I'm wondering how to best start offering consulting services as a Ph.D. student? In particular, how to think about stating a consulting business while in graduate school.
A potential partner and I have skills that fill a market need. Both of us are adamant about pursuing non-academic work after the Ph.D. We both are wondering, what are we waiting for? In addition, both of us had has smaller consulting opportunities thus far (these fell in our lap), but would be looking to take this to the next level, and essentially replace our research assistantships with this work. Actually, there's no guarantee that either of us will have research assistantships next year, so it might even be a necessity.
Graduate school seems like a great time to start doing this work. Frankly, I'm unsure about how much a Ph.D. would change this opportunity for us down the road.
How would people go about navigating this while in graduate school?
In advance of the "check with your advisor or department" responses I should add two more things.
1) There's nothing in our agreement with the department or student handbook that stipulates that we can't work outside of the department while a student. It's not encouraged when you are getting a research assistantship. This would replace the assistantship.
2) We both don't feel like our advisors are adequately preparing us for non-academic careers (frankly because they have never worked outside of academia) and are fine with what this might mean for those relationships. It's more likely that they would be supportive of us stepping out of the lab and taking an untraditional route to finishing the Ph.D.