Why be a consultant?

Apr 25, 2010 @ 20:17

There are many reasons why one would want to become a consultant.

Some would love to ditch their corporate jobs and be lured to become self-employed. After being self-employed all of my adult life I would not know what to recommend to those as I do not know any other way. I know that my wife Norma had problems getting adapted to the consultant way, as she had the opposite experience of being employed all of her adult life by banks or investment firm. Being self-employed to her was very traumatic at first, and still is when business slows down. Leaving the security of a good job is very hard to do, especially if you are used to have and count on a regular income. It becomes very difficult to plan things like mortgages and car loans or other regular types of expenses, when you are never sure of exactly of what your income will be next month. For some this is something they cannot live with, and to others like me, it is something so normal that you never really think about it. You just have to be very careful with your expenses and plan your life and budget accordingly. Those who cannot live with that kind of uncertainty should no even think of being a consultant or to be self-employed for that matter.

Other people would love to work at home like a lot of us do. For that too you need to have a certain sense of organization to be able to do it without all the normal distractions around the house preventing you from doing any works. It all depends on how well organized you are and how you can isolate yourself from other things and concentrate on your work. Most people find it difficult at first, but get used to it with time. For those who can’t it might be better to think about working for some consulting firm that will place you at their client’s site.

Others are lured by the large fees that some consultants charge. This might look very tempting at first glance, but when you start analyzing it in depth once you take this high fee, deduct from it your operating expenses, the equipment, tools and software you might need to perform your consulting, publicity, legal and accounting fees, office expenses, and the fact that you are rarely billing the full time you are working each week, you might not be making a huge amount more than you are doing right now at your current job. Add to that all of those other things that you never think of, like the fact that normally when you are on your own you do not have the niceties of things like health and other types of insurance, retirement plans, benefits and more.

Does that mean that you should not become a consultant? Of course not! If you can live with all of the above and more and have the personality to enjoy those kinds of challenges and live your life differently than most of your neighbors and friends, consulting is an immensely rewarding profession that can offer you things that you would never have the chance of experiencing otherwise. I would not even dream of doing something else and if I have not become a consultant so long ago I would never had the life and the experiences I have had. Sure, it can be very hard at times, all the good things in life are hard to achieve, but the rewards are huge for those who like a challenge and can focus to achieve their goals.

Don Luc

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