Working for yourself and being your own boss can be extremely empowering and fulfilling. However, for some, it can be the total opposite – a completely daunting experience.
Not everyone wants to be a boss or run their own company and that is perfectly fine. The thought of having to manage people, be responsible for a company, operations, service delivery, human resources, finances etc. is no easy task and not for the faint-hearted.
On the flip side, working in a 9-5 (more like 9-6 these days) can also be a living night day-mare for many, it can be rigid, time-consuming and if you’re not happy doing it, a disappointing and miserable day-to-day encounter.
That’s why, consulting, in my opinion, offers the perfect middle ground. You are essentially working for yourself and registered as self-employed. You can choose to set up as a sole trader or a Limited Company you’ll still have the responsibility of managing some business tasks but on a much smaller scale. You can always elect to outsource business processes such as accounting and hire a virtual assistant.
Working as a consultant in the field you specialise in, means you can choose when and where you work. You can opt to work independently, in collaboration with others or decide to scale up and delegate to your own team of consultants. The decision is entirely up to you. It really comes down to how much responsibility you want to take on.
If you are a parent, this can be a welcome breath of fresh air: you are able to work around your children’s school holidays and enjoy more family time. You don’t have to constantly be rushing from pillar to post and everywhere else in between. You can also kiss goodbye to that horrible feeling of guilt when you have to stay late at work or miss a childhood milestone.
You don’t have to work every day. You can elect not to work on Mondays or Fridays. Sometimes, you’ll find you are working long hours and other times just a couple of hours. The main take-home point is that it’s on your own terms. You are responsible for managing your workload and for the time spent on projects, so you can work any hours you feel providing you get the job done.
You can efficiently plan your workload so that you have more time to spend with your loved ones. It’s basically up to you and allows you to take back control of your life. You don’t have to wait for your manager or supervisor to sign-off your annual leave and you are not limited to 25 days holiday a year. There are no constraints on your work location, consulting allows you to create the life you want and work from anywhere in the world from your laptop, depending on the type of consulting service you offer. I know of many consultants that split their time between the UK and overseas and love it.
Another bonus with consulting is you have unlimited earning potential. Think about it – in a full-time job, you have a set salary, but as a consultant, your earning potential is truly un-capped because you can work with a number of clients, which means more than one stream of income! You are also responsible for how much you get paid as you get to set your fees.
Naturally, you have to be sensible – you want to ensure you are providing a quality, competitively priced service and getting the job done.
Becoming a consultant gives you independence as it allows you to work with various clients in a way that suits your lifestyle. To be a successful consultant, you need to be determined, diligent, hard-working and passionate. Consulting is work, you have to find clients, manage your own time, set your fees, chase up on invoices etc. However, the key difference is you are using your expert knowledge in a way that works for your life.
Is consulting for you?
If you are happy in your 9-5 job, consultancy might not be for you. But, if you want the freedom to work with clients when you want to, take a holiday when you feel like it, spend quality time with your loved ones and earn well whilst doing so, it’s definitely a path to consider.
Ebony Gayle is the author of ‘How To Become A Consultant; A Guide To Free Yourself From The 9-5’ Paperback and eBook available from Amazon