Pros And Cons To Becoming A Consultant

I get at least a dozen e-mails each month from people asking for my advice on whether they should become a consultant. Becoming a consultant isn't as easy as it sounds. Or, should I say, while it's easy to call yourself a consultant, the likelyhood of you becoming a successful consultant is not that great. There are definite perceived pros and cons to becoming a consultant (watch the video above where we highlight how consultants are viewed these days.) Now, even though the statistics indicate many will fail at becoming a consultant, my response to these folks is always, “Yes." I actually think everyone should try at least once in their career to be a consultant. Why? It shows you have just what it takes to run a business - a business-of-one to be exact. And, I think it's a must-do these days since, in reality, we are all businesses-of-one. Gone are the days where we work for a company for 20 years, get a gold watch and a retirement package. Today, EVERY job is temporary. Which means, your current employer is your client - and they could drop you at any time. So, when we decide to take control and determine our expertise and how we could use it towards becoming a consultant, we also start to recognize how to manage our careers like a business. And that is one of the most valuable things you can do to stay employable today. Does that mean you should quit your day job and become a consultant immediately? Not at all! Instead, you need to plan carefully and follow six steps to becoming a consultant. Becoming a consultant (or at least trying to become one) has enormous upside. And, if you do it carefully, you can minimize the risk and improve the rewards!

Your Turn

Have you every tried becoming a consultant? What's your greatest fear about becoming a consultant? If you could consult on a part-time basis and keep your day job, what would you consult on? Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Get Some Leverage
Sign up for The Work It Daily Newsletter
Weird Advice For Young Designers

I recently worked on a pro bono project for a friend, and it reminded me of a time early in my career and how lucky I was then to get such great advice from the more seasoned pros around me. Advice that ultimately saved me from some major pitfalls. I made mistakes here and there over the course of nearly 20 years of projects, but with each hiccup came a lesson. Here are some takeaways from my lessons learned and all that sage advice.

Read moreShow less