Transitioning From Employee To Consultant

What to expect or not when transitioning from employee to a consultant.

Getting comfortable with risk and uncertainty.

Make risk and uncertainty your friend. When you decide to become a consultant, what you’ve really decided is that you’ll accept diving into the ocean without knowing how deep it is or what you’ll find under water. You’ve accepted that the risks and rewards are much greater than the predictability and stability. You’ve decided that you’ll be okay, no matter what happens, so long as you work to overcome challenges and give it your all.

Getting used to unpredictable hours and time off.

Depending on the industry and consulting work you do, you could be in for some long hours—including evenings and weekends—to get the job done. And having any time off will become contingent upon your project being completed. Just be prepared financially in case you have a few months off between projects.

Being comfortable with change and the unknown.

Successful consultants thrive in the unknown. You never know who your next client will be or when you’ll have a signed contract. You are constantly meeting with potential clients (refining your interviewing skills!) and must be able to get up-to-speed in a new environment as quickly as possible when starting a new project.

While being a consultant may sound daunting, it’s all a matter of perspective. Look at it as a means to always learning something new, building your professional network, and, most importantly, helping companies successfully reach their business goals by exceeding expectations. There’s nothing more rewarding than gaining repeat clients and becoming their “go-to” consultant for your particular expertise. It’s a win for you and a win for your clients.

Consulting is an exciting career if you are willing to accept and manage risks, navigate constant change, take on challenging projects, and step outside your comfort zone. Effectively transitioning from the employee mindset to consulting mindset will only be a small bump on the road to your dream of becoming a consultant.