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Should You Become a New Consultant?

Posted March 13th, 2011 in New Consultant Basics by Lee

Creative Commons License photo credit: SMJJP
new consultant

Ready to be a new consultant?

I frequently get asked the question, “Should I become a new consultant?” That’s a question only you can answer, of course, but I think the question to really start with is WHY should you become a new consultant?

People take on a new consulting role or open a new consulting business for a number of personal and professional reasons. And the decision to make this kind of career move should never be made lightly!

Challenges of being a new consultant

As a consultant, you’re saying goodbye to a regular paycheck, the chance for benefits such as healthcare or company-sponsored retirement account. You may even be giving up regular work hours and the predictability that comes from having a daily and weekly routine you can always count on.

Advantages of being a new consultant

On the other hand your new consulting role can provide you with a lot of benefits.  Although the lack of predictability can be a negative, it is that lack of predictability that attracts so many people to a new consulting role!  Being a new consultant means you’re your own boss.  You are in control of your schedule, the type and amount of work you do and often the deadlines associated with that work.  You choose to pursue particular clients or projects.  You will manage your own time and track your own success. As a new consultant, you  no longer have someone else telling you to work 9 to 5, to punch a time clock, or to do the same (boring!) work day-in and day-out.  If you like variety and taking responsibility for your own success, then a consulting role may be just the thing for you!

How do you know if consulting is right for you?

To help figure out if consulting is for you, ask yourself the following questions–Do you: 

  1. Feel stifled by predictability stifles them and thrive on new challenges?
  2. Love the challenge of surviving by your own wits and skills?
  3. Want – even need – the chance to work your own hours and be your own boss?
  4. Need or desire for a flexible schedule, that you can adjust as needed?
  5. Have an entrepreneurial spirit but lack the funds usually demanded of many start-up and franchise businesses?
  6. Want to have your success, recognition and rewards tied to your work, efforts,  and contributions?
  7. Desire to have greater financial independence?
  8. Thrive on meeting new people and engaging directly with them to meet a need or find solutions to problems?
  9. Need to be more autonomous, to set your own sails and steer your own course?
  10. Have a strong desire to provide a meaningful service to others, and to be recognized for this service?

If you answer yes to these questions, then consulting may be the right step for you. The risks can be greater than when you work for somebody else, but the potential rewards are much greater too! But before you jump into consulting, it’s worth taking the time to really examine what it is about consulting that draws you, and precisely what it is you hope to accomplish – for yourself and others – by taking on the role of a new consultant.

Good luck on your new consultant journey!