1. As A Professional Consultant You Can Choose What Work You Do
Becoming a professional consultant provides you with choice about what work to do and not do. You don’t have to keep doing work you don’t enjoy. You can focus in on more interesting and personally rewarding work.
If you’re still working for an employer you can usually specialise in a field that plays to your strengths. And if you reach the point where you outgrow your current job, you can pursue new opportunities either as an employed consultant or start up on your own.
When you work for yourself you can enjoy so much more freedom. If you don’t like jobs that clients offer you simply say, “Sorry, I don’t do that type of work.” You can pick and choose. You may say, “I can do A, B and C, but not D or E.” Now, if you’re able to recommend someone else who can do ‘D and E’, or you can agree to do it and then sub-contract it out, your customer will usually be very appreciative.
Becoming a professional consultant can give you the opportunity to focus on work which helps to develop your skills. This suits those who enjoy a fresh challenge and view consulting work as a form of self-expression.
Alternatively, you could choose to offer just one service so you can avoid having to learn lots of new technology or keep up with the latest trends. This frees up your mind and time for other things you are more interested in.
You could use professional consulting as a way to develop new skills or start an entirely new career. Most employers demand years of proven experience in an area before they would think of employing you. As a consultant, there are ways you can start from scratch and learn as you go. Sure, there may be a few challenges when you first start out – but it’s possible.
2. You Can Choose Who You Work With When You Become A Professional Consultant
Assuming you choose to start your own professional consulting business, you will have no boss to answer to. You are the boss! You never have to answer to anyone else for the rest of your life. You can take time off when you want and you don’t have to strive to hit unreasonable targets in the hope that you might be given a 2% pay rise.
Not only can you eradicate your boss, you can also dispense with unpleasant colleagues. You can escape from dealing with office politics, power struggles and favouritism. You can put an end to the psychological clutter that others create and enjoy a more peaceful life. You choose where you work and who you work with.
Have you ever put up with complaining customers? You don’t have to any more. You can now choose your customers too! If you don’t want to work with certain customers or industry sectors, simple, you don’t.
The people you spend time with significantly affect your life. Becoming a professional consultant gives you the opportunity to choose who you spend your time with. If I’d seriously thought about that when I was younger I might have become a consultant sooner than I did.
3. You Can Fit Your Work Around Your Family Or Lifestyle As A Professional Consultant
For some, working a steady 9-to-5 job five days each week just doesn’t fit, especially if you have other priorities in life.
Some people start their consulting business when they start families so they can fit work around their young children. When they’re very small they may do work in short bursts when the children are asleep or at nursery. As they grow, many fit work into the time between school runs.
I’ve also met some who have chosen a home-based self-employed route because it enables them to care for and support aging parents or other relatives. Self-employed consulting can give you the flexibility to be available to those you love at a time in life when they need you most.
You can also choose a work-life balance and work patterns to fit your preferred lifestyle. Why not take an afternoon off to go to the beach when it’s sunny, go skiing when the snow’s good, or be there when your children take part in school sports days?
Some consultants choose seasonal work patterns, doing most of their work in winter and freeing up time for more holidays in summer. It’s possible to build a business around your chosen lifestyle; you don’t have to fit life around the demands of your work.
4. You Can Make More Money As A Professional Consultant
Consultancy is known for being well-paid. Even consultants who work for large consultancy firms earn a higher than average salary.
Self-employed consultants often charge a ‘day rate’ for their services. This can range from a few hundred pounds (or dollars) per day to a few thousand. By landing a good project some consultants can earn as much in a month as most people do in a year.
Then there are some consultants who choose to only work ‘part-time’. Popular reasons for doing so include:
- To ‘test’ out their business idea before committing to it full-time.
- To be available to care for children or relatives.
- To top up retirement income or stay active by continuing to do work they enjoy.
When you approach it right, you can earn more by going self-employed than you ever would if you remained as an employee. You can then buy not just the things you need but also the things you want in life.
5. You Take Control Of Your Future As A Professional Consultant
By becoming a professional consultant you’re saying “I’m taking control of my future”. You’ll be developing highly valued and sought-after skills. Your destiny won’t be dependent upon just one employer.
You’ll feel empowered as you make decisions and set your own course in life. This is a big enough reason for some all by itself. If you like the freedom and autonomy to make your own decisions then you need to think seriously about this.
Contrary to what some people think, becoming a self-employed consultant can provide you with more ‘job security’. No-one can fire you. No-one can downsize you or make you redundant. No-one can force you to relocate to another part of the country. Remember, you’re the boss.
As a self-employed consultant you’re normally able to respond more quickly to market changes than larger companies. If you spot an opportunity or want to change track and take your business in a new direction you can – instantly. You don’t have to ask permission or complete a corporate business plan and wait for a committee to meet. Instead, you just get on and do it.
I’ve just given you five good reasons for becoming a professional consultant – but there are more. You can choose what work you want to do, who to work with and when to work. You can also make more money and take back control of your future.
Some of these reasons will be more appealing than others. However, you only need one good reason to make the jump and start your new consulting career now. Which one appeals to you most?
If you’re still thinking about professional consulting I’d encourage you to invest time in research. Dig a little deeper and learn more. See how it can work out for you. Why not read the next blog post in this series which answers the following question: “Is Now A Good Time To Become A Professional Consultant?”