I have been consulting for the past 2+ years and have found it to be energizing, educational and freeing. I chose it as a way to regroup personally and just needed a new perspective, It turned out that what I got was the chance to work in far more industries than I ever could have working in corporate America. Additionally, I was able to have a portfolio of companies ranging from multi-billion dollar conglomerates, to start-ups in industries ranging from technology, to media, to publishing, to financial services.
There are down sides too. I miss working with a large group of people who are in the thick of it with you day in and day out. People to bounce your ideas off of, people to commiserate with when things aren’t going the way you want and people in general. I a not a lone wolf so that is the challenge for me. Then there is the lack of security, When you wake up each day, it’s up to you to find the work and if you don’t you don’t get paid. For someone like me who is the sole bread earner in the family with a husband and two kids, that can be daunting but it DOES get me moving!
There are many other elements to this but I was having an email conversation with Tom Cunniff and he gave a few really smart bullet points about how to decide if consulting is right for you.
“If you can say yes to the below, you’re ready to consult:
- I am ready to get to know my strengths and weaknesses much more intimately;
- My family and I can live with uncertainty month-to-month (I’d encourage you to put a number on this);
- I am ready to deal without panicking if my core consulting opportunities suddenly vanish or go to hell in a handbasket;
- If it goes well, I will not let it go to my head;
- If it goes badly, I will learn from the experience and not waste energy on woulda/coulda/shoulda”
So, I don’t think I will do this forever, but I don’t know. I DO know that because I do this, I have grown my network 1000 fold, meet with new people every single week and am introduced to new companies almost every day. I respond to every email and phone call and try to meet every person who is interested in doing so because now that I am not a client, I get to decide how to spend every minute of my day and meeting people and learning from them is how I choose to spend my days.
I am interested in what you think and what your experiences are as well.