A big draw to becoming an independent consultant is getting to be your own boss. While there are many rewards to being the number one decision maker, it’s not always easy. Those that thrive as independent consultants often have key traits that contribute to their success. Follow these 5 pieces of advice to assess whether or not you’re ready to become your own boss.
Industry experience is an important factor in deciding whether or not to become an independent consultant, but an equally important indicator of success is intrinsic talent. Talent and experience don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, particularly in creative fields. To land and keep clients, you need to offer services above and beyond what others are offering. Figure out where your strengths lie, what makes your services unique, and build your business from there.
Many people choose to pursue a career as an independent consultant for the control and flexibility it provides. While shaping your own career is empowering, being in charge of your work schedule on a daily basis can be a challenging responsibility. If you have trouble completing work without the pressure of someone asking you about a completion status or deadline, you may discover you’re less productive when you’re in charge. Take an honest inventory of your skills and work habits to determine whether or not you’re cut out to self-supervise.
As your own boss, you will make all of the decisions for your new business. A successful consultant is decisive and confident when making decisions. If you tend to waver between options for hours or even days, you may find the independent lifestyle challenging. Ask yourself if you have what it takes to make tough decisions like firing a client or rejecting lucrative work because your plate is too full.
While you may be an expert in your own subject matter, what is your aptitude when it comes to work-related intelligence such as interpersonal skills and time management? Do you feel comfortable striking up a conversation with just about anyone? This is the type of interpersonal intelligence you’ll need to succeed when you are responsible for finding your own clients. To build your business and maintain a steady stream of work, you will need to build, market, and expand your network. Without multiple, satisfied clients, your project load will diminish and so will your income.
Your solo career will likely not take off overnight, but as the boss you need to have the drive to keep trying until you achieve your goals—even if that takes longer than you hoped. If you wake up each morning with the fire to succeed despite the fact you may have faced a slow start, you have what it takes to be successful. If you are easily discouraged, this is a trait you may need to work on before venturing out on your own.
Being your own boss isn’t easy, but if you are able to commit to what you know, stay motivated, and keep aiming high despite rejection it can lead to a rewarding and successful career.
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