Many people are unsure if consulting is a good move for them to make. Fears around security, being able to sell and market themselves, the need to work alone and be solely responsible for their own financial success. You may have some or all of these concerns.
Let’s start by having a look at the three basic options to make a living.
- Having a job (working for someone else)
Having a job is the traditional “safe” approach. For many people it is still the best approach after all, if you’re not actually that good at what you do then it’s a lot easier to hide in a big company surrounded by other people who all have a part to play in your success (or failure).
If however you are really good at what you do then having a job can be frustrating and limit your freedom, creativity and earning potential.
What are the important areas for you?
Control of time
As an employee or a contractor you will have little control and will, in the most part, have to fit in with the professional working day’. As a consultant you be able to choose when you work..
Control over what you work on
As an employee there will be little choice over what you work on. You could potentially shape this by being selective about the job you accepted but it would still be down to what the company you work for wanted done.
As a contractor you may have slightly more choice as you could specialise in the areas that interest you the most however there would still be a lot of specific direction set by who you contract with.
The need to sell and market yourself
There is very little need to do this (with the exception of the actual job seeking process) if you decided to stay as an employee.
As a contractor you would need to do more of this but most contractors get their work through agencies so it would not be a massive requirement.
If you went the consultant route you will need to do a lot of this, developing strategies to get your business recognised, attract leads and turn them into paying clients.
Potential for higher income
Remaining as an employee offers the least opportunity, Contracting will certainly offer better potential but consulting is far and away the best opportunity to earn big money.
Many people who are employees enjoy a wealth of company benefits (health insurance, company cars etc.) As a contractor or consultant the benefits will be next to none.
As an employee, particularly if you been employed by the same company for a number of years, you have a degree of job security and, even if your job is cut you may be entitled to redundancy payments. As a contractor or consultant you will have no such security.
While you have some job security as an employee your career is in the hands of other people. If your employers company merged with another, or if they suffered some other kind of major financial issue, you could find himself with no income. If you have your own consulting business you can arrange that your business was not linked to a single company and therefore you are in more in control over your overall career.