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Should You Become an Independent Consultant? Here’s How to Tell

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May 18, 2021
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5 minutes
Leo Saini
Experienced copywriter who spends a lot of money at restaurants and regrets it later.

What is a consultant? Simply put, a consultant is an intelligent and knowledgeable individual who provides expert advice to companies.

So, what is an independent consultant? Well, it’s someone who does everything a consultant does, but in a different way. This means that if you quit your job as a consultant and go independent, you will still do almost everything you did in your day job. However, you’ll have more freedom, flexibility, and control.

But it’s not as simple as it sounds. Becoming an independent consultant may come with a few challenges.

In this article, we’ll discuss a few points that will help you evaluate whether independent consulting is a viable option for you or not. You will also learn how to find freelance projects easily using a method that’s mentioned in the upcoming paragraphs.

So, if you have the following personal attributes, you should consider independent consulting:

1. You Want Flexibility in Your Professional Life

A PwC survey showed that 64% of millennials would like to work from home sometimes, and 66% of surveyees voted for flexible work hours. Well, that’s way more than half, and chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably one of them. Because the modern workforce wants flexibility. A lot of professionals from many industries are embracing the freelance lifestyle. And consulting is no different. Freelance consulting, a term that was usually unheard of a couple of decades ago, is on the rise.

One reason why freelance consulting is thriving in this day and age is the advent of online consulting platforms. These platforms have made it easier for businesses to find and hire top freelance consultants. And even freelance consultants have the flexibility to negotiate their own work hours with their clients. Most businesses are aware of the changing workforce and don’t mind offering flexible hours and locations to their consultants.

“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. You Like Choosing Your Own Projects

As an employed consultant, it’s highly likely that you will have to work on the projects that are assigned to you by your seniors. You may or may not be interested in a particular project. As an employee, you have a contractual obligation to follow reasonable instructions. But if you’re the type of person who likes to choose their own projects, and rejects the ones that you’re not interested in, then you should consider becoming an independent consultant.

Before the advent of online consulting platforms, freelance consulting, even though possible, was a tough profession to get into. A major reason behind this was difficulty in finding new projects. But luckily, that’s the thing of the past. Thanks to online consulting platforms, now consultants can go through a list of several projects and choose the ones they’re interested in. So if you’re holding back because you’re afraid that you won’t be able to find freelance projects, get in touch with a reputable online consulting platform. It’s a good way to start your independent consulting career. So, let a freelance platform find consulting projects for you, and in the meanwhile, you could focus on your day job or any other endeavors worth pursuing.

3. You Are Passionate About Consulting, but You’re Not Extremely Competitive

If you have worked in a big consulting firm as an employed consultant, you already know what professional competition is. Sure, being competitive has its advantages. It helps people put their best foot forward and give their 110%. But sometimes, such behavior might lead to unnecessary stress, politics, and burnouts. Rest assured, being a successful consultant without being hyper-competitive is totally possible. And the best way to do it is to become an independent consultant.

Given that you’re really passionate about consulting, freelance consulting may help you escape the ‘up or out’ culture of corporations. It will give you a chance to show your talent to your clients at your own speed. If you don’t want to let organizational bureaucracy or any other hindrances that come with hierarchies slow you down, independent consulting may be the best profession for you. One thing to note here is that hierarchies aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, they are necessary for big firms to make sure tasks are getting done on time and correctly. However, if hierarchies are not your thing, don’t be disappointed. You can still excel in your consulting career by choosing to work as a freelancer.

4. You Want to Build Your Own Brand

You see, when you’re employed as a consultant by a company, it’s ultimately the company that’s producing results. Even if you have a significant impact on a client’s project. And there’s nothing wrong with it anyway. In a company, the whole team puts in some effort to help clients reach their goals.

However, if you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to be ‘just another face’ in the crowd and wants to stand out, you will need to build your own personal brand and let the world know who you are. Fortunately, because of easy access to the internet, it’s way easier to create a personal brand today than it was a few years ago. When it comes to building a personal brand, don’t underestimate the power of content marketing. You could share all your knowledge, experience, case studies, and client success stories through blogs, videos, or even short LinkedIn posts, and build an audience.

Building a personal brand comes with its own benefits. Whether you find clients through your connections or online consulting platforms. If you already have an established freelance consulting brand, your chances of getting selected from a talent pool of many consultants will likely be higher. It’s simply because someone who is well-known in their field already has the social proof and trust required to initiate a business relationship.

Another benefit of being the go-to person in any given industry is higher value. This is the reason why a consultant who is known to be an expert in a field may be able to charge a higher fee.

Final Thoughts

A lot of professionals in many industries are going independent and this trend will rise. Consultants are also getting attracted towards the freelance lifestyle, and lots of companies are willing to offer them projects as well - so it’s a win-win for everybody. In conclusion, independent consulting does have a lot of benefits, so it’s worth trying. Although finding new projects may be challenging sometimes, building your network gradually or seeking help from a freelance consulting platform such as Consultport does help. Now, it’s up to you to evaluate all the points in the article and make the decision.