Certain qualities about becoming a consultant are immediately appealing, such as the ability to control your work environment and schedule. Before you take the leap into full time consulting, though, consider the reality of what your new daily life will be like and make sure you’re prepared to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Don’t forget these 4 realities of becoming a consultant.
1. Regular work hours: If you love regular work hours, consulting might not be the career for you. Gone are the days of punching a time clock and counting on regular breaks. In one sense, freelance consulting allows you more freedom to schedule when you work but it also leaves you somewhat at the mercy of clients’ schedules.
2. Steady paycheck: Is a steady paycheck critical to your lifestyle? Most consultants, unless they manage to snag a few retainer contracts, experience periods of feast and famine. Not only must you contend with the irregularity of your work schedule but also will likely find yourself at the mercy of when the client decides to pay invoices.
3. Office manager: Back at your previous job you probably had co-workers to help answer phones and email, make copies, buy supplies, and put together promotional mailings. You might eventually earn enough to hire office help but, for most consultants, it’s a one person operation in the beginning.
4. Internally motivated: Becoming a consultant might not be the best idea in the world if you need threats from another person to get you out of bed in the morning and productively working on the latest project. Making it to your desk at a decent time every day and actually do work is pretty important as a consultant if you want to continue eating. If the constant threat of a boss prodding you along the way is necessary to accomplish anything, we suggest you stay where you are.
The Speaking of Wealth Team
Flickr / Jimmy Benson