Many people are hesitant to become independent consultants for one reason or another – but some of these fears have no factual basis. There are many myths floating around about what it’s really like to be a member of the independent workforce, and we’d like to debunk some of these myths for you today.
Many people view independent consulting as an option to earn extra money between traditional jobs. While this is one way to do consulting work, it’s not what we’ve found most people are doing. In a recent study, MBO Partners found that only 19 percent of independent consultants surveyed wanted to return to traditional employment – with 75 percent of respondents committed to remaining independent consultants for the foreseeable future.
Again, this is an area where we have actually found the complete opposite to be true. Many of our survey respondents indicated that independent consulting allows them to pursue passions that they could not pursue as members of the traditional workforce. In fact, this ability to do work that they love is often more important than making the most possible money for many independents.
Although your experience will definitely affect the types of work you can accept, as well as the amount of money you can charge for your services, there’s no minimum amount of experience you need to have in the traditional workforce before you transition to independent consulting. In fact, our recent study found that adult millenials (between the ages of 21 and 29) comprise 12 percent chunk of the independent workforce.
Your income potential as an independent consultant is only limited by your personal potential. Since you set your own billing rate, the salary that comes with a traditional position in the workforce does not bind you. There are also many tax benefits for independent consultants. Overall, if your skills are in high demand and you market yourself correctly, you have the potential to earn much more than you did as a member of the traditional workforce.
We admit that it’s good to have some money saved up, just in case it takes you a few weeks to get started. However, it’s not really as expensive to become an independent consultant as you may think. If working from home, all you really need to invest in is a desk, a comfortable chair, and a computer with an Internet connection. Although a home office doesn’t come free, it can come on the cheap if you’re willing to get creative. Also, many collaborative tools that can help you as a consultant (email, video chat, file sharing software, etc.) are free or extremely inexpensive.
To be considered a trusted independent consultant, one must go a long way to become established as a thought leader. While content creation and developing your own “voice” are fundamental elements, a heavy portion of thought leadership development is dedicated to having a presence in your area of expertise’s discourse and industry events, both physically and virtually.
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