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Why the Number of Independent Consultants Is on the Rise

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December 14, 2020
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4 minutes
Experienced copywriter who spends a lot of money at restaurants and regrets it later.

Just search for the number of professionals working as freelancers today. Well, let’s save you some time - it’s in the millions - no kidding.

Even consultants are embracing the freelancer lifestyle. It’s true, one no longer has to be working with the top firms to make it as a consultant these days.

But what’s causing this change? Why are consultants leaving the safety of a steady paycheck to go their own way?

Let's find out.

1. The Modern Workforce Wants Flexibility

If you spend even an hour a week on LinkedIn, chances are, you might have seen one of those polls in which influencers ask people to choose one from the three options: a) Office b) Work From Home c) Both. And almost every time, these polls indicate that working only from the office is the least favorite option of professionals in this day and age.

Want more concrete proof? Well, there are a lot of surveys online. One such survey by PwC showed that 64% of millennials would like to work from home sometimes, and 66% want flexible work hours. There is no denying that the new generation wants flexibility. This is part of the reason why so many professionals, including independent consultants, are choosing a flexible lifestyle.

It’s not uncommon to see freelance consultants on online consulting platform who identify as ex-(Big Consulting Firm). For example, ex-BCG or ex-McKinsey. The change is happening rapidly and it will continue to shape the trend in the near future as well. That being said, let’s discuss online consulting platforms in detail.

“Having a choice and a suite of flexible options that employers can offer their workforce is extremely important, especially when you are considering the generational differences of five different generations in the workplace.” - Mika Cross

2. Online Consulting Platforms Have Made It Easier to Find Independent Consultants

Back in the day, the consulting industry was dominated by large consulting firms. And just because expert advice existed doesn’t mean everyone could access it. Usually, it was the large or well-established companies that had the privilege of hiring consultants.

Fast forward to 2020, online consulting platforms have turned the tables and made top consultants more accessible to all businesses - small or large.

The process of hiring a consultant from an online consulting platform is very simple. Companies can have a confidential chat with a representative of these freelance platforms and state their requirements. Then, the freelance consulting platform’s representative sends profiles of handpicked independent consultants to the company. Businesses can go through the profiles of highly skilled consultants and select the best one for their project.

Imagine this: Businesses can now hire people who have worked for Fortune 500 companies like Google and Facebook very easily. The knowledge and skill sets these independent consultants can bring to a company, without making them spend half of their human resource budget on them, is really commendable.

3. Consultants Want to Work on Their Own Terms, and It’s Possible for Them to Do That These Days

One of the very common reasons why some consultants leave big consulting firms to become freelancers is to avoid the ‘up or out’ system that a lot of consulting firms have. Indeed, things can get extremely competitive, not to mention the organizational bureaucracy that might hold back a lot of gifted and talented consultants. Going freelance has a lot of benefits, and the ability to take on big projects without bureaucratic hindrance is one of them - something which is almost impossible when working as an employee for another company.

To make things more convenient, the online consulting marketplace has made it easier for consultants to find more clients. Consultants don’t always have to scour through their professional network to get new work. A lot of times, companies use the online consulting marketplace and approach them on their own.

Just a few decades ago, this might have been impossible. Many people probably didn’t even use the word ‘freelancer’, let alone hire one. And even today, finding new work consistently as an independent consultant might have been difficult if it wasn’t for a growing online consulting marketplace. Luckily, there is supply as well as demand.

4. Businesses Want the Best Independent Consultants, Regardless of Their Location

The pandemic has shown us that the actual work matters more than the location of work. A vast majority of companies had no choice but to modify their business model to facilitate the ‘work from home’ trend. Now that everyone has learned to get things done from anywhere in the world, location doesn’t really matter.

So, it’s possible for a consultant who lives in London to score a $100K consulting project for a California-based company. A business in Sweden might hire a consultant from Australia if they think their skills are more aligned with their job requirement. When it comes to hiring top talent, global boundaries have already been fading for the past few years, but lockdowns have weakened them a lot more.

This provides freelance consultants with an incredible opportunity. Their target audience is not just restricted to their city or country anymore. The saying “The world is your oyster” has never been more relevant. What a wonderful time to be an independent consultant or a freelancer in any industry. Well, a lot of consultants are already starting to realize this and are choosing the independent lifestyle. And the ones who aren’t aware of it will also find out very soon.


The world keeps changing, and the way people earn a living keeps getting better. Gone are the days when an employee would work for 30 years in the same company and retire. The modern workforce wants flexibility and job satisfaction. This is the reason why a lot of consultants are getting attracted to freelancing. The ability to choose one's own hours, clients and job challenges is truly priceless.

However, freelancers need to do one very important thing to succeed - onboard clients. Thanks to online consulting platforms, this is way easier than it would have been otherwise. Businesses can now hire the best consultants from anywhere in the world, and consultants can choose who they work with - sounds like a win-win for both sides.