become a consultant or start a business consulting.
In order to start consulting you simply have to be knowledgeable about the subject matter. Actually you have probably been consulting on many topics for a decent part of your life.
As anyone asked you for a advice on fixing a car? relationships? grilling? gardening? cleaning?............
Congratulations!! You are a consultant. You just didn't get paid for it and you weren't consulting in a professional capacity.
The difference between consulting and giving advice has to do with the following things.
1. Are you very knowledgable in the subject matter?
2. Is someone paying you for you advice?
If you satisfy the above criteria you are a consultant in the professional sense of the word. It does not matter what you are consulting on. Legal or illegal, consulting is just a blanket term for advice you are being paid to give.
WHO IS GOING TO PAY ME FOR CONSULTING?
Wrong question. The right question is what knowledge do I have and how do I find people who are willing to pay me for that knowledge.
If you start off by believing that there is no one willing to pay you for you knowledge then you are starting off at a loss already. There are people out there who are willing to pay for the knowledge of a variety of things because it SAVES THEM TIME.
By someone consulting with you on a specific topic they are saving themselves the time doing research and the opportunity cost that can be associated with trying and failing.
Remember when it comes to consulting YOU ARE AN EXPERT IN YOUR FIELD.