Switching from a company employee to a full-time consultant seems like a smart idea nowadays.
More companies are forgoing permanent positions and are instead working with consultants, freelancers, and contractors. There’s also the appeal of being the master of your career, over the long-term and day by day. You gain valuable experiences at different companies, expanding your skill sets and professional networks.
While careers and livelihoods are dependent upon particular industries, the mindset of a new consultant also influences their success.
Here are a few questions we pose to a client thinking about consulting.
Understand, and be able to tell others, your motivation for becoming a consultant. Do any of these apply to you?
- Control of your career direction
- Ready for a new professional challenge
- Need for flexibility due to life events such as the arrival of new baby, move, or caring for an aging parent
- Opportunity to generate more income
- Company position phased out
- Part-time consulting work growing
2) Are You Ready for TWO Jobs?
After working for a company with defined responsibilities, support staff, and a consistent paycheck, be sure to talk with others who made the switch to appreciate the nitty-gritty reality of succeeding as a full-time consultant.
They probably will point out that you not only provide services to clients, but you also have the job of building a one-person business with tax, legal, and liability insurance requirements. Marketing and client development are now part of your workload as are managing finances and administration.
Your work doesn’t end when your client’s project is completed.
3) What’s Your Budget?
Do you have a good grasp of the basic finances for your consultancy – and not just how much income is needed to cover your expenses? Find out what the market is compensating contractors with your experience and education; and remember that rates can vary by location.
Besides estimating your revenue, determine your start-up expenses and ongoing operational costs for a complete picture of your business budget. Over time, you will know your cash flow cycle through the year, including payment turn-around time and schedule of annual expenses.
4) Are You Responsible Enough for Freedom?
Yes, as a consultant, you gain more control over your career development and choice of clients. Consulting lets you structure your workload such as taking an on-site, full-time position for several months or a short-term project working from home. You can often determine your daily hours, work environment, and vacation schedule.
But, with freedom comes responsibility. Managing your time, delivering high-quality services, and building the consulting business will require more self-discipline than what was needed as permanent employee. Are you disciplined enough to schedule and complete long-term planning, client work, and prospect research all in one day?
The good news is that remembering your motivation for becoming a consultant can keep your spirits high when you are making cold calls, dealing with a dead laptop, or missing office chit chat.
If you are considering becoming a full-time IT consultant, contact us to discuss current opportunities in Vancouver’s tech job market.
Did You Know?
Help for the New Consultant
Succeeding as a consultant is easier now thanks to a large industry set up to serve this growing workforce. Co-working spaces, simple invoicing and accounting applications, free enterprise software, and targeted blogs and podcasts assist the new consultant. LinkedIn, social media, Meet Ups, and online forums facilitate your networking with prospects and staying updated about your peers.
Consultants in the IT industry benefit from professional recruitment firms, like Signature Recruiting, that value qualified and reliable consultants. Working with Signature Recruiting reduces stress about maintaining a pipeline of clients, keeps you knowledgeable about the latest job requirements and industry trends, and provides real-world feedback about your performance as a consultant.