Consultants may face an uncertain future at the end of a project if another project is not immediately available. Long working hours can be the norm, especially if you're trying to impress a new client. Millions of professionals from all sectors are now embracing independent lifestyles. Many consultants are now quitting their corporate jobs to work as independent consultants.
It's not uncommon to see LinkedIn profiles with headlines like “ex-BCG”, “ex-McKinsey”, etc. So, is it that easy to quit your job and become an independent consultant? One of the biggest benefits of being an independent consultant is flexibility. Working in management consulting as an employee can be a bit chaotic at times. Employees may have to work long hours and travel quite often.
However, as an independent consultant, you can choose your own schedules, projects and location. When you work as an employee in a large management consulting firm or in any other consulting field, things can become very bureaucratic and competitive. Not only do you have to be great at what you do, but you'll also have to keep your elders happy. You may be able to avoid all of this and focus solely on consulting if you become an independent consultant.
Therefore, if you want to take on more responsibilities early in your career, you should work as a freelancer. Becoming a freelancer means you'll have lots of new experiences with a variety of businesses. Every freelance job and every client will bring exciting experiences. Often, working at the same company as an employee consultant results in a Monday through Friday routine that lasts for years.
But it's very unlikely to happen if you work on your own terms as a freelancer. So, if you want to experience new things quite often in your career, you should definitely consider becoming an independent consultant. As an employee, the results you produce for customers are the company's results, not your own. This means that there is hardly any room to create a personal brand and let the world know who you are.
But as an independent consultant, you can freely promote your own brand and position yourself as an expert in your field. Many consultants who have worked as employees in large management consulting firms are now becoming independent and promoting their own brands. Maybe you should get on the train too. As an employee, one thing is certain: you'll always have some work to do while you're employed.
But as an independent consultant, you'll have to find new projects and close clients yourself. Constantly on the hunt for the next project can be exciting at times, but it can also be tiring at other times. If, as a consultant, you are employed by a large consulting firm, you could get some benefits, such as paid sick leave, a business vehicle and tools of the trade, to name a few. However, as a self-employed person, you are your own boss and responsible for everything that happens in your independent business.
If you feel like taking time off, you'll have to do so knowing that you won't be paid for that period of time. And if you don't feel well and need to rest a bit, you may have to explain it to your clients and let them know that there may be a delay in completing the project. Get your own equipment and think of it as a one-time investment that will pay for itself over time. In addition, make sure you have the right insurance and take care of your physical and mental well-being, something you should do even if you are an employee and not an independent professional.
As mentioned above, when you're an employee, you'll always have tasks on your to-do list for the duration of your employment. You're also likely to do a specific type of work every day for 8 hours. However, things may not be the same as those of an independent consultant. You may have busy periods where you will have a lot of work and slow periods where you may feel guilty for not being productive enough.
There may be a few months during which you can earn thousands of dollars, and then there may be a few months without any income. Change the way you think and focus on your annual productivity as an independent consultant, not monthly or weekly. For example, if you earn a year's income working just 8 months as an independent consultant, it's okay if you don't actively work on projects for 4 months a year. Take this time off to relax without feeling guilty and to learn new skills that increase your value as a consultant.
You can also focus on content marketing during periods of low activity and publish informative articles and videos on social media to attract new customers. Once again, being in the talent pool of an online consulting platform helps. These platforms can turn your slow period into a busy period with just a few phone calls. If you are an independent consultant who wants to find interesting new projects, contact us now.
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Now, the last disadvantage that I will point out here is the fact that, for many larger consulting firms, the pace of progress is very slow. You must demonstrate a certain period of tenure before you can move up within the organization. In fact, I became very impatient, especially when I was in my early twenties or twenties, early in my career, when I felt that I could do much more than what I was allowed to do in one of the big consulting firms. It's not because consultants don't know how to implement technology either, but because there are internal political struggles and an unhealthy culture.
While Fridays can be a little more relaxed because you're not on site, they can often be one of the most important days of the week as you consolidate work and prepare for the following week. I found a job at Price Waterhouse after finishing graduate school, and as it turned out, I really liked consulting. Ultimately, consultants act as advisors, since they participate in decision-making, but they are not responsible for making the final decisions or acting accordingly. For consultants, the heating is always on, so, as the old saying goes, if you can't stand it, you better get out of the kitchen.
The challenge, of course, is that if you don't have consulting experience, it's going to be more difficult to get a job at one of those firms. The phased review process also increases pressure on consultants to perform well, even when the project is excessive in scope, the data is unreliable, or the client keeps changing their mind. If you truly value lifestyle balance, or work-life balance, more than professional exposure and long-term growth potential, then consulting isn't the best option for you. No job is completely stress-free, but consultants can feel the pressure more than other professions.
New businesses are opening up all the time (more than a million a year, according to the SBA), and everyone is looking for help to establish themselves. Being at the cutting edge of technology and understanding how technology works in complex organizations is very important to grow as an effective consultant. However, that average is for all consultants in a wide variety of specialties, from IT to marketing to management. .