Jennifer McClure from Fistful of Talent wrote an interesting post on ditching your corporate job to become a recruiter. It made me think that there may be unemployed people right now who are deciding to enter the world of consulting. You know, those who figure that they did ‘insert any job function here’ in Corporate America and now will have Corporate America independently pay them to do ‘insert same job function here.’ You know who you are.
Before abandoning the job search, there are a few things that anyone considering consulting should realize:
- Consulting is not a job, it’s a life. You don’t just stop working at 5 p.m. You will work into the night, on weekends, and holidays. And, when you aren’t finishing a project or providing services to a client, you’ll be working on getting new clients. The phone doesn’t just ring…you have to make it ring.
- You can’t specialize in everything. I’m not saying that you aren’t smart and don’t know your stuff. But you’ll want to be an expert in something. Whatever that is, be the best at it. AND, you’ll not always be the right consultant for a company. Just like when companies hire employees, they look for consultants who are a culture fit. Companies want consultants they can relate to and trust.
- Big companies are not the only people who use consultants. I’m amazed at the consultants I know who only focus on big companies. That’s nice but don’t forget there are a lot of small and medium size companies who are looking for consultants to help them become big companies.
- All of your resources will come from you. If you want a website, health insurance or a fancy office, that all has to be financed by you. I’ve been in business for six years and, to this day, have no stationary. Why? My clients don’t ask me to write letters so why spend the money? I do have an iPhone, however, because my clients want me to be accessible.
- Lastly, being a consultant is not about the money. That’s not to say that you can’t make a good living. But there are things far more important than money – like your reputation and your time. Think about that.
Consulting is incredibly exciting and rewarding. I have great clients and get involved in interesting projects. But it’s not without challenges. Before you make the leap, take off the rose-colored glasses, open your eyes wide, and be very careful . . . you may just get what you want.