One year ago, Wade Forbes, a cyber security contractor, transitioned from a traditional corporate work role to independent consulting. Now, he takes pride in the fact that the relationships he forms with clients are a true representation of his hard work. “In the past, someone would tell my boss, ‘Hey, Wade is great,’ and that would be the end of it. But now they say, ‘How do I bring you in to freelance?’,” he explains.
Going independent, Forbes quickly learned that there was a lot to manage—benefits, finances, insurance. “MBO is the best way to break away from a corporate employment model,” he says. “They have all the back-office support that can be a little daunting to someone who is starting on their own. It takes a bit of practice, but it is very empowering.”
In the future, Forbes hopes to see more employees in his industry transition to independent contracting. One of the best parts of independence, he says, is the flexibility and control it offers.
“With MBO there are more ‘yes, and’s…’ then ‘yes, but’s…’,” he says. “I don’t feel like I am running into caveats everywhere. It has really opened the door to letting me do it my own way.”
Below, Forbes reflects on his first year of independent contracting in his own words.
I have always considered myself a risk taker. Applying for a new job outside of my comfort zone or walking up to someone really important for an introduction has never been difficult for me. So last year when I found out my subcontract agreement had reached its last extension and was presented with an opportunity to become an independent consultant for MBO Partners, I literally jumped at the opportunity.
To say with any sort of straight face that I was not nervous or really stressed about the idea would be a bold-faced lie. My support network was small and I had to really focus on hearing what the possibilities were, not the potential pitfalls or failures. The reality was going to be far better than any hypothetical negatives I conjured up.
One major component to this transition rested in my subconscious. To change the way I worked, how I marketed my skillset, or left the safety of a large corporation, I was going to need to intently focus on my self-talk. I found that if we are not careful, all of our creativity and imagination is willingly offered to external problems for our customers with little, if any, left for ourselves. For this milestone to be met, I had to imagine a new me. I became a new kind of employee going to work that could achieve the same level of quality, but with a new mindset focused on my energy and a positivity that cannot be taken away.
With my one-year anniversary barely behind me, I can honestly say I am the same person I was, but with a few welcomed changes. First, the small stuff bothers me less and less. Second, despite being a recognized specialist at what I do, I listen to the advice of others more than ever before. Third, by spending more and more time outside my comfort zone, my conversations have morphed into discussions about what I am learning at the moment beyond what I already know.
For anyone wondering what independence can do for you, I’ll offer one thing to consider. Remember that moving forward is not permanent. This could turn into the experience you have always wanted or tragically shift towards something challenging or too difficult, but you can always go back. Be brave, take a risk, or try something you’ve never done before, but only if you know deep down that you are improving someone else’s performance while simultaneously improving your own.
If you’d like to share your own MBO or independent contracting story, let us know! We’d love to hear from you.
Independent consulting isn’t just an extrovert’s game—here’s how introverts can thrive in the world of self-employment.
Hiring your first employee is a big step as an independent contractor. Here are four tips for finding the right person for the job.