I love being a consultant. The advantages are freedom, flexibility, control, interesting and engaging work, good pay and sometimes equity. You rarely get caught up in company politics and nearly all of your work is direct value add.
I work when I want, where I want and how I want.
Even before I had kids, freedom and flexibility were important to me. I clearly remember a woman who spoke at my high school for career day. She worked with computers and did it from home even in those days (pre-Internet). Freedom and flexibility were key reasons why I chose to major in Computer Science (along with Music and French). At the time my plan was to live in Aspen, ski all day, and work at night. I always hated cubicles and especially hated sitting in one at 8:00 in the morning.
You know those three day, all day, strategic planning sessions every company seems to have? You spend all day in the sessions and then everyone goes back to their desk with a sandwich to get their “real” work done? You call home and say, “Sorry honey, I’m going to miss bed time tonight.” As a consultant, I don’t usually get invited to those. And if I do, well I’m making my daily rate, so the time doesn’t seem so painful.
If I take on a client who turns out to be a flaming jerk, I don’t have to work with him/her next time around. I don’t say a word to anyone (except maybe the dog) but the next time he/she calls, I can say, “I am so sorry! My capacity is completely filled for the next 18 months!”
I have more client impact.
One thing I profoundly enjoy is having my clients take my advice. They are paying me a healthy rate to be an expert. I remember telling my Dad that I have to be careful about what I tell my clients to do because they usually do it! It is very rewarding to see the impact of my work. Of course, it better be good…
I make more money.
Starting your own consulting business does not mean that you will make less money, in fact I make more. I like to say, “Don’t lean in, walk out! And serve it back to them on a silver platter at twice the price.”
I have the best of both worlds and you can too!
There is nothing special about me. If I can do it, you can do it. When you’re telling people about your services, you are not asking or imposing, you are giving. Imagine if someone like you had come along just when you needed it most? You would have been delighted. If you have something that can help, you owe it to the world to get it out there. Go big or go home!
You deserve it!
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This is the sixth of the Top Seven Things to Know About Starting Your Own Consulting Business. I’ve had my own consulting business for more than 15 years and I love it! In the next post I tell you what I don’t love.