Everyone is doing it these days. Being a consultant is the current kronut of the business world. It’s trendy. It’s a fad. Everyone wants to try it at least once. The problem is that being a consultant actually is a specific profession. I’m not saying it’s not a good idea for you to branch out and become a consultant. I’m saying that many people dip their toe in with blinders on and it ends up not working out. There are perks and there are disadvantages.
Sure, it looks glamorous. You can work from home, make your own hours, travel for business, and set your own pay. The problem? Sometimes the problems actually lie in working from home, making your own hours, traveling for business and setting your own pay.
In the corporate world, there are a lot of other people to rely on to get things done. You have a built in support system. In the consulting world, there is just you. It’s not as easy or comfortable in a lot of ways. You are the plan and you are also the backup plan. If your processes break down, who’s going to pick up that slack?
You are beholden to the client. This is the top-quoted “minus” by current and ex-consultants by far. Consulting is wholly client-focused. Most of what consultants do is to make their clients happy […] Uncomfortable Lifestyle Changes. Expect to switch up your lifestyle for the worse — lots of flying, lots of late nights. Consultants built the 3–4–5 model because collocating with the client sped up the project lifecycle. And if the client needs something done right now, you’ll have to drop everything to do it. Dealing with Politics. Of course, every company (and even startups!) has politics. What’s worse in this case is your status as an outsider. It adds a layer of humans to navigate, and you’re generally not trusted as much as someone within the corporation […]
While you might land some great clients with some great contracts, everything is temporary. Your paycheck is never guaranteed. You are depending on a client who is continually considering the value of your work. Are you an expendable resource? For how long? What budget cut will take out your position? Do you have work lined up to fill that huge slash to your paycheck?
The lack of stability will always be a main reason not to be a consultant. If you’re looking for an option with others to rely on to help you tackle projects with a steady paycheck and benefits, then consulting is not for you. What is the best and the worst aspect of consulting in your opinion? Is it right for everyone? Do the disadvantages outweigh the advantages? Comment below!