So, you want to be a consultant, eh? It can be a highly competitive, extraordinarily difficult, and frustratingly challenging business to be involved with at times, but the level of freedom and amount of experience in many facets of the business universe are a very positive trade off for all the hard work. When handled correctly — and planned with care — a career as a consultant can yield much more financial and personal freedom for the professional. An experienced consultant can make several orders of magnitude more salary for a comparably educated and experienced “company employee”, and can enjoy many other benefits, such as making your own schedule, working on challenging and interesting projects within a wide range of companies, getting responsibilities to match your experience and your technical know-how, guiding your own career development through obtaining multiple simultaneous experiences in diverse professional sectors, and increasing autonomy and responsibility along the entire scope of your career.
Individuals who are attracted to the consultant, professional, styling are usually described with terms like “self starter” and “go-getter”. Certainly this type of career decision will demand a certain level of sacrifice, particularly at the onset of your career. But through the steep experience curve and unavoidable initial difficulties, many professional have emerged with greatly satisfying, highly compensated, and most importantly…immensely rewarding careers in the field(s) of their choice.
Types of Consulting
There are nearly as many types of businesses in the consulting universe as there are in the realm of traditional business. Nearly every industry under the sun has spawned a thriving ecosystem of self-starters and professional gurus who have chosen to make their services available to the highest bidder. Some of the most active and lucrative industries conducive to supporting a consultancy career are listed below:
1. Computer consulting: There are many choices in the realm of computer consultancy. You can find work repairing, maintaining, and teaching people how to use various hardware and software, assist major corporations in maintaining network infrastructure, serve as a database admin, or any of a number of computer related consultancies.
2. Business: If you are really good at setting up fledgling businesses (and as a consultancy entrepreneur, it is highly likely you are), business consultancy might be the right thing for you. This makes an excellent side business that can work within your existing paradigm. For example, you may primarily set up your business as a computer consultancy, but in the process of setting up your business, discover that you are also a naturally fantastic business person. In keeping with the multi-pronged approach to business (which we will go over in more detail later), you may find that there are times you can “farm out” your peripheral talents in getting people started in businesses of their own (for a fee, of course) all the while maintaining your primary technical consultancy. Utilize your diversity.
3. Advertising: Advertising firms and freelance designers of all varieties are being used in a consultant capacity by everyone from small companies to huge multi national corporations