How to Start a Viral Marketing Consulting Business

Business consultants provide necessary services to startups, entrepreneurs, and even

established businesses when called upon. Marketing can be a tough thing to get off the ground for many businesses, and viral marketing is a quick and effective way to increase your short-term gains and encourage customers to keep coming back. Viral marketing consulting companies specialize in doing just that and typically have other viral campaigns to draw knowledge from. 

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Learn how to start your own Viral Marketing Consulting Business and whether it is the right fit for you.


Start a viral marketing consulting business by following these 9 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your viral marketing consulting business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What are the costs involved in opening a viral marketing consulting business?

Costs can vary, but there are certain ways you can cut costs when starting out with your new business. Will you start out of your home office, or will you rent a small space to do your business in? Working out of your home can be cost-effective, but working out of an office space may make your business appear more legitimate, especially if you want to meet clients in person. Office utilities, insurance, and rent, as well as the taxes of your local area, will be your major costs. Computers and software pertinent to your business can also be something you need to purchase upfront if you don’t already have them.


Startup costs can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $10,000. Exceeding $10,000 may be difficult unless you have many consultants lined up to work for you.

What are the ongoing expenses for a viral marketing consulting business?

Having a large portfolio of past campaigns can help get your name out there early on. Generally, directly marketing yourself to companies in need of your services will be the most effective form of marketing. 

Any professional consultant should have an effective business card that allows you to market yourself at networking and business events. 

You also have the possibility of hiring another company to do your marketing, while expensive it may free you up for more projects.

Who is the target market?

Smaller companies may be easier to serve but can often be less profitable. Creating relationships with larger companies may have the potential to lead to multiple jobs from the same client, which can help secure your business’s revenue for years to come. Clients that have not done marketing campaigns before may be harder to work with than companies that have an established brand that you can expand through viral marketing.

How does a viral marketing consulting business make money?

Viral marketing consulting businesses make money by charging a flat rate for campaigns, advice, or other planning-based services. You can also charge clients an hourly rate or, for ongoing projects, a revenue-share fee.

How much can you charge customers?

What you can expect to charge clients will vary depending on the resources you need to allocate to each project. Depending on who works for you and your experience in the industry, you will generally be able to charge larger rates the longer you have been in business and the larger your portfolio. Typically you can charge between $600 to $1,200 per hour if you are working directly with clients. Managers or younger consultants working with you will be able to charge around $400 to $900 per hour. Many Pre-MBA Consultants can charge upwards of $250 per hour.

Charging clients a percentage of revenue or sales can also make sense when dealing with larger companies. 10% to 20% is not unheard of, though anything larger would be outrageous. 

Keep in mind that many clients may also pay for your travel expenses and other services out of pocket.

How much profit can a viral marketing consulting business make?

Profit margins for consulting businesses typically remain high if you have fewer members in your company. Typically, you can expect between 10% to 12% during a typical business year. 

How can you make your business more profitable?

 Having successful campaigns that resonate with your target audience is essential, as you may become known based on your campaigns instead of your company. Exploring what your competitors are doing successfully may also help you get an edge. 

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.

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After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your viral marketing consulting business is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can start an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

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You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.

Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.

Small Business Taxes

Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).

You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
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Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Learn more about General Liability Insurance.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

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How to promote & market a viral marketing consulting business

Having a large portfolio of past campaigns can help get your name out there early on. Generally, directly marketing yourself to companies in need of your services will be the most effective form of marketing. 

Any professional consultant should have an effective business card that allows you to market yourself at networking and business events. 

You also have the possibility of hiring another company to do your marketing, while expensive it may free you up for more projects.

How to keep customers coming back

Retaining customers is key to securing a steady stream of revenue, but repeat customers may be hard to come by for a viral marketing business. Due to the nature of your business, getting jobs within larger companies with multiple brands is important. Specializing may also allow you to become an industry leader, and after a couple of campaigns, your brand will become well known within that industry. 

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.

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Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

Start A Viral Marketing Consulting Business In Your State

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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Is this Business Right For You?

Viral marketing consulting lends itself to energetic go-getters who can surround themselves with other like-minded individuals. Viral marketing often requires lots of planning initially, but often requires quick thinking when it comes to executing the plan. Having some managerial skills, experience with youtube, understanding social media trends, and having a knack for what businesses need from their marketing are all important skills you should possess or be working towards if you want to be successful.

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Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

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What happens during a typical day at a viral marketing consulting business?

Typical days will vary depending on the ongoing projects you are working on, but activities can include: meeting with clients (either in person or via video conferencing), giving presentations, and recommendations to your clients. Much of your time will be spent planning the next big viral event, video, or marketing push. Planning and scheduling is an important part of any successful consulting business but especially when it comes to marketing. Launching the right campaign at the right time can be the difference between a big hit and a dud. 

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful viral marketing consulting business?

Any business consultant should have some level of experience in the industry they are trying to tackle — in this case, that industry is marketing. Having a marketing degree, years of experience working for another company, and a portfolio of successful marketing campaigns will help you on your entrepreneurial journey. Other skills or job experience can also provide you with insider knowledge when dealing with clients in these industries. If you look at Upworks Top Viral Marketers in the United States, you can get a clear understanding of just how specialized some consults are. 

Things like Healthcare, Insurance, Credit Cards, Pharmaceuticals, and other heavily regulated industries may have specific rules and regulations when it comes to marketing and advertising, thus having a background in one of these fields can be a powerful asset when it comes to helping clients in these fields.

What is the growth potential for a viral marketing consulting business?

Many consulting firms start small, with either one or two people helping a small list of clients or one or two big clients. Generally, you will be limited by the size of your company, and since viral marketing requires a specific set of knowledge and experience, it can be difficult to find others who can fill the roles you will need. The growth of your company will generally be to free you or the other experienced consultants from doing things like bookkeeping, human resources, and other support staff roles, allowing you to spend more time with your clients and less time running the business.


Sometimes after several years, the business owner may transition into a more managerial role once several experienced consultants are hired. 


If you want growth, networking to find like-minded people will be a key skill.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a viral marketing consulting business?

Many consulting businesses look for “anchor clients.” Anchor clients are clients that are large enough to support your business with a significant chunk of revenue. Whether through large and expensive campaigns or multiple projects spread across several quarters, anchor clients can provide a stable source of revenue. 


Leveraging your experience from before you started your business will also be critical. By having a list of potential clients from your previous work, you can get your start based on recommendations and then expand from there. For example, if you worked in the accounting sector you should have numerous resources and connections to draw from when considering the needs of your clients within that sector.

How and when to build a team

When the number of clients or the scope of your clients’ projects becomes too much for you to handle, you need to assemble a team. As your company grows, you may find yourself managing other consultants rather than working with clients directly. You may find yourself in need of a manager if you wish to continue working face to face with clients. 


Always remember that you can stay small if you wish to do so. Many consulting companies never grow beyond their initial founding members.

Next Steps

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